Former military president General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) has said that in spite of the drumbeats of war, the time has come for Nigerians to learn from past mistakes and move ahead.
This is even as he expressed hope that Nigerians cannot afford to go through another civil war, as the younger generation was not prepared to suffer what the older generation went through.
Babangida noted that intolerance would be the problem and fear for 2015, adding that “the other factor remains the fact that we don’t use experiences to shape our future.”
According to him, “And unless we do that, we will only be dancing on the same spot. If we are able to have this without any ulterior motives, I still have strong hope in this country. I still believe we will make it.
“Somebody would say, ‘during his time he institutionalised corruption.’ The question is in the name of God, aren’t we capable of doing something differently in those years? There have been many governments since I left office, and if government exists for the welfare of the people, are you saying that nobody is capable of correcting the purported wrong that Babangida did?
“When my former boss, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and I volunteered to make useful suggestions, some people said what did we do when we were there at the helms of affairs? We were there, but things are happening now. So, we should not be deprived of the right to make our contribution.”
Speaking recently in Minna, the Niger state capital, with newsmen to mark his 71st birthday, IBB said that from his observation, the media has not done enough study on Boko Haram in order to find lasting solution to the sect’s insurgence.
According to him, “Even communal violence everywhere; boundary disputes, be it in Akwa Ibom, Fulani upheavals with Gbagyi everywhere, these things are happening in the country. Somebody should be able to tell us how to move forward from all these.”
Babangida said Obasanjo and himself have a good and cordial relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan, adding that the ability of the Nigerian society to heal its wounds remains the most remarkable strength of Nigerians, saying that hardly do you find countries that fought civil wars forgeting the experience in less than 30 years.
He said the credit should go to Nigerians for such a rare feat.
Read Babangida’s full interview on pages 22, 23,24.
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