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IBB Defiant, Says I値l Repair Nigeria

Posted by From Sufuyan Ojeifo in Abuja on 2006/08/15 | Views: 1121 |

IBB Defiant, Says I値l Repair Nigeria


Despite his travails in the last few weeks, former military President Ibra-him Babangida, stepped forward defiantly yesterday, saying he was determined to return to the political turf and help to repair a decaying Nigeria by making it whole again.

Despite his travails in the last few weeks, former military President Ibra-him Babangida, stepped forward defiantly yesterday, saying he was determined to return to the political turf and help to repair a decaying Nigeria by making it whole again.

的 would rather simply define the challenge of our immediate next national leadership as this: To make whole again. To that I am committed, he said in Abuja at a lecture commemorating his 65th birthday where he reviewed the crisis of leadership succession in the country.

The former military president whose speech was applauded by a quality audience that included former Head of State, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar, spoke against the background of perceived opposition of President Olusegun Obasanjo to his undeclared presidential ambition.

Although his presidential aspiration remains in the realm of speculations even as concrete campaign structures, are being erected by his loyalists, there is widespread belief that the prevailing political establishment, particularly in his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are prepared to fence him from political power.

Perhaps sensing the potency of the forces against him, Babangida is believed to be working in concert with Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen. Aliyu Gusau, to weave a political machine that will throw up the next president of the country in 2007.

Evidence of powerful opposition to his ambition became stronger in the run up to his birthday, Thursday, as some of the military as well as political decisions taken by his regime were exhumed for administrative review.

Only a few weeks ago Sefiya,the widow of his bosom friend and former minister of Federal Capital Territory, Maj. Gen. Mamman Vatsa, petitioned the President and asked for the review of the 1985 execution of her husband.

His friend痴 widow had hardly dropped the petition at the Aso Rock Villa when Mohammed, the former military president痴 first son, became a guest of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to explain an alleged ownership of 24% of the shares of telecommunications giant, Globacom.

Although Mohammed eventually walked into freedom on Sunday morning, many Babangida loyalists believed that the recent events were meant to roughen him and discourage him from pursuing his presidential ambition.

But the toothy five-star general indicated clearly yesterday that his ambition remained alive and he would not be intimidated into walking away form the presidential contest that, from all accounts, had promised to throw up high-wired political manoeuvres.

Speaking with the conviction of man ready to fight, he said: 典he challenge, which the vibrancy of democracy throws up is essentially that of national leadership (and) because democracy remains essentially a process, it challenges the political leadership to be dynamic while remaining focused, to be responsive while being firm, to recognise past achievements while embarking on fresh initiatives.

泥rawing from the vision of our founding fathers, the labours of our heroes past and the present travails of our compatriots, I am inspired by the enthusiasm and optimism of our youth.

的 also see the pain of dashed hopes, the agony of thwarted dreams and the regrets of expectations not met. Therefore, over and above the various prescriptive models for future leadership that are now being variously canvassed in the popular media, I would rather simply define the challenge of our immediate next national leadership as this: To make whole again. To that I am committed.

Babangida, who is one of the frontrunners for the 2007 presidency, stated that he intended to lead the process of making the country more peaceful, united, prosperous, secure, orderly and law abiding.

Amid applause that intermittently punctuated his 泥emocracy in Nigeria delivered by former External Affairs Minister, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, the former president said that the lecture formed part of a global manifestation the free _expression of ideas, which he said was a critical element of the democratic process.

He, however, noted that while the major democracies were engaged with how to project democracy as an instrument of international power and global economic advantage, the 渡ew democracies of Africa were faced with a multiple challenge.

According to him, 擢irst, we are challenged to select and distil from the various models of democracy the form that is most appropriate to our various peculiar national circumstances.

鉄econd, we have to agree on the minimum expectations of the governed from those whom they empower to rule over them; third, those who assume the mandate of the people have to grapple with the imperatives of ensuring the stability and sometimes the survival of the very nation states they are elected to rule.

擢ourth, because the needs of our peoples remain basic and mostly existential, our new democracies are challenged to pursue strategies of economic development that sometimes violate some of the fundamental principles of democracy in a bid to deliver dividends quickly and to the greatest majority.

He said that Nigeria was today an embodiment of 鍍hese contradictory demands and mutually reinforcing imperatives in a very stark form, stressing 的 believe the Nigerian experience with democracy in the last seven years especially has thrown up the major issues and problems of democratic transformation in present day Africa
Babangida reviewed the state of the nation over the years and concluded that issues that had long been presumed resolved have once again come to the fore 努ith greater clarity and compelling stridency.

According to him, 溺inority rights are being expressed and pressed with increased militancy. Primordial cleavages have resurfaced and sometimes threaten the foundations of national cohesion.
In his lecture on the occasion, Akinyemi x-rayed the essence of democracy and posited that broad agreement and consensus on the great issues of today was sine qua non factor of democracy.

He said that that some issues had been settled while some had not yet been settled, pointing out that the issue of population remains controversial, adding, 鍍he issue of revenue allocation, to a large extent, bears a relationship to the census issue and as long as the census figures remain controversial, the issue of revenue allocation will also remain controversial.

Akinyemi spoke on the elections that had held in the nation since independence warning that the issue of power shift now threatening to tear the country apart was a direct consequence of the loss of faith in free and fair elections.

He said as a way forward, 努e must find a way to insulate census and state creation from revenue allocation and electoral representation, stating that the role of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should be revisited to deal with the provision in the constitution where the president is responsible for the nomination of the commission痴 chairman and members subject tot eh confirmation by the senate.

On revenue allocation, he said 努e should go back to the revenue philosophy of the First Republic, which is that of revenue derivation, adding 妬t is the figures and percentages that should be negotiated.

According to him, 溺y own proposals are as follows: Since the representatives of the oil producing states at the last political conference had agreed to an immediate 25 per cent formula, that should be the point of departure.

展e should also accept a 5 per cent increase to the maximum figure of 50 per cent. The remaining 50 per cent should be distributed on the basis of zonal equality (and) an Equalisation Fund to handle national, zonal, state or local disaster should be included; the disaster can be defined to include per capita income falling below an acceptable level.

Among dignitaries present at the event were Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abdulkadir Kure, former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Inuwa Wushishi, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Air Vice Marshal Hamza Abdullahi, former President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Umaru Ndanusa, former Chief Judge of Abuja, Justice Dahiru Saleh, former Governor of old Northwest, Alhaji Usman Farouk, former Internal Affairs Minister, Brigadier-General John Shagaya.

A member of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Isyaku Ibrahim, former Information Minister, Professor Sam Oyovbaire, former Ambassador to South Africa, Dr. Tunji Olagunju, National Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP), Alhaji Aliyu Habu-Fari and former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju.

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