ON CONSENSUS I STAND â€“ IBB
Former military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has denied a report published by the Sunday edition of a national newspaper (not Daily Sun), claiming that he had jettisoned the consensus arrangement and would run in the 2011 elections.
In the opinion of the newspaper, it stated that the consensus option had collapsed and that in deference to his supporters, Babangida was bowing to pressures from his associates, friends, political allies and followers to have a shot at the Presidential election.
A statement from the media spokesman to the IBB Campaign Organisation, Prince Kassim Afegbua however, denied the report stating categorically that, ' IBB is not contemplating jettisoning the consensus option because the rationale for the consensus in the first place, is still very much in place.'
Members of the IBB 2011 Presidential Campaign Organization, Afegbua emphasised 'are already being accommodated in the Amalgamated Atiku Campaign Organization, to give the necessary support to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the forthcoming PDP primaries.'
Afegbua observed with dismay that 'in recent times, this same newspaper is gradually becoming unethical in promoting baseless, unsubstantiated, ridiculous, misleading and very frivolous stories against the person of IBB in a manner that tends to suggest that the newspaper had an ulterior motive.' He sermonized that ' it was not only instructive for journalists to be very thorough and profound in their news reportage, they must at all times cross-check their facts and figures in order not to mislead members of the public who rely on their news items for one purpose or another.'
While describing the report as untrue, the media spokesperson stated that the fact was, there was no 'marathon' meeting in Kano, Kaduna, Minna and Lagos as it was reported by the newspaper.
The statement read further: 'We also wish to state that in asmuch as we appreciate the support, endorsement and open invitation of the leadership of the National Democratic Party (NDP) towards General Babangida, there has never been any platform where formal dialogue was entered into.
Before now, the National Democratic Party has been in support of the presidential aspiration of the former President (and) that is why we do not see its present support as something new. Former president Babangida appreciates the overwhelming support being extended to him by distinguished Nigerians; home and abroad, and feels very strongly that the quest for the leadership of the country was not a personal and self-serving desire, but one that was borne out of altruistic and patriotic intentions to help rescue the country from its present economic and political morass.
'As a distinguished Nigerian and a gentleman officer, he is of the considered view that democracy cannot flourish if all the essential ingredients are not well garnished to provide opportunity for all with equal access to the levels of power. He's of the strong opinion that the rule of law, as a cardinal principle of democracy, cannot be circumvented in a manner that tends to undermine the stability and unity of the country.'
Babangida's call for respect of the provisions of the PDP Constitution still stands and must be respected by all members who subscribe to the party, Afegbuaa asserted, warning that 'nobody should assume the role of an unauthorized spokesman for the erstwhile campaign organisation of IBB.'
Should there be need to give any further directive, he volunteered that 'we will use the appropriate organs to do so,' insisting that 'the ideas, perspectives, viewpoints and dimensions expressed in the said newsreport are purely those of the authors but certainly not that of General Ibrahim Babangida or his campaign organisation.'
He informed further that 'our followers and supporters have been properly directed and briefed; hence we view this news item as utterly misleading and grossly uninformed.'