PDP Pays Visit To Founding Father, IBB

In less than three weeks after ex-military ruler Ibrahim Babangida ‘s controversial statement vilifying President Muhammadu Buhari, his Minna hill top home became haven to his party’s henchmen.

The members of the National Working Committee of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) visited Babandiga, one of the founding fathers of the party.

The National Chairman of the party, Mr Uche Secondus, led the committee on the courtesy visit to the former military president on Saturday.

Babangida, a retired Nigerian Army General, who was President of Nigeria from 27 August 1985 to 26 August 1993, also welcomed the party leaders.

Meanwhile, as Babangida was receiving the PDP leaders, Chief John Oyegun, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Saturday received 34,826 members of PDP in Niger, who defected.

Among the defectors are the state Deputy Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Aminu Yusuf, former Speaker of the state Assembly, Alhaji Adamu Usman, a former Attorney General, Alhaji Abdullahi Wuse among others.

Oyegun said in Minna at a rally to receive the defectors that Nigerians must shun sentiment and support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to set the nation on a new path of growth and progress.

He said that the country require “people of principle’’ to help fight for the success of the programmes of the APC.

“APC needs sincere soldiers as leaders, people who are ready to join the fight, because God entrusted Buhari to us to salvage the nation and its economy,” he said.

He therefore urged the new APC members to support President Buhari in the efforts to restore the economy through the revitalisation of agriculture and solid minerals sectors.

Oyegun noted that already, government support to agriculture had helped to drastically bring down rice importation.

The APC national chairman stressed that the Buhari administration had also raised power generation to 7,000 megawatts and that the figure would go up by 50 percent after the completion of the Mambila hydro power project.

National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun
National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun: Wants discipline in the party
He noted that the increase in power supply would help boost industrialisation and job creation in the country.

Alhaji Aminu Yusuf, PDP state Deputy Chairman, said they joined the APC to assist in developing the state.

“By the time elections are over, you don’t talk about parties anymore, instead you talk about development of the state.

“The party approached me to come and join them and assist the government build the state. We are coming with our skills and experience to assist the government in developing the state,” he said.

Obasanjo, Babangida, Atiku, And Buhari: A Brand In Crisis By Bayo Oluwasanmi

Nigeria’s contemporary political history is as fresh as the morning newspapers. Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida, and Muhammadu Buhari the erstwhile military dictators and civilian presidents and ex- VP Abubakar Atiku, are responsible for the chronic instability of our past. As dictators at different times in our political experiment, they alternated our civilian rule between democracy and dictatorship, and between different forms of pseudo-democratic rule. They created new political and economic uncertainties from which we’re yet to recover.

These old authoritarian and totalitarian rulers prefer a weak, unstable, dilute, democracy full of inadequacies. Politically, Obasanjo, Atiku, Babangida, and Buhari belong to the dead, old undemocratic system of the past. We must avoid and resist them like a dissident stream by any means necessary. Today, our young men and women grapple with serious social, and economic problems caused by the old brigade of these military rulers. Our youths are systematically excluded from policy decisions. They failed to marshal the energy, creativity, and talents of our youths to address multiple inequalities and discrimination they face.

The policies pursued by the governments of Obasanjo, Atiku, and Babangida, enabled them to amass outrageously large portion of Nigeria’s wealth. The hands of Buhari’s inner circle of Abba Kyari, Mamman Daura, and Tukur Buratai are stained with corruption. The result of large-scale corruption and unsolved socioeconomic problems produced a difficult present and uncertain future for our youths. Despite the energy, creativity, resourcefulness, and passion of our youths, they are largely excluded from political processes, economic projects and programs. They continued to be subject to age-based systems of authority. Our youths are the motor of tomorrow’s economic takeoff. Obasanjo, Babangida, Atiku, and Buhari: a brand in crisis.

This old brand created poverty and economic inequalities and insecurities which in turn creates “traps of disadvantage” which push our poor youths and the most marginalized others to the bottom and keep them there for ever. Our youths are denied the forums and opportunities for political participation and influence. They are woefully underrepresented in influential government positions and in hierarchical systems that favor the old rulers.

