The ex-leader, who reflected on life after his wife’s death, said: “It has not been easy, but I thank God that I have children who show remarkable understanding and have been doing their best by trying to do what their mother was doing. I also have a lot of grandchildren and they take most of my time.”
Ibrahim Babangida also spoke about his relationship with Maryam.
“While we were courting, there was one aspect that she did not believe me. She did not believe that I was serious because of the reputation I had as a ‘playboy’, but I assured her that it won’t be a problem that I will be a changed person and I am glad I am. I had no problem solidifying the relationship because I knew her and I knew everyone in her family,” he said.
On misconception about his person, Babangida said: “I am not the evil that quite a lot of people consider that I am. I have had a very excellent background and by training, we have to love one another.
However, I can understand the feeling. But by virtue of the job I was doing, I was bound to be misconstrued and people will take it like that, but I consider it as an opinion. As long as I am not what you think I was, I feel satisfied.”
He added: “I read somewhere some time ago, where they said I stole N12.8 billion and I said: If I stole such money, I had no business staying in the country.
But those are the type of things that one has to live with. I hope the younger generation will carry out research on leadership, individuals and what role they played in the development of the nation so that they come up with a different conclusion from what is on the ground now.” Babangida, who also spoke on the polity, called for a part-time legislature to cut the high cost of governance.
“During my public life, there were a number of decisions I took as a military officer or as a political officer when I was a dictator that if I had the chance again, I would have done differently. For example, in 1989, we proposed that the National Assembly should be optional, that is part-time. I still believe that if I had the opportunity, I would make the National Assembly part time. I believe in that very strongly. It’s all in the effort to cut down the cost of governance,” he said.