I Want To Save Nigeria, Meeting With OBJ Not About GEJ, Zoning - IBB
ABUJA, August 01, (THEWILL) - Former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has opened up on his presidential ambition declaring that he would not renege on his resolve to be President of Nigeria no matter the opposition before him even as he denied that former President Olusegun Obasanjo pressurized him to drop his presidential ambition.
Babangida said he was in the presidential race for real and has prepared for the presidential seat with 'every seriousness, right vision and untainted mission' to save Nigeria.
He said it was time to pay back what he had gained from Nigeria, a reason he resolved to enter the Presidential race, noting that at his age, he and others like him should be thinking of re-building Nigeria and setting it on a path of recovery for the youths of the country to take over.
IBB said the meeting between him and former President Obasanjo was not on Jonathan, neither was it on the zoning issue as reported by the media, stating that they both discussed issues of common interest, the two having for long shared mutual respect for one another.
The former military President also said that the meeting between him and Obasanjo was not the reason he did not attend the rally planned for him at Ibadan as earlier reported.
He said the planned rally was meant to accomplish the opening of a campaign office for him at Ibadan, noting that he would formally visit Oyo State and Ibadan at the appropriate time.
Babangida spoke through his media aide, Kassim Afegbua as he denied that Obasanjo did not attempt to woo him for President Jonathan.
The statement by Afegbua reads, "We have read series of media reports in the dailies saying that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was wooing former President General Ibrahim Babangida for President Jonathan.
"To state the obvious, there is nothing near the truth in the report because the meeting between Former Presidents Chief Obasanjo and General Babangida had nothing to do with 2011, zoning of the presidency or support for the rumored ambition of the President, Chief Goodluck Jonathan. The two former presidents have always exhibited mutual respect for each other irrespective of their different political leanings and ideologies.
"To the best of our knowledge, the incumbent President has not told Nigerians that he was interested in the 2011 Presidential race even though some of his political associates and friends have been on the streets drumming support for him. Till date, it is on record that only General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR, has signified intention to run for the office of President under the platform of the Peoples' Democratic Party, PDP.
"The meeting between the two former Presidents was not a political meeting as being reported. It was a social meeting which was not the first of its kind in recent times, as both of them enjoy mutual and positive relationship. It should be noted that General IBB as a former President has free access to the President, Chief Goodluck Jonathan and does not require a middle man to interface between him and the President.
"General Babangida's belief in the zoning principle was borne out of his vast experience in the management of the country and understanding of the intricate logic and history of the Nigerian nation as a process that could easily help to stabilize the polity to provoke development and growth. He has consulted widely before he took the patriotic decision to give leadership to his teeming followers, supporters and associates by conceding to their request to run the 2011 Presidential race. On that score, he will not disappoint his supporters.
"Again, it is worthy of note that General Babangida did not stay away from the office commissioning ceremony at Ibadan as a result of his meeting with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He was not scheduled to attend in person because the event was meant to open the Ibadan office of his campaign by his teeming supporters.
"We had advised him to send delegation because we wouldn't want a situation where it would become a routine for him to be visiting states to open offices. Once the timetable for political campaigns is released, he will visit every state of the Federation in fulfillment of the requirements of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As a bona fide and law abiding citizen and elder statesman, he cannot be intimidated out of the race because, he will conduct himself with the best practices and will subscribe to the rules and regulations of the game," the statement said.