No chance, Akinyemi rules out Gaddafi’s son in presidential race
SEIF al-Islam Gaddafi, son of slain Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, re emerged on the public scene days back after he registered to run in the country’s December presidential polls.
Libya’s first ever direct presi dential poll, with a first round on December 24, is the climax of a process launched last year by the United Nations to draw a line under years of violence since the revolt that toppled dictator Gaddafi in 2011. In July, Seif, 49, emerged from years in the shadows when he told The New York Times he was planning a polit ical comeback.
The dictator’s erstwhile heir apparent is wanted for crimes against humanity by the Inter national Criminal Court (ICC). With the memory of Gaddafi’s authoritarian regime and the 2011 uprising, in which Seif sided with his fa ther, still clear in Libyans’ minds, the 49-year-old’s an nouncement of a quest to lead the country, has been discon certing for many.
Nigeria’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, who is pictured with the young Seif, has, how ever, said he doesn’t stand a chance.
“There are people who be cause of the Gaddafi name will vote for him and then there for him. Ghaddafi was popular but we must not make a mistake that there were people who didn’t like him, though he was definitely overthrown by western interests. I don’t think he stands a chance.”
Reminiscing his visits to the country and when the picture was taken, Akinyemi said: “When I was Nigeria’s Foreign Min ister, I visited Libya several times when Gaddafi was in power. Even though he was a head of state and I was just a foreign minis ter, for some strange rea sons, he had a lot of respect for me.
“The picture was taken on one of those occasions when I had visited with a special message from Gen eral Ibrahim Babangida. At the time, you don’t even know where he is. You just wait and at the last minute his protocol people will come and pick you that the leader was ready to re ceive you.
“We drove and drove all through Tripoli until we were brought to him and those two lovely children got talking, he told the two children to go and take pic tures with me.
“The boy (Seif) was very shy, he was on my right. Gaddafi was speaking to them in Eng lish, he said you are standing before a very important man; he comes from a very impor tant country. This is going to be a valuable picture. I was just laughing when we took the picture before they were taken away. It was later sent to the Nigerian ambassador who then forwarded the picture to me and have kept it since then, for over 30 years now.”
Akinyemi added that the dictator groomed Seif to be his successor. “He was trained in English universi ties abroad and the kind of assignment that the father gave him definitely
showed that the father did n’t want him to takeover from him unprepared.”