A Nigerian author lecturing in the United States of America, Prof. Okey Ndibe, who is on a reading tour in Nigerian universities has described the former military head of State in Nigeria, Ibrahim Babangida as the architect of the corruption in Nigeria.
The scholar and writer said this in his session with the students of the University of Port Harcourt, held in the English Studies Auditorium, July 18.
He made the statement when asked how to describe the Nigeria he left in 1988 and the current Nigeria. Answering, Ndibe recalled that he left the country during Babangida’s regime.
According to him:
“A lot of critics saw him as a charismatic leader, but as we know, Babangida became the architect of one of the worst turns in our history. I know that there was always corruption in Nigeria but Babangida institutionalised corruption where people could be bought or damned, so a lot of people named their prices.
The Nigeria I see today, is a nigeria that is the consequence of the deeds of the eighties. The nineteen eighties saw us speed and glide into lawlessness and no society moves forward, as our politicians always say, to move the nation forward.
Sometimes I say to them, stop moving us forward because things continue to get worse. Makes me to say, okay, move us backwards, maybe things could be better. So what I see, is a generation of students like you, who are victims of the treachery, of the betrayal and criminality of the Nigerian political elite.”
Prof. Ndibe also informed the gathering of students and lecturers that he was the one who nicknamed the former head of state with the popular ‘Maradonna’, due to his tricky politicking that dribbled others in the political field.
When asked about the Biafra secessionist agitation, Ndibe had this to say:
“The eastern region is not an island of holy people. Nigeria is a messy country that was messed up by all of us, including the Igbos. Agitation for Biafra is not an answer to the problems we created because if we create a Biafra, the challenges we see in Nigeria will still be in it, unless we address them”.
The interactive session ended with a performance from the English Studies students and a book signing and photo session with the professor.
Also present at the venue were the Public Relations Officer of the University, Williams Wodi, who co-hosted the programme with Mazi Eze Ibekwe; the HOD of English Department, Dr. Chinyelu Ojukwu; poets like Obari Gomba and Magaret Fafa Nutsukp among others.