The appellate “Maradona” the a.k.a name which had long been associated with former ruler, Ibrahim Babangida seems to have phased out for long due to his inactive political life in the recent past years . However, the great alias seems to have resurrected in grand style and in a greater proportion.
The former Military leader’s popular label brand as a schemer of the highest order resurrected on Thursday when he (Babangida) and his cronies attempted to con some dignified Nigerian elites into a political love-play which they organised as a launching pad to gain influence for the former military leader and his desperate political ambition.
Human right activist and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and a host of other dignified Nigerians were conned into addressing a rally which had been titled ’One Man One Vote’, organised by the Edo State Governor, former labour leader Adams Oshiomhole.
Professor Soyinka was originally invited as Guest Speaker at he rally while a host of other stakeholders in Nigeria’s political terrain were paraded as contributors and political spirit lifters.
Ironically, the rally had been sponsored by Babangida while using Governor Oshiomhole as a conduit. It had been organised as launching pad to welcome Babangida to his new political adventure.
The rally was holding hold at the popular Ogbe Stadium in Benin City.
“The party had originally been tagged ‘One Man One Vote’ by Governor Oshiomhole , in order to deceive Soyinka and other pro-democracy activists as well as the leadership of the Alliance for Democracy so that they can show up at the event. The governor tagged it “One-Man-One-Vote”, a source told EMNnews.com from Nigeria.
Among the parade of the elites who already were at the Edo State Capital city Airport thinking they were answering the call of the people were Professor Soyinka, Chief Bisi Akande, the chairman of the AC, as well as Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos.
Others were Usman Bugaje, Femi Ojudu, Kayode Fayemi, Wale Oshun and Osun State guber candidate Rafiu Aregbesola, had already arrived at the Government House in Benin City when they were informed that contrary to their understanding, the rally was actually being sponsored by Babangida.
Babangida was already perfecting his plans in one of the city’s top hotels accompanied by the Senate President, David Mark.
The revelation that Babangida who already takes joy in being referred to in the name of the Argentine ace schemers and dribbler, Diego Maradona had actually incensed the activists who left the ancient city of Benin in anger after they had confronted Oshiomhole, who could not deny the plan.
An earlier report on Sahara reporters had quoted a furious Soyinka reportedly telling off Oshiomhole that he would not forgive him being a party to such a high-stakes “419” scam perpetrated by someone of his stature and calibre.
The former Labour leader who won two consecutive tenures to lead the Labour Union was said to be aghast at the confrontation by the elite Nigerians.
“There have been speculations in some newspapers that the Oshiomhole government was planning to back IBB’s political campaign and that the decision has triggered some schisms in the cabinet”, reported the Lagos popular PM news on Thursday afternoon.
This morning, sources told P.M.News that Babangida has promised to make Governor Oshiomhole his running mate for the 2011 poll.
Abdul Oroh, Edo state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism responding to Press question on the set- up denied that the rally was meant to endorse Babangida’s campaign.
’’It’s all about one man, one vote, not about IBB,’’he said.