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(From The News (Nigeria) - AAGM)
Byline: Richard Elesho
It took several decades to build his reputation. Now Mohammed Buba Marwa's entry into the race for the 2007 presidential election creates jitters in the Atiku, IBB Camps.
There is a way a man's profession makes an indelible impression on his character and carriage. This is very true of Mohammed Buba Marwa, former Military Administrator of Lagos State.
Right from childhood, his life reads like scenes from an epic movie. Or, like a story from the Victorian era English architect turned novelist, Thomas Hardy. Mohammed Buba Marwa is a retired soldier. In the Nigerian Army among other things, he was a band manager and a sportsman. His favourite games were hockey and long jump. But, he also did some boxing, a sort of paradox.
Marwa's father, Buba, who served in the Physical Training Unit of the army was a notable boxing referee.
Thus, whenever the soldiers finished training, Marwa and his friends were always on hand for the final word. The lads were in the habit of jumping to the ring, ostensibly to clean the gloves and the medicine boxes. In the process, they would exchange a few amateurish punches.
At that time, his father was a Warrant Officer. But Marwa aimed for a level way higher than that. By 1984 when his father retired from the army as a captain, Marwa, the son, was already a Major. Buba Marwa (Snr) knew the military tradition of giving the salute to a senior officer so well.
But the son also knew his father. Thus, it was not unusual to find both son and father simultaneously giving the salute to each other as though under some mechanical animation.
More than two decades later, Marwa Jnr. is still on the rise. And he is back in the ring. This time not as an amateur but an accomplished heavyweight with awesome reach and savage delivery. Marwa is the third force in a triangular contest for power. In the ring with him, are former military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Vice President Atiku Abubakar. At stake is who succeeds President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007. The three men have begun subterranean moves and deft calculations meant to enhance their positions. Their followers are like salesmen in a desperate search for prospective buyers. But they have to contend with the latent interest of former Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari who has expressed a desire to re-run if his party gives the nod.
But while many analysts see in Marwa's profile an invaluable nexus between the other forces, his opponents see in him the man to beat.
In many ways they are right. Marwa owes his rise to fame to the ill-fated regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. It was Babangida who, in search of a credible officer that could steer the ship of state in the old Borno State in 1990, appointed Marwa as its governor. The relationship between the two blossomed so well that Marwa was listed among the clique of elite officers called 'IBB Boys.' 'The Boys' were made up of trusted subordinates of the former dictator. To date, many members of the team do not disguise their loyalty to Babangida. On the other hand, Atiku hails from the same Adamawa State as Marwa. In fact, Atiku's Numan and Marwa's Michika are few kilometres apart. With the tribal consanguinity between the two Adamawa sons, they are believed to be close. Conversely, both Atiku and Babangida, at best, are sometimes friends. Conscious of this polarisation, not a few people are of the view that Marwa is like Janus, the Roman deity with two faces looking in opposite directions. In spite of these, TheNEWS investigations reveal that the Michika-born military tactician cum politician is determined to give the duo a fight of their lives and a run for their enormous money in the coming polls.
But the 2007 election, the coveted trophy of the …