Born during the World War II on 17 August, 1941 in Minna, Niger State into a humble family, his father, Muhammad Babangida, was an Islamic scholar. By 14, his mother, Aisha, had died and IBB was orphaned. Babangida, who joined the army at 21, is neither Hausa nor Fulani but of Gwari ethnicity. This claim has been debated.
-Widely known to have married the late paragon of elegance, Maryam Babangida, IBB’s first marriage has never been publicized. Maryam’s mother, Hajia Asabe Halima Mohammed came from Niger State while her father, an Igbo man, Leonard Nwanonye Okogwu hailed from Asaba, Delta State where she was born in 1948. At 20, she married IBB. When she died in 2009 in the United States from complications of ovarian cancer (one of the deadliest forms of malignancies), IBB, a romantic lover till the end, was by her side. Nigeria’s Senate President, David Mark, broke down into tears upon hearing her demise.
-In July 1966, a group of Northern soldiers mutinied. Some of them were IBB, Sani Abacha and Garba Duba (IBB’s classmate and Maryam’s cousin, he later became a lieutenant general, Bauchi State Governor, Sokoto State Military Administrator and Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy. He is now a Non-Executive Director of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc. and First Bank Nigeria Plc.)
★★★On January 14th, 1994, Abacha announced the cancellation of the Dedicated Accounts set up by General Babangida, and appointed a Panel of Inquiry headed by Pius Okigbo, an economist of international repute to look into the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria where the Dedicated Accounts were operated. In its report that was submitted to Abacha in September 1994, the panel revealed that out of $12.4 billion that went into that account, $12.2 billion could not be accounted for. IBB would later vehemently deny he was responsible for the money developing wings of a B2 stealth bomber and flying into the far ends of the Milky Way.
The correspondent of the Financial Times, William Keeling, who was first to come out with the story had been speedily deported from Nigeria by IBB. The legendary Gani Fawehinmi would fight the cause of the $12.2 billion till he breathed his last. And it’s like the case has been buried with him. (Or when was the last time you heard anyone talking about it?) Here is what the late fiery lawyer said of IBB: IBB has declared war against Nigeria. Nigerians too must get set for war. A situation whereby one man aggregates to himself totally the legislative power, executive and judicial power unabashed…is clear-cut dictatorship. If you say this is the policy at breakfast, it will not be the policy at lunch. Babangida has killed the Army. The Airforce cannot fly. The Navy is a shell of itself. I will be puerile to believe him. I will be a simpleton to take him by his words. I will be completely insane to trust a man whose words mean nothing to him.
Okigbo remarked that Babangida and Abdulkadir Ahmed, the Central Bank Governor, accounted to no one, and the records of much of the extrabudgetary expenditure could not be found in the Central Bank. Well, remember he also tried to rule again. He could have succeeded fa. But he actually still rules Nigeria in a very surreptitious way, many of his boys are in Jonathan’s government or the current ruling party. We all know the Senate President and the 3rd most powerful person in the country. His former ADC Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (who effected the arrest of Buhari in the coup) is now the National Security Adviser and insecurity is now a thing of the past in Nigeria (no be so?). Dasuki was also once the former Managing Director of the Nigerian Security Printing & Minting Company Limited under Obasanjo.
-In 2001, When former President Obasanjo tried to look into the $12.4 billion that disappeared under IBB’s regime, it was said that all records with the Central Bank of Nigeria that were pertaining to the fraud had DISAPPEARED. But in 2005 when the House of Representatives wanted to impeach the President, the records suddenly REAPPEARED. Why? Those in Obasanjo’s camp felt IBB was behind the impeachment saga. #Naija.Film.To.Gun.Ni.Olohun.E.Ni.Duro.Wo.Tan…LOL!
-Nigeria’s 6th military ruler also made himself the Defence Minister was one of the few soldiers been involved in all the successful coups in Nigeria. As far back as July 1975, IBB, Ibrahim Taiwo (later gruesomely murdered outside Offa, Kwara State), Abdullahi Mohammed (later Major General and Chief of Staff to the Presidency for 10 years under Obasanjo & Yar’adua), Lt. Col. Shehu Yar’adua (died in Abakaliki Prisons), Lt. Col. Muhammadu Buhari (later head of state), Muktar Mohammed and others orchestrated the coup that ousted Yakubu Gowon. They were successful and IBB was became the Nigerian Army Armoured Corps Commander but would later be accused of buying old tanks and passing them off as new, making huge profits.
-After the assassination of Murtala Mohammed a day before Valentine’s Day in 1976 by Buka Suka Dimka, IBB (then a Colonel) was ordered by Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma (now a billionaire) to remove Dimka from the radio station, and he told him to take an okada (motorcycle) to avoid detection. That would be a very dangerous task for him as he was also on the hit list of the coup plotters, and funnily, he was a very good friend of Dimka, one of those who graced his wedding to the elegant Maryam Mohammed Ndidi King (nee Okogwu) in September 1969 (Aisha, Mohammed, Aminu & Halima were the products of the marriage). IBB would later say that he escaped death by luck when he suddenly told his driver to take another route in Ikoyi. (Max Siollun in his book explains better, see references on our website). Instead of taking an okada, IBB went to the house of his air force friend, Hamza Abdullahi, dropped the okada and borrowed his car. IBB would later make Abdullahi minister of the Federal Capital Territory (paddypaddy don kill us!). Before attempting to flush out Dimka and others, he placed a call across to his wife, Maryam, to soothe her frazzled nerves.
-Upon reaching the station, IBB was not allowed to enter by Dimka’s sentinel until the rifle-armed Dimka gave his permission. IBB, unaware of the fact that Murtala had been killed, strutted in unarmed and requested they speak in private. According to IBB, the rebels were in a state of stupor, absolutely intoxicated. He then spoke to Dimka in Hausa as a family friend, calming him and reassuring he was without a gun. IBB would even use his sugar-coated tongue to effect: he told him that even if he lost his life at Dimka’s hands, he would be happy that it was to someone who would surely take care of Maryam and her kids.
A cautious Dimka brushed off the idea and told IBB he was on the death list but did not want him killed, and that he could have opened fire on the Evil Genius immediately he arrived. They continued ‘gisting’ until IBB left the station to discuss an ‘amnesty’ for the coup plotters with Danjuma, leaving Dimka behind with a promise to be back in the afternoon. Dimka waited but the next scenario was bloody. IBB returned with heavily-armed soldiers who engaged Dimka’s men in a terrific gun fight. In the confusion that followed, Dimka escaped in circumstances that are still unclear. IBB was traumatized that his close friends would want to assassinate him because they felt he was too young to be in the Supreme Military Council (SMC). He felt betrayed and from that point, he would become hardened, trusting no one. Omo Omoruyi says of him: ‘He did not trust anyone and became more distrustful over time.’ His success in dislodging the plotters launched him into national limelight, and for the very first time, Nigerians heard of a name they will never forget in a hurry: Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.