Nigeria Triumph of the Troublemaker

The man beyond many coups finally puts himself in power

Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, a general in the Nigerian army, is a man who always seems to be at the center of the action. In 1975 he and his fellow officers ousted General Yakubu Gowon, who had taken power soon after the outbreak of the bloody four-year Biafran war. The following year, an unarmed Babangida confronted rebellious army officers in Lagos during an attempted coup and persuaded them to surrender. It was he too who masterminded the army coup that, on the last day of 1983, toppled Shehu Shagari, the civilian President whose winking acceptance of endemic corruption had helped plunge oil-rich...

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