2015: Nigeria won’t break up, says IBB
Former military President General Ibrahim Babangida yesterday rubbished the fears that Nigeria might cease to exist by 2015.
He dismissed such fears as a wishful thinking that will never come to pass.
Speaking in his Minna country home with reporters ahead of his 72nd birthday today, the former Nigerian leader said that such a prediction “will make Nigeria to emerge stronger and more united come 2015.”
He said the current security challenge in the country is not even sufficient to cause Nigeria’s disintegration, saying, “We are only crying wolf when there is no cause for it.
“Folks, forget about disintegration in 2015. I can’t see it happening. A country that will disintegrate, you will know it. It is not something that happens in one or two months. The disintegration of Nigeria is just out of question,” he said.
He was of the opinion that the motive behind the prediction was to instil fears in Nigerians.
His words: ”People say all sorts of things to instil fear in others. If the majority of the people believe in the unity of the country, then why do they worry about someone saying it will disintegrate? I know it wouldn’t. People are just crying wolf.
“Nigeria is one of the amazing countries we have in the world. If you live outside Nigeria and you hear and listen about the happenings in the country, you will think the world is coming to an end, only for you to come to the country and see the people, they are happy, laughing, attending football matches and doing other things. That is Nigeria for you.”
He asked the media to “stop giving prominence “ to such misgivings.
“The fact is that the struggles and challenges currently facing the country will end up making her a great nation,” he added.
Babangida also ruled out violence in the 2015 election because, as he put it, “2015 election will come and go.
“There are people assigned the responsibility for the election. The politicians, the followers who will vote, aspirants seeking people’s mandate, they are all in place. It is not a rat race.”
He however advised that electorate to elect leaders with good credentials who believe in the Project Nigeria and have her interest at heart during the next general elections.
“What we need are leaders who have good understanding of what we want to achieve and look for people who share the same view and work with them,” he said, naming former President Olusegun Obasanjo as one of the leaders who have the interest of the nation at heart.
“My boss, General Obasanjo, there is one thing that we cannot take away from him; he believes in the unity of the country. You can’t take it away, and this is what we all believe in.
“So, anyone who believes in the unity of this country at any level, I think should be the leaders to vote for.”
President Goodluck Jonathan, in a goodwill message to Gen. Babangida, wished him a happy birthday.
He praised the former military ruler for a life of outstanding accomplishments.
A similar message came from the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) which said his untiring efforts at preserving the unity of the nation remained unrivalled.
Babangida’s life, according to the governors, “symbolises statesmanship, patriotism, vision and courage.”
Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, who spoke for his colleagues, said the former military leader excelled in his chosen profession and went on to preside over Africa’s most influential country during which period he showed rare vision, courage and exemplary leadership.
The forum then prayed God to grant IBB excellent health, courage and many more years of selfless service to Nigeria and humanity.
Senate President David Mark, in a separate message, described Babangida as a “quintessential statesman” whose leadership quality remains a reference point in the contemporary history of Nigeria.
“Babangida remains a true statesman and a nationalist who believes in one indivisible, united, peaceful and progressive Nigeria,” he said.