Real reason military won’t overthrow any Nigerian govt again – Babangida

Ibrahim Babangida, a former Nigerian military President, says he is confident that the military will not interfere again, potentially stifling democracy in the country.

Following independence, Nigeria experienced many military invasions into its politics, with men in uniform leading the country for longer periods of time than civilians until 1999. Babangida was a military leader who ruled the country for eight years, from 1985 to 1993.

In an interview with Channels Television’s Inside Sources, the former military leader stated that military interference robbed Nigeria of true federalism, adding that the era of military involvement in politics has come to an end because Nigerians have become more interested in becoming a truly democratic nation.

“I think that is (failure to achieve true federalism) one of the effects of the aberration that the military regime, it countered the democratic process.

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“Such things happen, but I believe it will not happen again because Nigerians are becoming more interested in becoming a truly democratic nation in Africa and such thing, I don’t think it will happen,” Babangida said.

He, however, said that as a military leader, he freed the economy by allowing the private sector to be the hub of economy of the country.

Babaginda also added his voice to the call for restructuring, saying that time has come for Nigeria give more powers to the states.

“I believe in restructuring, devolution of powers to the states to give the more powers and that means you are going to give them more resources to run their own affairs so that we run a federal government the way federation is run all over the world,” he said.

Ending Japa syndrome
The mass immigration of Nigerians to other countries causing a lot of brain drain, the former military leader has suggested how the Nigerian government could end the trend.

According to him, creating an enabling environment that can motivate the citizens to enjoy working for their country the way they enjoy working for other countries. This, he said, will see Nigerians choose to remain in their country rather than going to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

“I think the environment should be created in such a way that people will be motivated to work for the country. So, I share the view very much that we made names in a lot countries, US, UK; Nigerians are doing very well in all professions.

“Why not do the same here in our own country? So we have to create an environment that is suitable for this sort of service that Nigerians have to give to their own country, I think it is possible.”

Nigerians Will Reject One Party State

Babangida also allayed fears that Nigeria may be heading to a one party state, saying that Nigerians will not allow that to happen.

“I have been in a military regime and the Nigerians I know won’t allow a one-party state. I have been a military man and I know dictatorship can’t survive in a civil society.

“The Nigerians I know will not allow it; they will talk you out of it. You can say okay, I don’t want and forget about it,” the ex-military leader said.

He advocated for a two-party state as that would save Nigeria a lot of funds and problems associated with a multi-party state.

Babangida equally suggested that in additional to two major political parties, independent candidates could also be allowed to contest for political offices.

“One can contest as an independent candidate if the person is strong enough to get supporters,” he said.

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