Former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, on Sunday hailed late military president, Sani Abacha, who ruled Nigeria between 1993 and 1998.
Speaking in Minna, capital of Niger state, during a press conference to commemorate his 74th birthday, the retired general went down memory lane on how he survived Gideon Orkar’s coup attempt in 1990.
He said but for the role played by Abacha, the story might have been different.
“May God bless Sani Abacha. Sani Abacha was the chief of army staff (during the time of the coup attempt), he got in touch with me and we sat down and spoke on what we were going to do,” he said.
“Abacha and I rallied round the loyal troops and then I left my state house and joined Abacha in his house.
“Some officers and men loyal to me insisted and took me out of Dodan Barracks to a safe house where we met other officers and men.”
During the coup which took place on April 22, 1990, Orkar and his men seized the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and various military posts around Lagos.
They also took control of Dodan Barracks, then the presidential residence. Babangida was present when the barracks was attacked but he managed to escape through a back route.
In his coup address, Orkar called for the consideration of an excision of six northern states.
However, the coup failed and Orkar was executed on July 27 of that same year.
IBB said he is glad to be alive up till this moment despite having experienced different stages in his career, particularly fighting in the civil war.
On the lingering security challenge in the north-east, IBB said he sees nothing wrong with the idea of the federal government reaching a peace deal with Boko Haram insurgents.
However, he advised the government to be careful and avoid going into any deal with a fake group.
He also commended the renewed effort in the fight against insurgency, expressing confidence in the ability of the federal government to restore normalcy to the troubled parts of the country.
“I am sure the government is resolute in trying to bring insurgency to an end and as such, we should support what the current administration is doing to achieve that objective,” he said.
“I don’t think the government will want to talk to people who are not worth talking to as far as this issue is concerned.
“So, the government is right to be careful in identifying the credible leaders and talk if there’s anything to talk about.”
He also commented on the challenges experienced in the fight against insurgency.
“We are not fighting a conventional war and that makes it extremely difficult; the insurgents blow up bridges and barracks, among other public places,” he said.
Babangida commended the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for its determination to tackle the problems of the country.
“I am confident they have identified the key problems and they look resolute in confronting these challenges head on,” he said.
“There are lot of people who are giving the government sound advice on what to do in various ways; the government is well informed about happenings.”