BABANGIDA AT 80: CELEBRATIONS ARE IN ORDER – 2
BABANGIDA AT 80: CELEBRATIONS ARE IN ORDER – 2
Dr. Dele Sobowale
POPULATION EXPLOSION IS DESTROYING NIGERIA.
“It is part of a king [or President to do good for his people and to be maligned for it.” Alexander the Great, 356-323 BC, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 113.
“Dr Sobowale, please tell me why Nigerians find it difficult to accept that this [population control] is in their own interest. You know, people call just to curse me; accusing me of wanting them to disobey God, who said “Go into the world; be fruitful and multiply.”
Dr Suleiman, Director, Planned Parenthood Federation, PPF.
Babangida got over 250 decrees and edicts passed during his eight years as Military leader. That was about 31 decrees per annum. It is doubtful if anyone, including IBB himself can remember all of them. Some were so quietly enacted that only the intimate stakeholders were aware of their existence. It took me over four months to locate some of them; and, to be quite candid, I was interested in only a few at the time they were passed.
My major focus was on decrees affecting health services. These include Counterfeit and Fake Drugs (Miscellaneous Provisions) Decree 17, 1989, which for the first time made it a punishable offence to sell fake drugs. I had suffered, along with other managers of successful drug brands from the attacks of counterfeit drug dealers in Nigeria as a Sales/Marketing Manager of three global firms. It was heart-rending to watch our labours ruined by heartless fake drug dealers. They were remorseless and deadly even when caught. All the efforts to get other regimes to face the issue proved abortive – until IBB and Professor Ransome-Kuti took up the challenge.
Then, there was the Tobacco Smoking (Control) Decree 20, 1990 which made smoking in public places illegal for the first time. There were several other decrees passed in the health sector which still control our conduct as no other government had done before then. It was a pleasure to join the battles to get these decrees enacted because, to me, they were socially beneficial.
The Decree which brought tears to Dr Suleiman, was the National Population Commission Decree passed in 1989. It was the only attempt by any Nigerian government to introduce population control as national policy. I was in the fore-front of that battle as well. I enthusiastically joined that skirmish because I took a year-long elective course in Demographics as an undergraduate reading Economics in the USA. I knew then what “population explosion” means in practical terms. The consequences of uncontrolled population expansion, unaccompanied by rapid growth of the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, have always been tragic. Nigerians are suffering the consequences of not following the leadership of Babangida and Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti today. Let me take our readers back to the years of the population control “war” – which we lost. But, Nigeria lost a lot more – as you will soon discover.
“Show the light and the people will find the way.”
Motto: WEST AFRICAN PILOT.
Late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Zik, one of our Founding Fathers was the publisher of the newspaper – which, incidentally, my father a Yoruba man preferred to buy and read instead of Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s TRIBUNE in the 1950s to 1960s. I had the motto fixed in my mind by eight years old. What happened to those of us who tried to get Fellow Nigerians to adopt birth control has proved the great Zik wrong. No matter how powerful the light, Nigerians still insist on missing the way; while ganging up to abuse the lamp holder. We were thoroughly insulted and maligned by fundamental Muslims and Christians in a rare unity of purpose by the leaders of the two religions. Those still alive among our traducers can now see the result of allowing Nigerians to breed like bed bugs. We lost the battle. Nigeria has lost the war. Here is why.
CENSUS 1988/1990 AS EYE OPENER
“It is possible to have eyes and not see.” That was the declaration by one ancient sage. Before going on, let me state that I am not certifying the accuracy of the two population counts 1957 and 1988/90. I will entertain no disputes regarding whether the census favoured one part of the country; because it does not in any way invalidate the arguments made that we missed the boat by not embracing population control.
The Nigerian Census of 1988/90 was the second conducted in my lifetime up to that time. The first, in 1963 claimed the population was 55.6 million. The second, conducted by Babangida’s government declared that the population was 88.5 million. That was the beginning of the controversies which surrounded the Federal Government’s effort to slow down the rate the population was growing. The Decree was passed and the implementation process started with majority of Nigerians, led by clergymen and Imams opposed to it. They ensured the project and programmes failed.
