Confusion became the order of the day after speculation was rife that the former Nigeria military ruler, Gen Ibrahim Babangida’s had to distance self from a statement in which his aide Kassim Afegbua quoted him as asking "president Mohammadu Buhari not to recontest 2019 election" over some negative realities coming from the polity.
The news was already spreading like wildfire gathering reaction essentially from online media outfts when another statement in which the former military ruler allegedly disowned Afegua’s statement was issued.
As urban express-news was pondering on how to report the developing story, urban express-news online correspondent cut up with Afegbua on Sunday politics of channels television to say his boss Babangida gave consent to the statement
In the alleged statement of denial, Babangida said: "My attention has been drawn to a press statement on the state of the nation, particularly 2019 general elections and beyond. "Let me categorically state that as a former president and statesman, I have unfettered channel of communication with the highest authorities without sensational public correspondence. Therefore, those views expressed over there are personal views of the writer.
"However, with due respect to individual opinion and constitutional rights, it is worrisome that political events and civil unrest in many parts of the country have raised many questions on the governance and unity. Indeed, 2018 is inundated with seasons of literatures on the corporate existence of this country. Many of such literatures have shown concerns about the corporate existence of Nigeria beyond 2019 general elections."
He recalled his statement during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day where he expressed the dire need for proactive measures to stop farmers/herders clashes in the Middle Belt, cattle rustling, armed robbery, kidnapping, gangsterism and cultism. The former military ruler admonished Nigerians to make democracy work in the country so that the visions of the founding fathers could be realised for the benefit of all.
“Recent happenings and utterances by political gladiators are alarming and not in the interest of the common man who is already overstretched and apparently living from hand to mouth due to precarious economic conditions. "Despite all these challenges, I am optimistic that the political actors will play within the ambits of political norms and decorum to ameliorate the problems facing our society now.
"I am a realist that believes all issues in a democratic atmosphere should be sincerely discussed and resolved in the spirit of give and take. "Since after my military years and in my civilian life, I always have one clear objective that freedom can only be achieved through democracy. Some people find this freedom as an avenue for eroding democracy through hate speeches under the guise of religious, tribal or self- imposed mentorship. This trend of pitting the political class and the people against each other is unhealthy and skewed."
According to Babangida, the clamour for the realignment of governance in the country as it approaches the 2019 election year is a welcome development only if the agitations are genuinely channelled through legislation and total supremacy of the constitution . "Any attempt outside this circle of democratic tenets is deceptive and a divisive idea capable of plunging our political journey into disarray.
Meanwhile, the leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the purported advice that Buhari should forget his re-election bid as apt and yet another pointer to the fact that Nigerians across divides had already taken decision in the way it will go against the president and his All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said Babangida's position on the need for a dynamic, nationalistic and development-driven leadership was a direct reflection of the feeling and aspirations of Nigerians.The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday said the fact that Babangida's alleged declaration on President Buhari came on the heels of a similar one by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, further vindicated PDP's position on the alleged misrule of the Buhari administration and the APC.
The PDP further described as an understatement, the reflection that the Buhari administration and its APC had polluted the nation's "leadership actuality", adding that it was not unmindful of the yearnings of Nigerians to use the platform of the repositioned PDP to propagate a new coalition that would return the much- desired new atmosphere in the polity by producing the president that would be acceptable to the majority of Nigerians.