NDP TICKET WAITING FOR IBB
The National Democratic Party (NDP), has said that its presidential ticket is waiting for former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida if he fails to get the Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) ticket for the 2011 elections. NDP's National Secretary, Prince Ademola Ayoade, told Daily Sun in Ibadan, Oyo State: 'We adopted Babangida as our presidential candidate in 2007. We gave him our ticket, but he did not contest, that ticket given to Babangida then is still there. Babangida is still our preferred candidate.' Excerpts:
I started campaigning for IBB 15 years ago
General Babangida is my brother, is my friend, my mentor and role model. I appreciate him a lot, I can do anything for him and I will do anything for him to be president. Fifteen years ago, I talked about Babangida, praised him, told people what Babangida was doing. I was alone in the vanguard then. Thank God, a lot of people are now falling upon themselves to talk about Babangida, to call Babangida back to power. That was what I have been doing for the past15 years. Some people are now doing it, and it is a thing of joy for me.
My party, NDP adopted Babangida as our presidential candidate in 2007. We gave him our ticket, but he did not contest, however, the ticket given to Babangida then is still there. Babangida is still the preferred candidate of NDP and the party is ready to work with any party that would give Babangida ticket. Presently, Babangida is a member of PDP and he is fighting for its ticket. There is little or nothing I can do to influence his getting the PDP ticket. If he gets it, we are going to work for him. To say that we have not been feasible is a wrong notion.
There is a group called IBB Rainbow Group, and I am its National Chairman. It is a non-partisan campaign organization for IBB in the South-West. Our project is to sell IBB to the people. We have selected six programmes in form of lectures to be held in every state capital in the South-West. The first in the series of the lectures took place in Ibadan, Oyo State, recently with the theme: 'Babangida, Rural Transformation and Poverty Management in Nigeria.' This is how we want to sell Babangida to the people. Most of what he did in the past are what they are building on today. By the time IBB gets the PDP ticket, we will face the electorate and my group will be more feasible by then.
The ticket is still there, it is still valid. NDP National Working Committee (NWC), will be holding a meeting very soon, where they will reconfirm the offer of the presidential ticket to Babangida. NDP is waiting for him, we will welcome him, and he is going to win this election. IBB is the candidate to beat in 2011 presidential election.
Which party in Nigeria that does not have IBB's hand in it? There are people in ANPP, ACN, even AD, who are IBB's friends and loyalists. There was a report that ACP is ready to offer IBB its ticket. That the problem in ACP is caused by IBB's influence. Another report said some ACN chieftains offered IBB the party ticket. IBB is a household name in Nigeria, he is the best man for this job. He did well when he was the military president, he constructed the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos. We need two other bridges to support the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, because it is being overused, nobody is talking about that. IBB constructed the express way from Ibadan and Ife to Ilesa. The government of Obasanjo and Yar'Adua spent about 14years trying to construct the road from Ibadan to Ilorin. You can imagine the amount of money Obasanjo's government spent on power, what did we get from it? It took Obasanjo about five years to construct a fly-over in Ota, Ogun State.
Opposition against IBB's presidential ambition
All these criticisms and opposition are good. Anything that is not good, people will not even notice it, it is when something is viable, that people will notice it and they will start raising issues. They say IBB misappropriated Gulf War oil windfall. They didn't say he embezzled the money. IBB has come out to say that he took responsibilities for the annulment of June 12, 1993 election. The Interim National Government (ING) was not IBB's idea, but an idea of one of the frontline politicians from the South-West. A particular chieftain of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) at that time from the South-West suggested ING.
South-West's endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan
Those people adopting Jonathan here and there have problems. Some of the governors are already under the close watch of EFCC and ICPC. Many of them also want second term, they don't want EFCC and ICPC to run after them. The only thing they need to do is to show to Jonathan they are supporting him. They want the party ticket at all cost and IBB is not in a position to grant them party tickets. If Jonathan gets the PDP ticket, he is going to lose that election. Those people pushing Jonathan to contest are only interested in what they can grab. What is the political experience of Jonathan? He is never a politician, he is just a lucky man.
IBB, Arisekola-Alao and I
IBB is what a Yoruba man called Ajere. Ajere is a perforated calabash, if you did it inside water, water can enter through many of the holes, that is IBB for you. Aare Musulumi, Alhaji Abdul Azeez Arisekola-Alao, is my very good brother. He is someone that I know always stands solidly behind IBB. I have great respect for him, I have benefitted a lot from him and I am still benefiting. He had been working towards IBB presidency and by the grace of God, together we will get IBB to the presidential villa.
IBB not sellable?
The time has not come. When the time comes, the South-West will know the truth. We will tell them the genesis of June 12. We will tell them those who participated in June 12, how June 12 was hatched and executed. We will tell them who formed NEDECO because of selfishness.
What magic did you intend to use to convince the South-West?
Let's get to the river, and then we would know how to cross it. Let IBB get the party ticket and by then we are in the battle field, we would be able to know who is the presidential candidate, it is then, we would determine which strategies and magic we are using.