Consequently, the population which was 88.5 million in 1988/90, which should have been not more than 145 million by 2020, was already estimated at 198 million. Those opposed to population control then should explain to Nigerians what plans they had for providing food, water, and other welfare services for the excess luggage of 53 million people we carry. Read my comments in 2019
“The catastrophe which Babangida and his administration tried to avert in the 1980s has finally caught up with us in 2018, because his successors failed to follow up on the activities initiated in 1989 and again because the price of crude oil started climbing again until it reached a peak of $110-120 per barrel between 2011 and 2013. In 2018, the population of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria was about the same as the entire population of the country in 1988. By December 2018, 91 million Nigerians had been classified as living in extreme poverty.” The World Poverty Clock, WPC, global study group specialising in poverty studies had declared as follows:
“According to our projections, Nigeria has already overtaken India as the country with the largest number of extreme poor people in early 2018…” Today our country is the poverty capital of the world. And, the situation is getting worse – largely on account of uncontrolled population growth. Since IBB and promoters of birth control have been vindicated, permit me to stop.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE IBB @ 80 CELEBRATIONS.
“I want my friends to be my friends; not my masters…”
Jean Jacque Rousseau, 1712-1788, VBQ, p 69.
To those who for various reasons, some very good; others absolutely ridiculous, don’t want IBB celebrated, I have one statement to make. You are not invited. Guidelines are for those who agree. I thank everybody all the same.
GUIDELINES FOR PARTICIPATION
There are three ways to participate in the events planned by VANGUARD MEDIA LIMITED to honour former military President General (rtd) Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, GCFR, whose 80thbirthday comes up on August 17, 2021.
- Place an advertisement in VANGUARD – Full Page Colour and Half Page.
- For adverts with prepared artwork: Full Page N621,682.74; and Half Page, N367,800.
- For adverts without prepared artwork, add N30,000. We will assist you to develop artwork after selection of the picture of your choice.
- Individual and group adverts are acceptable.
- All adverts paid for must be received by August 15, 2021 to allow the paper to be on the newsstand on time nationwide on August 17, 2021.
- TRIBUTES AND TESTIMONIES. Another way of effective participation for those wanting to pay their respects to IBB is to send in your tributes.
- TRIBUTES, not more than 60 (sixty) words, will be published together as a pull-out on August 17, 2021. Cost: N100,000.
- Again, group Tributes are allowed. Tributes paid for must also be in latest August 15, 2021.
- ALL PAYMENTS for Adverts and Tributes must be made ONLY to: Fidelity Bank VANGUARD MEDIA LIMITED. Account: 401-0122643.
- After paying, please send details of payment to: email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow the instructions on our website.
- LUNCHEON: The celebrations will be rounded up on Sunday August 22, 2021, at a COVID-19 compliant private lunch in Lagos to which a small number of IBB well-wishers will be invited. It will be a first-come-first listed affair. Register will be closed once the stipulated number is reached.
- For more information on participation in any way, please call: 0802-982-8929, 0703-813-4844, 0906-378-7310. If all else fail call 0708-137-2829.
- Adverts, Tributes and pictures taken at the Lunch will be collated and an album will be produced. Copies of the album will be delivered to His Excellency IBB in Minna. Copies will also be delivered to the IBB Library, Minna, the National Library, as well as our website for ever.
- Since most of the readers of this publication are, like me, under 80, I hope many of us will honour one of the Fathers of our nation today. Almighty God, in his infinite mercy will grant you long life and prosperity. On your day, God will send someone to mobilise others to celebrate you. IBB will not be the last leader for me to celebrate while he is still alive. I hate tributes which the dead never read. Let’s do it NOW.
“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” – at all times.
Dele Sobowale COORDINATOR</code></pre></li>
P.S. If you support the celebration for IBB, pass the message to others who agree that celebrations are in order. At least send Tributes individually or collectively.
Last week, in the first part of this series, I wrote that General Gowon created twelve states from the four he inherited after the Civil War, 1967-1970.” One of our regular readers, a retired Civil Servant, now 74, called me to correct the error. She said, correctly, that the twelve states were created in 1967. The mistake occurred because all the other attempts at states creation, except Gowon’s, occurred when I was in Nigeria. I was away in the United States from 1964-1974. Let me now set the record straight for readers of this column. The twelve States were created on 27 May 1967, by the State Creation and Transitional Provisions Decree 14 of 1967 by General Gowon.
I want to express my appreciation to Madam for the opportunity to learn anew an important fact about Nigerian history – about which I am passionate. I mistakenly deleted the number; otherwise I would have called back as I promised.