The old hypocrites keep saying “our youths are the leaders of tomorrow.” But tomorrow is never now. It’s time that our youths turn tomorrow into today. Old men only dream dreams, but young men see visions. There’s a difference between dream and vision. A dream is only what could be. Vision is what would be. Consider: Aguiyi Ironsi was 42 when he became head of state. Yakubu Gowon was 32 when he became head of state. Murtala Muhammed was 37 when he became head of state. Obasanjo was 39, Babangida was 44, and Buhari was 41 when they became heads of state. Audu Ogbe was 35 when he served as minister for communications. At 70, he’s the minister of agriculture. These people have consumed both the future of Nigeria and our youths. There must be an end to the insanity.

This is what goes on in civilized democracies: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is 45, France President Emmanuel Macron is 40, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is 37, Estonia Prime Minister Juri Ratas is 39, and Liberia President is 51. Nigeria is behind human race.

2019 will be a watershed moment for Nigerian youths. The youths have been uniquely disadvantaged by the economy. They are the impoverished generation. The youths have come to realize that Nigeria needs economic, social, and political rebirth to pull them out of the wells of poverty and unemployment. The old politicians are too backward, primitive, greedy, and wicked. They lack the creativity, the energy, the knowledge, and the exposure to make Nigeria work for Nigerians especially the youths. The youths are the revolutionaries for our urgent socioeconomic and political renaissance.

For 2019 presidential elections, it’s going to be a new democracy where our youths will take over the reins of government. These old leaders of discredited undemocratic regimes have no place, no role in 2019 democratic Nigeria. They are not needed. They are not wanted. They are expired liabilities. They need not apply!

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2019: Babangida’s Spokesman Sues Police, Media Houses For N1 Billion

Kassim Afegbua, the media adviser to ex-Nigerian leader, Ibrahim Babangida, who was declared wanted by the police, has sued for fundamental rights enforcement.

Mr. Afegbua is also requesting N1 billion in damages from the police, its spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, and two media houses, according to court filings seen by PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Afegbua’s legal representative, Kayode Ajulo, filed the suit at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court Tuesday afternoon.

The reliefs sought include an immediate end to the alleged harassment being meted against him by the police.

Mr. Ajulo joined the National Television Authority and Channels Television in the lawsuit for airing claims that Mr. Afegbua was a wanted man.

Mr. Afegbua released the Sunday statement in which Mr. Babangida, a former head of state, complained about President Muhammadu Buhari’s shortcomings and advised Nigerians on the path to the future.

Hours after the statement was released, a counter press release emerged that purportedly had Mr. Babangida’s approval.

Mr. Babangida later said he authorised the statement distributed by Mr. Afegbua.

The development immediately threw the public into confusion, and reports surfaced Sunday night that police were looking for Mr. Afegbua.

What Exactly Is Babangida Saying? By Reuben Abati 

The drama, the controversy, the confusion, the double entendre, attended by seeming cowardice, that grew around a statement, perhaps the statements, purportedly issued by former military President Ibrahim Babangida on Sunday, February 4, is absolutely unnecessary, unfortunate and utterly avoidable. A statesman, the new role in which President Babangida has since found himself, is a father of the nation –more or less, that is; the statesman’s role in the retirement corridors of power is to speak truth to power, as a guide, as a conscience of the nation, as role model and as a highly-placed influencer. Being a statesman thus comes with responsibilities – the responsibility to speak with clarity and conviction is one of these. With the confusion over what President Babangida said or did not say about the state of the nation and the state of health of our democracy, it is now obvious that he still has a lot to learn, despite his experience and stature.


Coming after the impactful and unambiguous intervention by the Ota farmer, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, calling for a change of direction and a reaffirmation of people power in Nigerian politics, Babangida’s follow-up intervention, which could have strengthened an emerging symphony of public thought, has now ended up as mere spittle. Babangida must take responsibility for what clearly comes across to me, as a lack of coherence and organization in the management of his office after office. Statesmen should not speak with both sides of the mouth.  They should not play games with their views. They must not toy with public emotions. I don’t know what to make right now, of what Babangida said or didn’t say about our country and our nation.  I am sure there are many others who are just as bewildered, and who feel short-changed and are asking: What exactly is Babangida saying?


