Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) Biography, History

General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida was (born on 17 August 1941) popularly known as IBB, is a Nigerian statesman and military general who served as military President of Nigeria from 1985 until his resignation in 1993. He also served as the Chief of Army Staff from January 1984 to A
ugust 1985. Babangida rose through the ranks in the military and fought during the Nigerian Civil War, he has been a key plotter of military coups in Nigeria.

Political party

8th Head of State of Nigeria
In office
27 August 1985 – 26 August 1993
Preceded by Muhammadu Buhari
Succeeded by Ernest Shonekan
( as Interim President of Nigeria)
Chief of Army Staff
In office
January 1984 – August 1985
Preceded by Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi
Succeeded by Sani Abacha
Personal details
Born (1941-08-17) 17 August 1941 (age 78)
Minna, Northern Nigeria, British Nigeria
(now Minna, Nigeria)
Nationality Nigerian People’s Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Maryam Babangida
(1969–2009, her death)
Residence Minna, Nigeria
Alma mater Government College Bida
Nigerian Military Training College
Indian Military Academy
United States Army Armor School
Command and Staff College, Jaji
National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies
Military service
Nickname(s) Maradona
Allegiance  Nigeria
Nigerian A
Years of service 1962–93
Rank General
Battles/wars Nigerian Civil War

GENERAL IBB Early life

Babangida was born on 17 August 1941, in Minna, Niger State to his father Muhammad Babangida and mother Aisha Babangida.

General Ibrahim Babangida belong to one of minority tribes in North Central Region of Nigeria, either Nupe, Gbagyi, Kambari, Kamuku or Zuru.

From 1950 to 1956, Ibrahim Babangida attended primary school. From 1957 to 1962 Babangida attended Government College Bida, together w
ith classmates Abdulsalami Abubakar, Major General Mamman Jiya Vatsa, Moha
mmed Magoro, Sani Bello, Garba Duba, Mohammed Sani Sami.

GENERAL IBB Military career

Babangida joined the Nigerian Army on 10 December 1962, when he attended the Niger
ian Military Training College (now Nigerian Defence Academy) in Kaduna. Babangida received his commission as a second lieutenant as a regular combatant officer in the Royal Nigerian Army (a month before it became the Nigerian Army) with the personal army number
N/438 from the Indian Military Academy on 26 September 1963. Babangida and General Mohammed Magoro were among the first batch of Nigerian graduates from the NMTC who attended the Indian Military Academy from April to September 1963. From January 1966 to April 1966, Babangida attende
d the Younger Officers Course at the Royal Armoured Centre in the United Kingdom. Where he received instruction in gunnery and the Saladin armored car.

Whilst undergoing his training, the Nigerian Civil War broke out. Babangida was recalled and poste
d to the 1st Division under the command of General Mohammed Shuwa. In 1968, he became commander of the 44 Infantry Battalion which was involved in heavy fighting within Biafran territory. During an operation from Enugu to
Umuahia, the battalion came under heavy enemy fire and Babangida was shot on the leg. He still carries the bullet shrapnel which he has
refused to remove. In 1970, Babangida was informed by his sectional commander General Theophilus Danjuma of the capitulation of the Biafra Army to the federal government in Lagos, signalling the end of the war.

In 1970, following the war Babangida was promoted twice and posted to the Nigerian Defence Academy as an instructor. In 1973, he was made commander of the 4 Reconnaissance Regiment. In 1975, he became the commander of the Nigerian Army Armoured Corps. In 19
81, he became the director of Army Staff Duties and Plans. In 1983, he became Chief of Army Staff.

Babangida attended several defence and strategy courses. From August 1972 to June 1973, he attended the advanced armoured officers course at the United St
ates Army Armor School. From January 1977 to July 1977, he attended the senior officers course at the Armed Forces Command and Staff Coll
ege, Jaji. From 1979 to 1980, he attended the senior executive course at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies.

