About the Episode

General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida or ‘IBB’ became the military president of Nigeria in 1984, after overthrowing General Muhammadu Buhari (yes, we know what you’re thinking and you’re right) in a military coup. On becoming president, IBB sold himself as the military leader who would usher in Nigeria’s democracy; but what continues to puzzle historians is why he repeatedly delayed the democratic transition until 1993.

In this episode, Wale Lawal finds some answers.

Read the Episode 1 transcript.

About the Show

We all grew up hearing about ‘June 12’, but how well do you know what really happened? You might think it was just an election, but June 12 explains so much more about the frustrations, excitement and contradictions that make Nigeria the complicated country it is. How so? Let’s find out together.

Read our introduction to Season 1.


Wale Lawal is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Republic.

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Notes on Episode 1

In researching Episode 1 of The Republic, we made use of the following sources.


Connor, Ken and Hebditch, David. How to Stage a Military Coup: From Planning to Execution. Skyhorse, 2009 (originally published 2005).

Falola, Toyin and Heaton, Matthew. A History of Nigeria. Cambridge University Press. 2008 (originally published 1989).

Maier, Karl. This House Has Fallen: Nigeria In Crisis. Basic Books, 2002.

Meredith, Martin. The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence. Public Affairs Publishing, 2005.

Siollun, Max. Soldiers of Fortune: A History of Nigeria (1983-1993). Cassava Republic Press, 2013.

News/Journal Articles

Adams, Paul. ‘Nigerian Press Squelched in Battle to Sway Public Opinion,’ The Christian Science Monitor, August 6, 1993.

Adeniran, Tunde. ‘The Two-Party System and the Federal Political Process,’ Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 1991.

Aigbokhan, Ben. ‘Monetary Policy In Nigeria And The Economic Crisis Of The 1980s. African Review of Money Finance and Banking,’ African Review of Money Finance and Banking, 1991.

Akinola, Anthony. ‘A Critique of Nigeria’s Proposed Two-Party System,’ The Journal of Modern African Studies, March 1989.

Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Nigeria: Information on the political parties formed in May 1989, especially the ‘People’s Front of Nigeria’, 1 July 1990, NGA6451, available at: [accessed 23 October 2023]

Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Nigeria: Information on the founding members of the NRC political party, 1 December 1993, NGA15521.E, available at: [accessed 23 October 2023]

L. A. Times. ‘Coup in Nigeria Ousts Military Ruler; Corruption and Ailing Economy Cited,’ August 28, 1985.

Ojo, Emmanuel. ‘The military and democratic transition in Nigeria: An in depth analysis of General Babangida’s transition program (1985-1993),’ Journal of Political & Military Sociology, June 2000.

Rupert, James. ‘Nigerian Ruler Dies After Brutal Reign,’ Washington Post Foreign Service, June 9, 1998.

Reuters. ‘General Who Leads Nigeria Postpones Transfer of Power,’ New York Times, November 18, 1992.

The Associated Press. ‘Army Officers Said to Overthrow Nigeria’s Ruling Military Council,’ New York Times, August 28, 1985.

Welch, Claude. ‘Civil-Military Agonies in Nigeria: Pains of an Unaccomplished Transition,’ Armed Forces & Society, 1995.


Global Database on Violence against Women. Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development Database.

Northeast Reporters. ‘Speech of Brigadier Sani Abacha, December 1, 1984 – Return of Military Rule,’ Facebook, June 18, 2020.

Episode 1 makes use of archival footage from the following sources:

Babangida Coup: Swearing-in Ceremony of the New Armed Forces Ruling Council 1985. (courtesy Adeyinka Makinde)

Election May Not Go As You Want, Saul Will Come Before David – Pastor Adefarasin Tells Congregation. (courtesy SaharaTV)

Gabriel Fagbure interviewed by ITN on 1966 Nigerian coup. (courtesy Lumi Fagbure)

General Buhari activities 1983. (courtesy Yasir Abubakar/NTA News)

General Ojukwu on the 1966 Nigeria first military coup. (courtesy Rihuum TV)

How Abiola died under my watch: Major Aliyu. (courtesy 247 News Nigeria)

How Nigeria’s ‘War Against Indiscipline’ Started w/ Buhari 1984. (courtesy Unstripped Voice)

IBB Answers Why The June 12 Election Was Annulled (courtesy Ebony Life Studios)

Why Buhari Was Removed As Head Of State in 1985. (courtesy ITNSOURCE)

Rufai Oseni Interview (courtesy Arise News)

Service Of Songs For Mrs. Hilda Victoria Joanne Adefarasin. (courtesy Hilda Adefarasin)

The True Story of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida; The IBB Years – A Look At The ‘Maradona’ Years. (courtesy SYMFONI)

The Vatsa Coup against Babangida. (courtesy Nigeria History Channel)

Music used in the first episode of The Republic includes ‘Maradona’ by Niniola and music by Nigerian Army Band.