"Count me out of interim government" - Babangida

Former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.), on Wednesday said he should be counted out of any talks or plot to install an interim government in Nigeria.

He said in a statement issued by his media office that it had become necessary to make his stand clear to avoid unwarranted cynicism usually promoted by naysayers, alarmists and political apologists to score cheap political mileage.

According to the former military president, “To state the obvious, let it be on record that I am not in any way connected with the alleged ‘plans’ to encourage, promote, orchestrate or moot the idea of an interim government or whatever ‘contraption’ so called.
“I did state categorically in 2011 that I was quitting partisan politics and wouldn’t want to be ordered around in any way or form as seeking public office in whatever guise. I took that decision when I attained the age of 70 and I stand by that decision till date.”
Babangida further said: “Having been privileged to preside over the affairs of this great country for eight unbroken years as a military president, I can declare with all sense of modesty that I have seen it all. And I give all praises and thanks to the Almighty Allah for giving me the rare opportunity to contribute my quota to the development of my fatherland.

“That opportunity remains my highest, most enduring moment in my entire trajectory through life’s bramble forest.”

According to him, “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, he said, “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.

“Let me state in emphatic terms that Professor Attahiru Jega and his colleagues in Independent National Electoral Commission (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 in my mind therefore, 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. I shared some of these thoughts with my guest, former President of South Africa, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, in my Minna home a couple of days back and we both stressed the all-important role of Nigeria in the continent and the need for credible elections at those appointed dates. We cannot afford not to get our elections right this time round.

“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.”

The ex-president further said: “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 electorate on how to make the forthcoming elections more credible than previous ones. We must appreciate the creativity and innovation of the card readers 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 readers 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 tweeter handle. All the statements being credited to me by way of tweets should be discountenanced.”
Credit: Chuks Okocha/ThisDay


  1. We don't trust this guy

  2. What with this idea of interim government? Hope GEJ is not about to execute a coup against his own government? I smell a big rat!


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