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By NBF News

Within the week, chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Godwin Daboh and the camp of former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, threw stones at each other over a meeting in Abuja.

While the Babangida camp said that Daboh came to the meeting to ask for forgiveness over his recent comments that the former military president should withdraw from the race or face humiliation, the Benue politician said the meeting was a set-up.

Saturday Sun spoke with Prince Kassim Afegbua, spokesman of Babangida on the matter.

In the last couple days, there has been altercation between the Babangida camp and Chief Godwin Daboh. What is happening?

Please, get it right, from the outset, General Ibrahim Babangida is too decent, too civilised and polished to be joined into any altercation with Chief Godwin Daboh. I, Prince Kassim Afegbua, have an axe to grind with him because he cannot be do that and expect us to keep quiet.

Godwin Daboh is supposed to be a friend of Babangida. What explains his recent comments?

It is unfortunate and painful that he could choose the pages of newspaper to raise alarm over nothing, accusing our cerebral General IBB, such a polished and distinguished, quintessential fine military gentleman, who had the opportunity, by the will of Allah to preside over the affairs of this great country some time ago. Please, in the name of God, do not bring the name IBB into this discussion because that would amount to giving undue relevance to a man, who we all know to be a liability to all of us.

I cannot imagine why old men would want to bring themselves down to the level that they would be subjected to abuse from the younger elements. His report that he was set up to meet General IBB is utter rubbish. What relevance is he going to bring to the table? Please, I repeat, do not, by any stroke of imagination, bring General IBB into this discourse with Chief Godwin Daboh. General IBB is not in the habit of joining issues with his subordinates. Never. We will not fall for the antics of Chief Daboh, such unnecessary distraction.

Daboh alleged that he was set up…
Who is Chief Daboh to warrant a set-up? When you say set-up, you are glorifying something that is worth any glorification. In fact, it is an insult to say that our one and only General IBB, such a civilised and decent father figure of the nation, would condescend to the level of setting up a Godwin Daboh. For what purpose, if I may ask? I was very pissed off when I got to Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa's and saw Chief Daboh eating and laughing away. I deliberately invited the media to come and see him there. He supports IBB today and dance with whomever tomorrow. Those days are gone when people would abuse the magnanimity of General IBB to their political advantage. He should contradict my position. This is a man who wants to be Governor Shekarau's national coordinator, in his bid for presidency in 2011; yet he is romancing with President Jonathan's group.

But is Babangida really serious about the 2011 presidential project?

We are still very much on course. And we have repeatedly said it that there is no going back on our mission, giving Allah's support and the fact that a lot of Nigerians want General IBB. Whether there is zoning or no zoning, General IBB is going to contest elections in 2011. That is his constitutional right as citizen of this great country. He has a responsibility to react to the ongoing leadership in the country and provide the country his expertise and experience in handling all the dominant challenges in the country. There are problems of insecurity in the country; there are cases of kidnapping everywhere in the country, unemployment, issue of political balance and resource control. There are so many issues begging for attention. What about the issue of power generation and the economy? The country needs a man like IBB to make it happen and launch the country to its next level of development.

What about the zoning controversy?
That is an idea that we cannot run away from because of the pluralist status of Nigeria. Political scientists and scholars are agreed that the concept of power sharing in any plural society helps to maintain a high degree of stability and positive governance. Power sharing helps in resolving conflicts among a people that share different political and cultural differences. The country is not homogenous; hence you need some degree of sacrifices to strike that balance that will make people buy into the national project. If the Igbo man feels that he will not have the opportunity to be president, he will feel a sense of loss; same goes for other minority tribes. What we need is for us to insist on zoning, as a basis for power balancing until a time when the dominant groups would have tasted political power and the threat of pulling out from the union would be eliminated. If you hear anybody telling you that zoning is not necessary, look into the person's eyes and what you will see is sycophancy and greed. They are political hustlers looking for what to engage them in the same fashion that the five political parties endorsed the late Abacha and told Nigerians he was the only qualified candidate to lead Nigeria.

They are at it again.
Mr. President should be wary of those characters, who are masquerading about in the name of pro-Jonathan campaign. We cannot run away from zoning because of our pluralist status. Tell all those spent forces, political jobbers, jesters and liabilities to go and sit down. Nigeria has gone beyond that era. If there is no zoning and peradventure a northerner gets into the office, do you think that the South can wrest power from them, given the numerical strength of the North? I think we need to tread with caution in the way and manner we talk about this zoning and no zoning thing.

What is Babangida planning?
We are in the race and we are busy building our structures nationwide to attract our followers and supporters. One thing that gladdens our hearts is that our distinguished General IBB is showing so more commitment and determination in the entire project than ever before. We are going to pursue this to a logical conclusion by the special grace of Allah, we are going to win the elections. As you are aware, General IBB is very popular and enjoys mass support from people across the country. With the promise of a free, fair and credible election, the sky is surely the limits.