Thursday, May 25, 2006

Nigerian Generals close ranks prior to 2007 elections

It's a little scary -- in the wake of the failed 3rd-term campaign -- to see Nigerian generals organize as a political force prior to the 2007 elections. According to the Nigerian Tribune:
It was learnt that General [Ibrahim] Babangida [or IBB] was not only re-connecting his political machine with the presidency’s, but was also working to reunite the military wing of the political class which worked against the presidency on the constitutional amendment.

General Babangida is reported to have contacted General Theophilus Danjuma, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and other leading Generals on the need to close ranks so as to have a united front on who succeeds President Obasanjo.

Nigerian Tribune learnt that he had also reached out to ex-generals in government on the need to speed up reconciliation within the military establishment so as to control the direction of succession politics ahead of 2007.
But presidential supporters won't have it:

Further investigations showed that [IBB's] overtures were getting a cold reception from many loyalists of the president who believed it was General Babangida rather than Vice-President Atiku Abubakar who stopped the third term bid.

By confirming the split within the military establishment, Babangida was accused of emboldening the anti-third group, a situation the presidential loyalists saw as aiding the Senate rejection of the bill.
And in what has to be the least cautious language I've ever seen, a presidential aide said [emphasis mine], "no amount of such overtures can change the fact that IBB worked against us. So, what are these overtures about? ... If he wants the president to support him, he should just forget it. I think that game is up."

"Worked against us," huh? So members of the president's staff felt that the third-term campaign was "theirs"? I thought the president had taken no position.

(image from Biafra Nigeria World here)

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