Speeches Made Between 1991 -1993

Having completed the installation of the structures, institutions and processes of the designed programmes of military disengagement from governance and restoration of democratic rule, one expected that the period of 1991 to 1992 could have been concentrated on the consolidation of the objectives and gains of the liberalization and democratization processes. However, this was not to be. As an historic phenomenon, democratization embodies effects and consequences which can be counter-productive or subversive of its objectives, particularly if its processes were unduly tampered with or teleguided. On the one hand, democratization involves efforts to instil the spirit of liberty, freedom, social justice and the rule of law while, on the other, it involves the existence of a virile civil society, constitutional government and the interplay of market forces. The accumulation of these social forces usually tend to create their own enemies and dynamics which tend to overwhelm or subvert the leadership of democratization, especially if the processes were ineffectively and inconsistently engineered and managed and thereby posing greater problems of management of the process.

It could be argued therefore that the BABANGIDA transition to civil rule programme which was originally scheduled to be completed in December 1992 following the approved recommendations of the Political Bureau, was aborted, or it ended, albeit, unsuccessfully by November of 1992. How? Between September and November 1992 when the two political parties could not produce acceptable presidential candidates, the regime was impelled to acknowledge that the presidential election scheduled for December 1992 could no longer hold and, as a consequence, both military disengagement and the handing over of power to an elected President in January, 1993 were no longer plausible and possible. From this point on, it was a completely new game outside the original transition framework. The analysis of the politics of this particular problem does not belong here. The important and immediate point of interest is that from about November, 1992, the twin programmes of political democratization and economic liberalization had run amok and hit a cul-de-sac, having lost its raison d’etre and framework. What followed in the subsequent ten months, between November 1992 and August 1993 when President Babangida left office, was a form of governance in an arena of inexplicable rules of politics. It was a time when ad hoc rules were evolved to cope with the crisis within an expedient framework. The regime became characterized by a typically Nigerian fire brigade establishment.

As it turned out, the consequences and crisis of democratization caught up with the regime by the middle of 1993. In essence the well-crafted design for transition to democracy and economic development which the President articulated and inaugurated became virtually paralysed and imperilled. What followed was an increasing loss of legitimacy and loss of authority, and consequently a crisis of political will engulfed the regime which was further fuelled by popular resistance by civil society. The essence of his speeches in the period 1992 to 1993 was that of a struggle to cope with a Crisis of Democratization

However, the crisis notwithstanding, the core values and fundamental tenets of the BABANGIDA programmes of building the foundation for democratic governance and economic development in Nigeria has persisted and outlived Nigeria’s political and economic challenges.

It is difficult to arrange President Babangida’s speeches on a precise list of subjects or topics: however, it would be equally difficult to organize a platform for systematic knowledge sharing and discourse without some topical arrangements . The list of subjects below are therefore arranged on the basis of the varying perspectives, empirical or theoretical, which the speeches represented and covered within the specified period.