On Sunday, February 4, when the news hit the airwaves that President Babangida had also issued a statement on the state of the nation under President Muhammadu Buhari, there was a buzz, a wave of excitement across the country. People kept asking: after Babangida, who else is going to stand up and speak? Will T. Y. Danjuma say something too? When are we going to hear from Abdusalami Abubakar, the peace-maker?  And when will the prayer warrior-statesman, Yakubu Gowon, also say something to Nigerians? Shehu Shagari. Ernest Shonekan. Nigerians believe that there is a special category of Nigerians, better known as “Owners of Nigeria”, who at every point determine the country’s fortunes or direction.


It is an elite, bourgeois class of decision-makers whose privileges and influence are considered primary and even superior to democracy. It is strange that a people would admit this to be given and inevitable, under a democratic dispensation, but the truth is that Africans even when they claim to be democratic, nurse in their subconscious a primordial subservience to the potency of divine or stolen privileges and status. The subsistence and sustainability of this mentality poses a great threat to the democratic process in Africa. So, when Babangida issued a statement, it was as if another god had spoken.  Babangida was labelled the “Prince of the Niger” by his biographers. The Prince spoke on Sunday, February 4, and all the newsrooms jumped into action. Whatever he said should ordinarily be of interest to the public. It would sell the newspapers and the websites. More importantly, it will generate public interest and further stimulate public debate. And what did he talk about? He talked about the state of the nation- the hottest topic in Nigeria at the moment, on the lips of every one, earlier put together so eloquently by Olusegun Obasanjo.


I was preparing for the February 4 edition of ThisDay Live, a Sunday Talk Show I have been anchoring on Arise News TV, since August 2017 when the statement was released. It sounded like a bombshell. I immediately asked the Executive Editor of ThisDay Live, to restructure our programme content for the day and move Babangida’s statement to the top. Now said to have been authored by or not by Ibrahim Babangida or by his spokesperson, Kassim Afegbua, the now controversial statement to use that famous phrase, “spoke truth to power”.  It was a well-calibrated, well-timed statement, which took the content of Obasanjo’s earlier statement several steps further.  It made the point that Nigeria is at a crossroads, certainly adrift and that it needed to be rescued by the younger generation – what he called “a digital leadership”, as opposed to “analogue leadership.”  This was a brilliant point at a time when Nigerians were asking for a “Not-too-young-to-run”, “third-force”, alternative movement.


This Babangida statement didn’t ask Buhari not to run, I mean not so expressly, but it said we should move beyond the crossroads by voting for leadership that is inclusive, consultative, interactive, accountable, competitive and competent. Whereas Obasanjo was direct, this Babangida statement was full of innuendo and sarcasm. He went a step further by raising issues such as campaign finance, community policing and new paradigms.  Like Obasanjo, he stressed the need to rebrand Nigeria and rebrand politics, the power of the vote, and the value of security and inclusivity. This was an explosive, brilliant statement that was reflective of a certain, growing level of consensus in Nigerian politics and society. We discussed the statement on the programme and promised a follow-up.


But we then stepped out of the studio only to hear that President Babangida had disowned this insightful statement. He was misquoted. He didn’t say so. The statement was authored, we learnt, by Kassim Afegbua – Babangida’s spokesman – who had gone to town without his principal’s approval. The confusion threw the newsrooms into disarray. Journalists were even accused of misrepresenting the former military President. In due course, a second statement, presented as personally signed by Babangida hit the airwaves. This second statement was wishy-washy, written in barely readable prose, cowardly in every material particular, and I dare say, a PR disaster.  So poor in conception and execution was this second statement that the media refused to withdraw the first statement, instead they chose to talk about the drama, the confusion, the controversy over Babangida’s statement. The confusion became the story. The refutation was downplayed.


No statesman should put himself in that kind of ridiculous situation. When he speaks again, nobody will take him seriously, because they would not know if the voice is Jacob’s or Esau’s.  Before dusk, it was further reported that the Inspector-General of Police had declared Kassim Afegbua wanted. Afegbua, I salute his courage, stood his ground by insisting that the first statement by Babangida was authentic and that it had been issued under his imprimatur, and that it represents his true and correct position on the state of the nation. I don’t know what IGP Ibrahim Idris’s problem is. He probably needs a refresher course on how to be an Inspector General of Police.


