IBB Declares For Presidency, Promises Better Deal For Niger Delta
ABUJA, Sept 15, (THEWILL) - Finally, former military dictator, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida today in Abuja formally declared to contest for the presidency in the 2011 general election, saying that the key areas which shall engage serious attention in his administration will be "National Security and Cohesion, Deep involvement of youths and women in national development and the development of a new social charter."
He also promised to rule for only one term if elected to allow other geo-political zones of the country to take their turns in line with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) party’s zoning formula.
He assured that his government would adopt every bit of the Ledun Mitee Niger Delta Committee report, saying the document contained a holistic and comprehensive blueprint for the development of the oil-rich region.
Babangida said the situation demands a comprehensive master plan for the physical transformation, economic empowerment and environmental restoration for the region. "Fortunately, such a master-plan exists in the Ledum Mitee Technical Report for the region. My administration shall implement the recommendations of this report to the satisfaction of Niger Delta and Nigeria," he assured.
In declaring his intention however, the former military dictator said he spent the very long period since 1999 reflecting, and considering the Nigerian situation and has come to a conclusion that he has to take the plunge and contest for the presidency of the country.
According to him, Nigeria today stands on the threshold of history. "As we celebrate 50 years of our independence, our dear country Nigeria faces a pressing urgency for change. At 50 years of our existence as a nation, Nigeria and Nigerians must now rise to actualize the tremendous expectations which our enormous human and natural endowments evoke.
"There are several challenges drawing the country back from realizing its tremendous potentials. Confronting and surmounting these challenges should be the reason why anyone should seek the Office of President.", he said.
Nigeria he added is one of the very few countries in Africa and the world where conditions exist for spectacular economic growth and human development. "It is therefore distressing to me that we have not succeeded in harnessing our enormous human and natural resources to build national prosperity to the extent that we are now in grave danger of state failure.
"The near-complete insecurity, spiraling unemployment, worsening poverty, massive decay in our social and physical infrastructures, and the increasing loss of faith by the citizen in the Nigerian nation are danger signals that raise the risks of state failure.
"To pull Nigeria back from the brink calls for experienced, visionary and tested leadership. I am certain that these negative indicators are not our destiny. But I have always maintained that in the midst of depressing signals and crises there is always hope for a new beginning. Above all, I am convinced that Nigerians have the ability to rise to the demands of rapid development and positive change under a competent, visionary purposeful and national leadership.
"The challenge, which propels my decision to contest the 2011 presidential election is therefore the need for Nigeria to fulfill its destiny in the world as a united, strong and prosperous nation that is a pride to Nigerian citizens and a nation that fulfils its destiny in Africa. Given my public service experience, past involvement and track-record in our national life, my participation in the 2011 presidential elections becomes imperative", he added.
Amongst politicians who attended the event were governors Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Babangida Aliyu of Niger and Muazu Shinkafi of Zamfara states. Others were Senator Kanti Bello, former Senate President Ken Nnamani, former Speaker House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’abba, former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, former Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Adamu and former House Leader, Honourable Abdul Ningi.
Others include Information Minister under Mr. Babangida’s military regime, Chief Alex Akinyele, former Chief of Army Staff, General Salihu Ibrahim (rtd) and a host of others.