Ibrahim Babangida: The Military, Politics and Power in Nigeria By Dan Agbese

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In a country where the art of writing life history has been bastardised to serve selfish political interests, the author of a new biography or autography is a suspect, especially with the 2015 presidential election around the corner. So, when this reviewer got a copy of Dan Agbese’s latest work on the former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida; Ibrahim Babangida: The Military, Politics and Power in Nigeria, his first impulse was to find out if it was actually a biography or just another hagiography.
He rushed to the chapters dealing with issues like the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election widely believed to have been won by Chief MKO Abiola, the controversial Structural Adjustment Programme, Dele Giwa’s murder, etc. He compared the author’s analyses on the topics with his fiery comments on the same issues in the Newswatch magazine in the ’80s and ’90s to see if there were contradictions that would suggest he is an emergency biographer trying to repackage Babangida.
But Agbese’s perspective in this book proves to be quite consistent with his previous viewpoint: IBB is a tragic hero. The 433-page book comprising eighteen chapters is a classical case study of a leader who started out with the noble aim of bettering his country but got swept off by the whirlwind of his personal ambition and parochial considerations just when his noble dream was about to be realized.
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