2019: Don’t let personal ambition override national interest, IBB warns Buhari

Erstwhile military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has warned President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow his own personal ambition for second term to override national interest.

IBB said, come 2019 and beyond, Nigerians should raise a new breed leadership with requisite capacity to manage its diversities and jump-start a process of launching the country on the super highway of technology-driven leadership in line with the dynamics of modern governance.

He called on Nigerians to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his term of office on May 29th, 2019 and collectively prepare the way for new generation (of) leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country.

In what appears to be a departure from ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s recent open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, IBB warned that his was not an open letter to the President, but that he had only shared his thoughts with “fellow compatriots” on the need to enthrone younger blood in the mainstream of national political leadership starting from 2019.

While expressing “fright at the “issues plaguing the country,” he said he was perplexed by the “gory” themes of killings that have engulfed certain parts of the country, from southern Kaduna to the western parts.

In a statement released on Sunday (today) and signed by his media spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, IBB, who claimed to be speaking as a “stakeholder, former president, concerned Nigerian and a patriot,” noted that though President Buhari has an inalienable right to vote and be voted for, argued that “there comes a time in the life of a nation when personal ambition should not override national interest.”

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He urged the Federal Government to reinvent the wheel and tap into the resources of younger generation.

In a veiled condemnation of the Federal Government’s anti-graft war, IBB reiterated that modern leadership is not just about “fighting” corruption, it is about plugging the leakages and building systems that will militate against corruption.

He urged the government to share in citizens’ aspirations and give them cause to have confidence in the system.

Condemning the nation’s leadership cadre, IBB said his support for a “new breed leadership” derived from the understanding that it will show a marked departure from “recycled leadership” to creating new paradigms that will breathe fresh air into “our present polluted leadership actuality.”

Confronting the Buhari administration’s disposition towards the continued killings by persons suspected to be Fulani herdsmen in many states of the federation, the ex-military president said the “unchecked activities of the herdsmen have continued to raise doubt” about the capacity of the Federal Government to handle with dispatch “security concerns that continue to threaten our dear nation.”

He named such “security concerns” as including “suicide bombings, kidnappings, armed banditry, ethnic clashes and other divisive tendencies.”

“We need to bring different actors to the roundtable,” IBB counselled; warning that “the festering nature of this crisis is an inelegant testimony to the sharp divisions and polarizations that exist across the country.”

He lamented that while the Fulani herdsmen issue is not altogether a recent phenomenon, “the anger in the land is suggestive of the absence of mutual love and togetherness that once defined our nationality.”

He warned that if left unchecked, the killings portend “danger to our collective existence as one nation bound by common destiny; and may snowball into another internecine warfare that would not be good for nation-building.”

He urged the Federal Government to “reorient the minds of the herdsmen or gun-men to embrace ranching as a new and modern way to herd cattle;” and to also expand the capacity of the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Army, the Navy and Air Force to provide the necessary security for all.

Nailing the ruling All Progressives Congress “change” slogan, IBB said when the ruling party campaigned with the change mantra, he had thought it would device new methods, provoke new initiatives and proffer new ways to addressing some of the nation’s developmental problems.

“By now, in line with her manifesto, one would have thought that the APC will give fillip to the idea of devolution of powers and tinker with processes that would strengthen and reform the various sectors of the economy,” he noted; warning that devolution of power or restructuring is an idea whose time has come if Nigerians must be honest with one another.

“We need to critically address the issue and take informed positions based on the expectations of the people on how to make the union work better. Political parties should not exploit this as a decoy to woo voters because election time is here. We need to begin the process of restructuring both in the letter and spirit of it,” he said.

Reiterating the need for Buhari to step down after his tenure in 2019, IBB said the search for new breed leadership must start now as the nation prepares for 2019 election.

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