Why Buhari, not me, took over after 1983 coup that toppled Shagari’s govt – IBB

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Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) has gone down memory lane to narrate why Major General Muhammadu Buhari, and not him, assumed command of the country after the 1983 coup.

Babangida, who is popularly called IBB, spoke in a viral interview with Daily Trust TV.

Babangida was Director of Army Staff Duties and Plans in Lagos while Buhari was General Officer Commanding, 3rd Armored Division, Jos at the time of the coup on December 31, 1983.

The coup upstaged the democratically-elected government of President Shehu Shagari.

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Buhari was in charge of the country for nearly two years until he was replaced by Babangida following another coup on August 27, 1985.

Asked why Buhari, who was based in Jos, was made Head of State in 1983 ahead of him that was closer to the centre of action in Lagos, Babangida said, “When we stage coup, we plan, this is something that not many people seem to know but there is a lot of planning that went into it; logistics, intelligence, what to do with it, how to get the troops, how to make them participate and so on, what to tell them to convince them to do the right thing.

“So when we are planning we try to work out who are people who are going to be in charge and we easily agreed on particular persons. When in 1975, there was an agreement by all the participants of the coup that Murtala Mohammed must be the president, so was it when the coup succeeded. And there was also unanimous consensus that Obasanjo should be the person to take over from Murtala after his death.

“So there is always an agreement by the coupists that this is the person who should lead us. We knew the environment then very well, we knew what the public was complaining about, we knew what the public wanted to see and in 1984, we found that Buhari was the right person for that job.”

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