As part of the activities to mark his low keyed 71st birthday celebration, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida hosted journalists at his residence in Minna. He fielded questions on national issues, including the June 12, state police, the Boko Haram insurgency and other national challenges.
Why did you leave the late General Abacha behind when you were stepping aside?
I think I once had the opportunity to explain this. When I was leaving, there was an interim government in place. That government had a life span. We drew up a constitution for that government. It came into force in November. And it was supposed to expire in February 1994. We wanted to make sure that the government was ably supported by the military so that they would be able to conduct election in February of 1994. And we could only do that knowing the environment where we operated. We respect seniority, we respect authority. So, we thought, and rightly too, that Ernest Shonekan should be supported by a strong military so that the threat of toppling him would not arise and to provide stability and the right support for 82 days. That was the idea. The late General Abacha was the Chief of Defence Staff and Minister of Defence, and if anything happened, the public would be rest assured that there was a senior officer, with a lot of sense and respect, who would be able to pilot the affairs of the country. That was the reason. But what happened subsequently was a different kettle of fish.
full interview here
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