Former President Ibrahim Babangida, yesterday, dismissed prospects of an interim government, saying the conditions that gave rise to the contraption in 1993 were non-existent under Nigeria’s flourishing democratic system.
In a statement, yesterday, he therefore urged support for the Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and encouraged the electorate to accept the use of the card reader.
Babangida also dissociated himself from participation in an interim government, saying he left politics in 2011 at the age of 70.
“When we introduced the idea of an “interim government” during our time as a military government, we had in mind to enthrone a democratic government in the shortest possible time in sync with the agitations of the people, after the inconclusive elections of 1993. That was a stop-gap measure because we were determined to quit office at the set date of August 27, 1993. Having left office since 1993 and with the benefit of hindsight, I think what we did was auspicious enough to reassure our people that we were ready to leave office and keep the country going. The end result of our patriotic action is another topic for another day. Suffice it to say that the circumstances we found ourselves in 1993 are totally different from what obtains today in our democratic journey as a nation with flourishing opportunities,” Babangida said in the statement.
“Let me state in emphatic terms that Professor Attahiru Jega and his colleagues in INEC have to be encouraged, motivated, animated and commended for the sheer courage and determination they have shown thus far in their preparations for the March 28 and April 11 elections. They have demonstrated their sense of patriotism in a manner that underscores their readiness for the elections and love for country. Rather than condemnation, they deserve our commendation. They need to be encouraged to deliver on their statutory obligation to the Nigerian state. I have no doubt to state unequivocally, that elections will hold on the appointed dates in line with the unflinching assurances from INEC. Those mooting the idea of an interim government and trying to drag my name into it should please look elsewhere.
“Our security agencies also deserve our commendation especially with the successes already recorded in the fight against the Boko Haram. This is the real Nigeria Army of my expectation. I am not only proud of the military uniform, I am betrothed to it. It is a symbolic and very unique institution that nurtured me on how to dominate my environment. Whether retired or serving military officers, we all share common professional affinity and collegiate loyalty. The unity of the country is paramount in our hearts and our sense of loyalty to the Nigerian state is unequivocal. I commend my colleagues in uniform, both senior and junior officers, for the sheer determination they have shown in combating the Boko Haram menace and preparing the ground for credible elections.
“I expect all the political parties to conduct themselves within the ambit of the law. They must continue to educate their members and the electorates on how to make the forthcoming elections more credible than previous ones. We must appreciate the creativity and innovation of the card reader which INEC has introduced to make for better election credibility and transparency.”
In a digital world where almost everything is driven by technology, the offer of the card reader is a welcome development. We may not get to the fullest merit of this, but it is a good way to start. This is one way to bridge the technological gap between those developed and under-developed nations of the world. Let us repose confidence in the system in the interest of the unity of our great country.
“Finally, let me state that I do not have a Twitter handle. All the statements being credited to me by way of tweets should be discountenanced,” Babangida said.
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