It was reported last week that Nigeria’s former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd), is seriously ill, as a source close to his hilltop mansion in Minna, the Niger State capital, revealed to a correspondent.
Though the real cause of his illness could not be ascertained, the source apart from saying that it was age-related, added that he might be suffering from a relapse of the radiculopathy disease which has troubled the former Nigerian leader since he was head of state.
Speaking with some reporters on Sunday, April 24, in his home in Minna, Ibrahim Babangida, former head of state, has finally broken silence about his illness, while debunking the rumours, he said:
“It is true I have minimised my appearance at public functions because of my ill health, but not to the level of incapacitation as being widely circulated in some media.
“For me, it doesn’t shock me neither bother me because I know I must go and meet God my Creator. There is nothing really to worry about, my religion has told me. Well, as a Muslim I strongly believe everybody will die.
“Everybody will die and everybody has to die. It could be now or in 100 years time or two days to come. But it doesn’t matter. Everybody must die. You can see me attending to people, after which we all go in for our lunch and have our prayers before I retire for my siesta.
“I am not incapacitated. Nobody is above sickness or death because nobody is above what God has destined. Everybody will fall sick or will die or either of their relations must die,” he said.
IBB further added that the future of Nigeria is bright and the dreams of Nigerians to declare their independence was worthwhile. “I still believe very strongly in this country, which is further demonstrated by the people of these great nation because they are very industrious people, hardworking. That gives me the hope for Nigeria,” the former head of state added.
Babangida also disclosed that the injury received in his right leg as a result of the piercing of a bullet during the Civil War has been with him for quite sometime and its regular relapsing is an expected phenomenon.
“When I was the president of the country, I had to travel to Germany where the sickness was diagnosed as Radiculopathy, which has troubled me since and as such relapses,” he said.
It can be recalled that Muhammed Babangida, his son, has recently confirmed his father’s illness, saying that IBB underwent surgery and is recovering.
The illness of ex-president became public when he attended the valedictory dinner for Justice Fati Lami Abubakar, the former Niger state chief judge, and was helped out of the event before the end.