You are a probably a victim of Ibrahim Babangida’s seduction.
Last week, a friend of mine spent some time reading through the pages of one of Nigeria’s leading newspapers. After reading the last page, he said, disappointedly:
“Today’s paper is boring-there’s no news of Babangida.”
I’ve known my friend as a die-hard critic of Nigeria’s former military president, Ibrahim Babangida- the man we love to call IBB. My friend consistently declares his hatred for the man, but that day he was truly disappointed that there was no news about the man in the papers. His disappointment was written all over his face. It was the kind of disappointment you’ll see on the face of a seven year-old girl when denied her favorite candy. It was at that point I realized something:
We ALL love Ibrahim Babangida-much as we hate to admit it. We hate him because we love him, and we do not understand why.
Eversince Ibrahim Babangida declared his intention to run for the 2011 Nigerian Presidential elections, a lot of hullabaloo has been raised about his moral qualifications and justifications to run for the most exalted position of the nation.
A lot of protest groups have been formed to discredit his personality. By now, you must be familiar with all the negativities facing the ‘Prince of the Niger’ and self-proclaimed ‘Evil-genius.’ He has been called an enemy of democracy having annulled the 1993 General election, the so-called ‘Freest and fairest’ elections ever held in the country. He supposedly killed Dele Giwa through a letter bomb, introduced corruption into the Nigerian system and he stole the $12 billion Gulf Oil windfall. Joe Igbokwe, a man who has dedicated his life to criticizing IBB, wrote recently in Nigeria’s Daily Independent Newspaper that IBB’s government was fraught with brazen mismanagement, violent rule, nepotism, deception, Press gagging, and looting of national till, e.t.c.
Some of these accusations against IBB might be true, some- many of them, are mere fabrications. Personally, for reasons of my own (rational and intelligent reasons), I believe he is the one best-fitted to rule the country, but lest you throw stones at me, I’ll keep my reasons to myself.
I admire Ibrahim Babangida for many reasons. But more importantly, I admire his mastery of the art of seduction. The truth is, Ibrahim Babangida is a master mass seducer. He keeps on inventing new ways to keep himself in the new and in our consciousness, all the time. And while we all love to hate him, we all know we love to hear about him. That is seduction in its most subtle, yet canny form. That is the kind of effect the gap-toothed general has had on all of Nigerians. No newspaper is an interesting read except it has a story on IBB. He has played on all of us-on our minds, and made us all yearn for more of him. We are victims of his seduction.
But you may not understand. According to one of my favorite authors, Robert Greene, the author ‘The Art of seduction’ one way to make people want more of you is to send mixed signals. Greene says, “Once people are aware of your presence, and perhaps vaguely intrigued, you need to stir their interest before it settles on someone else. Most of us are too obvious-instead be hard to figure out. Send mixed signals: both tough and tender, both spiritual and earthy, both innocent and cunning. A mix of qualities suggests depth, which fascinates even as it confuses. An elusive, enigmatic aura will make people want to know more, drawing them into your circle. Create such a power by hinting at something contradictory within you.”
IBB, as a master of seduction has done just that. He has made us aware of his presence. None of us is unaware of his presence. He has in the past created a reputation for himself as a ruthless, coldblooded and tough leader- a General. He was the lion. Then, under civilian administration, particularly under Olusegun Obasanjo’s time as president, he became a mild, obedient Nigerian citizen. He played the lamb. And now, as the 2011 Presidential elections draw nigh, he’s about to play the lion again.
The General is charismatic. He has a presence that excites us. He has these inner qualities, self-confidence, a sense of purpose and contentment that most people lack and want. These qualities radiate outward making him seem superior and dazzling, and we have all fallen in love with him. We hate him because deep down, we want to be like him. The public never gets enough of him.
Everyone has a hate-love relationship with IBB. He has seduced us with his wit, charm and controversy and we all, like horny little women, have been led along.
I’m still wondering if he will seduce Nigerians to support him in the upcoming general elections. But, having closely followed IBB’s story since I was 15, I know IBB will surprise us all for sure.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
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