During his military career, Babangida attained the following ranks:

  • Second Lieutenant (1963)
  • Lieutenant (1966)
  • Captain (1968)
  • Major (1970)
  • Lieutenant Colonel (1970)
  • Colonel (1973)
  • Brigadier General (1979)
  • Major General (1983)
  • General (1987)

1966 Nigerian counter coup

Further information: 1966 Nigerian counter-coup

Lieutenant Babangida was posted with the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron in Kaduna, and witnessed the events of the bloody 1966 Nigerian coup, which resulted in the death of Premier Ahmadu Bello. Alongside several young officers from
Northern Nigeria, he took part in the July counter-coup which ousted General Aguiyi Ironsi repla
cing him with General Yakubu Gowon.

1975 Nigerian coup

Further information: 1975 Nigerian coup

In 1975, Colonel Babangida as commander of the amoured corps was a key participant in the coup that brought General Murtala Mohammed to power. He was later appointed as one of the youngest members of the Supreme Military Council from 1 August 1975 to October 1979.

1976 Nigerian coup attempt

In 1976, following the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed, Colonel Babangida crushed the coup attempt almost single-handedly by taking back control of the Radio Nigeria
station from the main prepretrator, Lieutenant Colonel Buka Suka Dimka (a close friend of his), to prevent him making further announcements over the air waves. Lt.Col. Dimka later escaped, and a was arrested in Eastern Nigeria before later being publicly executed in May 1976.

1983 Nigerian coup

Further information: 1983 Nigerian coup

In 1983, Brigadier General Babangida participated in the overthrow of the Second Republic, the coup with financial backing from businessman Moshood Abiola brought General Muhammadu Buhari to power. Babangida was promoted and ma
de Chief of Army Staff.

1985 Nigerian coup

Further information: 1985 Nigerian coup

In 1985, General Babangida orchestrated a palace coup ousting General Muhammadu Buhari. With help from loyalists whom he had strategically positioned within the military hierar
chy such as Sani Abacha,. Aliyu Muhammad Gusau, Halilu Akilu, Gado Nasko, Major General Mamman Jiya Vatsa and students from his days as an instructor in the military academy.

In a speech, General Babangida announced that a change in government was necessary as General Buhari’s dictatorial War Against Indiscipline campaign and the mismanagement
of the economy
had plunged the country into turmoil.Babangida established the Armed Forces Ruling Council in a bid to cement his power and promulgated his official title as the first military president of Nigeria.

Consolidation of power

Babangida placed Buhari under house arrest in Benin until 1988. In December 1985, Hundreds of military officers were arrested, some were tried, convicted and eventually executed for conspiring to overthrow the Ba
bangida administration. The conspirators were alleged to have been led by Major General Mamman Jiya Vatsa, who was Babangida’s childhood friend. In 1986, Commodore Ebitu Okoh Ukiwe, was removed as Chief of General Staff for opposing Nigeria’s membership in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.


Between 1983 and 1985, the country suffered an economic crisis. In 1986, Babangida launched the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), with support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, to restructure the Nigerian economy. The policies involv
ed in the SAP were:

  • deregulation of the agricultural sector to include abolition of marketing boards and elimination of price controls
  • privatisation of public enterprises
  • devaluation of the Nigerian naira to improve the competitiveness of the export sector
  • relaxation of restraints on goreign investment put in place by the Gowon and Obasanjo governments during the 1970s.

Between 1986 and 1988, these policies were executed as intended by the I
MF, and the Nigerian economy actually did grow as had been hoped, with the export sector performing especially well. But falling real wages
in the public sector and among the urban classes, along with a drastic reduction in expenditure on public services, set off waves of rioting and other manifestations of discontent th
at made sustained commitment to the SAP difficult to maintain.

Babangida contributed to the development of national infrastructure. He constr
ucted the Third Mainland Bridge, the largest bridge on the continent at the time.

His administration also saw the completion of the dualising of the Kaduna-Kano highway. Babangida als
o completed the Shiroro Hydroelectric Power Station. He had the Toja Bridge in Kebbi constructed.

He also created the Jibia Water Treatment Plant and the Challawa Cenga Dam in Kano.

National politics

In 1986, Babangida established the Nigerian Political Bureau of 1986, the bureau was one of the broadest political consultation exercises conducted in Nigerian history. The bureau was headed by Dr. Samuel Joseph Cookey, and contained 17 members charged with the responsibility of investigating the problems of the failed Nigerian political and d
emocratic institutions, collating the socio-political views of Nigerians and submitting remedies to curtail the perceived shortcomings of the political and economic process.

