Thirty one years after his administration was toppled in a military coup, President Muhammadu Buhari has finally opened up on why he was sacked.
Buhari, who has not spared the military even in his ongoing anti-corruption war, said senior military leaders, led by former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida and General Aliyu Gusau, removed him in August 1985, to save themselves from his wrath. In an exclusive interview published in the current edition of The Interview magazine, Buhari challenged Babangida and Gusau to tell the truth on why they carried out the coup against him.
“I learnt,” he said, “that Aliyu Gusau, who was in charge of intelligence, took import licence from the ministry of commerce which was in charge of supplies and gave it to Alhaji Mai Deribe.
“It was worth N100,000, a lot of money at that time. I confronted them and took the case to the Army council in a memo…I wanted Gusau punished.” In a statement on www: theinterview.com.ng, the Managing Director/Editor-in-chief of The Interview, Azu Ishiekwene, said, “This is one edition that won’t let sleeping dogs lie.”
But in an earlier edition of the magazine last December, Babangida had said that that there was nothing in the memo which Buhari said he submitted to the Army council. IBB said: “Don’t forget that I was one of Buhari’s closest aides.
I was the chief of army staff. So, I had an important position, an important role to play within that administration. I don’t think it had to do with a memo.” But in a tone which suggested that the past may neither have been forgotten nor forgiven, Buhari challenged Babangida and Gusau to come clean on why they removed him, asking The Interview to choose whose story to believe.
He also fielded questions about his health, the 2016 budget, the pace of his government, former President Goodluck Jonathan and why Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola was handed three ministerial portfolios.