Ex-Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (retd.) has disowned a statement signed and distributed by his media aide, Mr. Kassim Afegbua.
In the widely-circulated statement, Afegbua quoted IBB as advising President Muhammadu Buhari not to stand for re-election in 2019.
However, the new statement, signed by IBB, noted that he (IBB) had unfettered access to Buhari and that where necessary, he would speak to the President in camera instead of resorting to open letter as alleged.
Here is the full statement:
MY COUNSEL TO THE NATION–BY GENERAL IBRAHIM BADAMASI BABANGIDA, GCFR
Distinguished Members of the Fourth estate of the realm.
It has been drawnd to my attention a press statement on the State of the nation, particularly 2019 general elections and beyond.
Let me categorically state that as former President and Statesman, I have unfettered channel of communication with the highest authorities without sensational public correspondence, therefore those views expressed over there are personal views of the writer.
However, with due respect to individual opinion and constitutional rights, it is worrisome that Political events and civil unrest in many part of the country, has raised many questions on the governance and unity. Indeed 2018 is inundated with seasons of literatures on the corporate existence of this country. Many of such literatures have shown concerns of the corporate existence of Nigeria beyond 2019 general elections.
It will be recalled, that in my message to this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, I specifically expressed the dire need for proactive measures to stop farmers/herders clashes in the middle belt, Cattle rustling, armed robbery, Kidnapping, gangsterism and Cultism. Our security agencies have to step up surveillance with more efforts on intelligence gathering for maximum success.
Recent happenings and utterances by political gladiators is alarming and not in the interest of common man that is already overstretched and apparently living from hand to mouth due to precarious economic conditions. Despite all these challenges, I am optimistic that the political actors will play within the ambits of political norms and decorum to ameliorate the problems facing our society now.
I am a realist that believes in all issues in a democratic atmosphere are sincerely discussed and resolved in the spirit of give and take. Since after my military years that metamorphosed to the only Military President in the history of Nigeria and my civilian life, I always have one clear objective that freedom can only be achieved through democracy. Some people find this freedom as an avenue for eroding democracy by antics of hate speeches under the guise of religion, tribal or self imposed mentorship. This trend of pitching political class and the people is unhealthy and skewed.
The clamour for re-alignment of governance in the country as we are approaching 2019 election year is a welcome development only if the agitations are genuinely channeled through legislation and total supremacy of the constitution . Any attempt outside this circle of democratic tenants is deceptive and divisive idea capable of plunging our political journey into disarray.
Our present political parties and their structures need parameter pillars that will make them more strong with unique ideologies. However, our present political parties need surgical operation that will fusion them in to a reasonable numbers. I have been an advocate of two party systems but in our present reality in Nigeria, our political parties can fusion into strong political association/party that can form a formidable opposition to a ruling party.
As students of history, we are aware that many advanced democracies have two distinct ideological political parties, with a handful of smaller political parties that serve as buffer whenever any of the known political parties derailed or became unpopular. I still believe in two party systems as the best option for Nigeria.
It is high time that, we dialogue more on any issue in order to have a political solution on any problem affecting us. It is sad that, Nigeria had its fare share of conflicts, and we cannot continue to fall back to those dark years of bloodshed.
As a people, now is the time to come together to address all Communal conflicts and criminality under any guise to further unite the country in line with the vision of our founding fathers so that as a nation, we can forge ahead in the task of building a more prosperous nation.
GENERAL IBRAHIM BADAMASI BABANGIDA GCFR, FORMER MILITARY PRESIDENT & COMMANDER IN-CHIEF OF NIGERIAN ARMED FORCES.
1 UPHILL DRIVE, MINNA.
SUNDAY, 04TH FEBRUARY, 2018.