On 23 September 1987, Babangida created two states: Akwa Ibom and Katsina state. On 27 August 1991, Babangida created nine more states: Abia, Enugu,
Jigawa, Kebbi,
Taraba and Yobe state in Nigeria to thirty in 1991. Babangida also increased the share of oil royalties and rents to state of origin from 1.5 to 3 percent.

In 1989, Babangida legalized the formation of political parties, and after a census was carried out in November 1991, the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced on 24 January 1992 that both legislative elections to a bicameral National Assembly and a presidentia
l election would be held later that year. A process of voting was adopted, referred to as Option A4. This process advocated that any candidate needed to pass through adoption from the local level to any height of governance. Babangida had formed two polit
ical parties, namely the (SDP) Social Democratic Party and (NRC) National Republican Conventi
on for the elections. He urged all Nigerians to join either of the parties, which the late Chief Bola Ige famously referred to as “two leper hands.” The two-party state had been a recommendation of the 17- member Political Bureau.

The legislative elections went ahead as planned, with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) winning majorities in both houses of the National Assembly, but on 7 August 1992, the INEC annulled the first round of presidential primaries, alleging widespread irregularities. In January 1993, Babangida appoint
ed Ernest Shonekan head of the transitional council and de jure head of government. At the time, the transitional council was designed to be the final phase leading to a scheduled hand over to an
elected democratic leader.

In April 1993, the SDP nominated businessman Moshood Abiola as its presidential candidate, and the NRC selected Bashir Tofa.


Babangida created several institutions, including:

  • Department of State Services (DSS)
  • National Intelligence Agency
  • Defence Intelligence Agency
  • Federal Road Safety Corps
  • Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps
  • Establishment of modern universities and academies
  • Oil Mineral Producing Area Development Commission
  • Federal Environmental Protection Agency

Foreign policy

Babangida strengthened the foreign relations of Nigeria. He rejected apartheid in South Africa, involved Nigerian troops in the Liberian Civil War, hosted the Abuja Treaty which gave rise to the African Union and enhanced relations with the United States and United Kingdom.

In 1986, Nigeria joined the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as its 46th member. The OI
C is an international organisation considered the “collective voice of the Muslim world”. This move was welcomed in Northern Nigeria, where there is a majority Muslim population. However non-Muslims cr
iticised the move likening it to an Islamisation agenda of Nigeria, a secular country.

Human rights

The killing by a letter bomb of Dele Giwa, a magazine editor critical of Babangida’s administration, at his Lagos home in 1986 was allegedly attributed to Babangida
and remains a controversial incident to this day. In 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo established the Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission h
eaded by Justice Chukwudifu Oputa to investigate human rights abuses during Nigeria’s decades of military rule. However, Babangida repeatedly defied summons to appear
before the panel to answer allegations of humans rights abuses and questioned both the legality of the commission and its power to summon him. He was however represented by counsels, Mustapha Bashir Wali and Yahya Mahmoud. His right not to testify was uph
eld in 2001 by Nigeria’s court of appeal which ruled that the panel did not have the power to summon former rulers of the country. The Oputa Panel Report would conclude that: “O
n General Ibrahim Babangida, we are of the view that there is evidence to suggest that he and the two security chiefs, Brigadier General Halilu Akilu and Col. A. K. Togun are accountable for the untime
ly death of Dele Giwa by letter bomb. We recommend that this case be re-opened for further investigation in the public interest.”

1990 Nigerian coup attempt

Further information:

On 22 April 1990, Babangida’s government was almost toppled by a failed coup led by Major Gideon Orkar
. Babangida was at the Dodan Barracks<
/a>, the military headquarters and presidential residence, when they were attacked and occupied by the rebel troops, but managed to escape by a back route. Orkar and 41 of his conspirators were countered, captured by government troops. They were convicted of treason. On 27 July 1990, they were executed by firing squad.

Relocation of the seat of government

Led by Major General Mamman Jiya Vatsa and later Hamza Abdullahi, on 12 December 1991, the Babangida administration relocated the seat of government from Lagos to Abuja.

