‘OBJ and I proferred solutions to insecurity, others’
Former military president General Ibrahim Babangida has explained that when he was leaving government in 1994, he asked Gen. Sani Abacha to stay and protect the Interim National Government of Chief Ernest Shonekan against military coup.
Babangida spoke to reporters in Minna, Niger state, yesterday, on the eve of his 71st birthday.
He said that Abacha was not retired as Chief of Defence Staff and Minister of Defence in other to give the support of the military to the interim government in the conduct of election.
He said: “If you remember, the interim government had a life span but realities proved otherwise,” he said.
Babangida said that Abacha, who overthrew the Shonekan administration 82 days after the former had ‘stepped aside’, was required to provide very strong support to Shonekan following threats of coup at the time.
The former military ruler also relived some of his experiences during the civil war and during his eight years as a ruler, explaining that he would need a psychologist to put him through some of those experiences.
He described some of the experiences and feelings as traumatic, which he has to cope with for life. “I need a psychologist to chat with. God has been kind to me”.
Babangida said he was in support of creation of state police for effective policing of the country.
He said the fears being expressed that state governors would use the police for personal vendetta was unnecessary as the police would operate under the law.
Babangida also rose in defence of the statement he and former President Olusegun Obasanjo jointly issued on the state of the nation, saying, “We proffered solutions to challenges and problems in the country.”
Babangida said the former rulers placed high premium on the unity of the country.
“When we talk, we proffer solutions. People do not expect us to be quiet when things are happening. We said what needed to be said,” he said.
He berated those drumming songs of war, saying that the country would not go to war again after the civil war.
Babangida restated the conviction of former rulers in the unity, peace and stability of the country, adding, “We have been advising President Jonathan on how to achieve peace.
“We support the president to bring peace to the country and we will continue to do this.”
He argued that people and the media blew out of proportion the recent comments attributed to Chief Edwin Clark, saying that the Ijaw leader had been his good friend over the years.
“Clark is my friend; we have mutual respect for each other. I believe the media heightened the situation,” Babangida said.
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