The story of Ibrahim Babangida, former Nigerian military head of state better known as IBB, has been documented in a new biopic, ‘Badamosi: Portrait of a General’. The film, written and directed by Obi Emelonye, acclaimed filmmaker, explores Babangida’s story from childhood up to his run as the head of state, also touching several key history points in Nigeria’s history.
Babangida was head of state from August 27, 1985, to August 26, 1993. He previously served as the chief of army staff from January 1984 to August 1985.
He was a key player in most of the military coups in Nigeria (July 1966, February 1976, December 1983, August 1985, December 1985 and April 1990) and notably moved the seat of power from Lagos to Abuja in 1991.
In an interview with NAN on Friday, the filmmaker explained the inspiration behind the film and its importance in modern-day Nigeria.
“I decided to use the IBB story to explore our history and our political consciousness,” he said.
“In a film, what creates drama is conflict. If you are such an easy-going, quiet person, nobody would want to make a film about you which explains the hundreds of films made about Hitler.
“It tells you that the more complex a character, the better their stories will be for film.
“So we started looking for stories of Nigerian leaders that can be used to explore our history. The story of Babangida stood out.”
Emelonye also said that it was important to get Babangida’s authorization and perspective while making the film to increase authenticity.
“I wanted to make it authorised. I wanted his participation because that is what will make it more interesting,” he said.
“This is because most stories are already in the public domain and there will be no point to make a film about it.
“The only thing missing is his personal perspective which we don’t have. For me, his participation was the determining and distinguishing factor.”
On the portrayal of Babangida in the film, Emelonye noted that in history, perspectives differ hence the need to document from Babangida’s perspective.
“Whatever came out as a persona of Babangida was a function of the information from news outlets,” he said.
“What I did with this film was to dig deeper into the psyche of the man himself to find his perspective to the things we already know in the public domain.”
The trailer of the film, starring Enyinna Nwigwe in the lead titular role, has been sparking several conversations on social media as the premiere draws closer.
Ibrahim Babangida Bio
Born in a small village in northern Nigeria called Wushishi, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida or IBB as he is fondly called, loses both of his parents by the age of 14. It is his charm and intelligence that would propel him from that inauspicious beginning to the pinnacle of military politics in Africa’s most populous country.
But to fulfil his destiny, Babangida has to survive a brutal civil war, spearhead several successful military coups, escape a few ferocious plots on his own life and confront his deepest fears.
But when fate pitches the General against the will of 150 million tough Nigerians, something has to give. Babangida has won several battles to rule Nigeria for 8 years. However, with the country about to implode, he may have to lose the fight to bring her back from the brink.