Nigeria’s former military president General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd.) has said that Nigerians are fed up with autocrats, ethnic champions, incompetent and visionless leaders.
He, therefore, called for the country to take the appropriate turn to reverse the situation by enthroning competent and patriotic leaders who are ready to make sacrifices today for the country to have a better future.
Babangida who received the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Iyorcha Ayu, at his uphill residence in Minna, yesterday, said the present generation must make sacrifices today for the sake of tomorrow
He said, “Your visit could hardly be more propitious coming at a time when our country is faced with multiple and complex challenges that have no easy solutions.”
The former Nigeria military leader said he was aware that these challenges are inherent, like democracy and development, as fields of contestation over advancing the public interests and keeping faith with the founding visions that inspired the founding fathers and Mothers who were courageously and stoutly determined to struggle against colonial rule.
Consequently, he declared that “to build a great federation, anchored on diversity in unity, for the sake of our founding fathers and unborn generations of Nigeria, we have no choice but to make the appropriate turn to salvage our dear country at the crossroads. For their tomorrow, we must give our today.
“I am conscious of the fact that movements and activities that surround both our desires to deepen leadership succession and regime change constitute a critical aspect of political life in democratic culture,” he added.
The challenges before PDP leaders, Babangida said, require not only their “republican spirit” but also the commitment of citizens as members of political parties to ensure peace and stability, adding that sovereignty belongs to citizens and, more importantly, governments should reflect their needs and desires.
Babangida told the PDP leaders that “as the guardrail of democracy, you need to be guided by the history of the country, our past, our present conditions, and an appropriate vision of a future for the millions of young people on our streets and the younger generations to follow.
“One major problem in our country is that when people complain about leadership being the problem and the solution, we often forget that the periods of congress and conventions are critical to political recruitment and influence the process of leadership succession,” he said.
He said attention should be paid more to the prevailing political norms of choice, the essence of transparency in electoral processes, either issue-based or values. Determined, Leadership of political parties must be decisive in throwing up dynamic, digital age and resourceful compatriot that possess capacity, energy and patriotic zeal.
“Nigeria can no longer afford avoidance of a clear ideology and a guiding philosophy that must be presented to our citizens so that as enlightened citizens, they become conscious of the fact that governance belongs to them and public policies should be guided by their needs and desires.
“Put differently, political offices must no longer be seen as hereditary titles or divisible benefits. Furthermore, leadership should be occupied by competent citizens, individuals with great vision and mission to reposition unite, and develop Nigeria. Today, Nigerians have been complaining about autocrats, mediocre, ethnic champions,’ incompetent and visionless actors,” he said.
Babangida said PDP needed guiding ideas on personal morality and a sense of responsibility as well as honesty of public servants and their commitment to the public good.
“In our condition today, market solutions alone are not sufficient and rules are not enough to ensure compliance with government rules. You will need to have a unique opportunity to ensure the rise of genuine democrats, those who will truly connect the government and the governed and banish sycophancy, handle national security with more seriousness in all its ramifications, properly earn and retain legitimacy, and, above all, bring citizens back from woes and wailing and lead Nigeria to the path of nationhood and development,” he told PDP leaders.
Babangida posited that turning Nigeria is a great task but it can be done, saying what it requires are self-denial, self-sacrifice and rededication to Nigeria.
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