1993 Nigerian presidential election

Further information: 1993 Nigerian presidential election

On 12 June 1993, a presidential election was finally held, but no results were officially announced because Babangida annulled the elections. It was however unofficially announced in some states that Abiola had won 19 of the 30 states. The annulment lead to widespread protests in the South West
, which was the stronghold of Moshood Abiola. Many felt Babangida had ulterior motives, and did not want to cede power to Abiola, a Yoruba businessman. Babangida later admitted that the elections were annulled due to national security considerations,
which he didn’t specify.


In August 1993, Babangida resigned from office. He signed a decree establishing the Interim National Government led by Ernest Shonekan. Babangida made the interim government weak by placing it under the control of the military. In November 1993, General Sani Abacha overthrew the interim government.

Party politics and presidential aspirations

In 1998, Babangida was instrumental in the transition to democracy. Babangida is one of the founders of the Peoples Democratic Party a longside other prominent military generals such as Aliyu Mohammed Gusau. They were said to have supported General Olusegun Obasanjo in the 1999 Nigerian presidential election in order to springboard themselves back to power.

In August 2006, Babangida announced that he would run in the 2007 Nigerian presidential election. He said he was doing so “under the banner of the Nigerian people” and accused the country’s political elite of fuelling Nigeria’s
current ethnic and religious violence. On 8 November 2006, General Babangida picked up a nomination form from the Peoples Democratic Party headquarters in Abuja. This effective
ly put to rest any speculation about his ambitions to run for the Presidency. His form was personally issued to him by the PDP chairman, Ahmadu Ali. This action immediately drew extreme reactions of support or opposition from south west. In December, just before the presidential primaries, it was widely reported in Nigerian newspapers that Babangida had wi
thdrawn his candidacy. In a letter excerpted in the media, IBB is quoted as citing the “moral dilemma” of running against Umaru Yar’Adua, the younger brother of the late Gener
al Shehu Yar’Adua, as well as against General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, given IBB’s close relationship with t
he latter two. It is widely believed that his chances of winning were slim.

In August 2006, Babangida announced that he would run in the 2007 Nigerian presidential election.In September 2010
, Babangida officially declared his intention to run for the presidency in the 2011 Nigerian presidential election in Abuja, Nigeria. Babangida was later urged by his military inner circle to withdraw his candidacy. President Goodluck Jonathan later emerged as the par
ties presidential candidate.

Elder statesman and later life

General Olusegun Ob
asanjo in the 1999 Nigerian presidential election in order to springboard themselves back to power.

From his hilltop residence in Minna, Babangida has cultivated a patronage system which cuts across the entire country. In 2015, following the election of his rival Muhammadu Buhari as President, Babangida has maintained a low profile. In 2017, Babangida had a corrective surgery. At 78, he is considered a foremost elde
r statesman. He has called for a generational shift in leadership to allow for a new crop of leaders to replace the 1966 military class.


Babangida was married to Maryam Babangida from 1969 until her death in 2009. They had four children together; Aisha, Muhammad, Aminu, and Halima. On 27 December 2009, Maryam Babangida died from complications of ovarian cancer.

Personal wealth

Babangida is rumoured to be worth US$50 billion. He is believed to secretly possess a multi-billion dollar fortune via successive ownership of stakes in a number of Nigerian
companies. In 2011, according to a Forbes article, Babangida is estimated to be worth US$12 billion. Babangida has rejected these claims, and insists his government “were saints”.

National honours

Year Country Decoration Presenter Notes
1983 Nigeria Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR);  
Shehu Shagari Third highest national honour in Nigeria
Under Research Nigeria Defence Service Medal (DSM); Nigerian Army Military award
Under Research Nigeria Forces Services Star (FSS); Nigerian Army Military award
Under Research Nigeria General Service Medal (GSM);   Nigerian Army Military award
Under Research Nigeria National Service Medal (NSM); Nigerian Army Military award
1985 Nigeria Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR); Himself Highest national honour in Nigeria

Foreign honours

Year Country Decoration Presenter Notes
1989 United Kingdom Under Research Elizabeth II Fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry
1989 Zimbabwe Freedom of the City of Harare Robert Mugabe Prestigious national honour in Zimbabwe
1990 Equatorial Guinea Grand Collar of the Order of the Independence Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo Highest national honour in Equatorial Guinea
Previous Post

Emeka Smith Biography, Net Worth, Age, Phone Number

Next Post

Lauren Lovette Net Worth, Age, and Biography