As at the time of this writing, he has not denied that he wants Afegbua arrested. But for what really? – For issuing a statement on behalf of his principal, or for expressing an opinion? If Babangida feels he has been impersonated, or misrepresented, it would be his duty, not that of the police to say so and to press charges or sack Afegbua. If Babangida disowns the statement, Kassim Afegbua can claim ownership and excuse Babangida, since in any case there is nothing in the statement that is of any threat to either public peace or national security. To ask Buhari not to run, or Nigerians not to vote for him is a matter of free expression, not a crime against the state. I’ll return to this anon.


As the drama unfolded, ThisDay newspaper on Monday, February 5, 2018 published a story titled “IBB speaks to THISDAY, affirms statement, says Nigeria needs new breed of leaders”.  It is curious that only ThisDay newspaper had such a story. Apparently, it didn’t occur to other media houses to check with Babangida or they had no access to him, or they lacked the capacity to dig beyond the confusion. Nonetheless, the ThisDay story is ineffectual. It doesn’t serve the purpose of the intended damage control.  President Babangida’s biographers further described him, in his time, as the Machiavellian Prince of Nigerian politics. His critics labelled him the Maradona.


Years after leaving office, he has had enough time to make up his mind who he wants to be.  He cannot oscillate between being the Prince of the Machiavelli and at the same time, the dribbler of the Maradona and still claim to be a statesman. Nigerians are tired of being dribbled.


It is therefore for this reason that he owes us a second or third statement, stating clearly, where he stands in the matter of Nigeria at this moment. We are back as Obasanjo forcefully argues, at that other moment in 1999, when it was incorrect to sit on the fence.  Without that clarity, it would have been better for Babangida to keep quiet, rather than to open his mouth and cause confusion as to what exactly he is saying.


I modify that. The onus is on President Babangida to choose one out of the two statements that have been issued in his name. It is possible that he has more than one spokesperson, working at cross-purposes or there are persons around him who are busy exploiting the fact of proximity. In this latter group, you would find those I once referred to as the na-my-brother-dey-there-crowd, you can add to that, the na-my-daddy-dey-there, na-my-husband-dey-there, na-my-oga-dey-there crowd who brazenly act on behalf of the man of power, exploiting ethnic and filial connections and insisting on a self-ascribed immunity for wrong-doing. No statesman should allow such confusion around him. When Obasanjo spoke, pamphlets of his full statement were on sale across Nigeria the following morning. Babangida has spoken but the pamphleteers have not produced copies of his statement because nobody is exactly sure of what has been said.  Whatever message he is trying to pass across is not clear.


I salute Kassim Afegbua once more. His current travail projects the plight of spokespersons, not just in Nigeria but all over the world. The job of a spokesperson is one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult in the corridors of power. Political leaders crave love; they want to be seen to be wise and knowledgeable. But when things go wrong, they don’t hesitate to throw their spokespersons under the bus. Often, they feel persons from their clan or faith, or background can better represent them. However, out of office, a political leader or statesman does not necessarily have to speak through a spokesperson. If he is big enough and his message is big enough, he should be able to speak with his own voice and in his own voice. In this instance, only President Babangida can shed light on the conundrum: Who has spoken? Babangida or Afegbua? But beyond that, the first message remains relevant and it is utterly irresponsible if indeed the police have launched a manhunt on the basis of the expression of an opinion.


This is increasingly a growing trend in this country today.  It is unfortunate. It is sad. At the end of a National Security Council meeting the other day, a Federal Minister, who seems to enjoy pooping from the mouth, announced that the security agencies had been instructed to arrest any notable Nigerian who uses the social media in particular for hate speech. Only a court of law can legitimately define what constitutes hate speech. And do ordinary Nigerians have the right to hate speech, a right that may not be available to notable Nigerians? And who determines who qualifies as a notable Nigerian?  And now on the basis of a statement on the state of the nation and a little drama around that, the Inspector General of Police, with no denial from him or his agents, 48 hours later, has declared a manhunt. We all have a duty to defend the freedom of speech and the right of every Nigerian to think freely and differ.


Curiously, Kassim Afegbua, the same man whose right to work and speak we are defending, has now said the news of the purported manhunt for him is a “cooked up story.” He should make this matter easy by reporting at the nearest police station! His principal will have to take a clear stand and put an end to the dribble. Being a statesman requires the ability to stand by one’s convictions and place national interest above personal interest and personal security. By the same token, we expect more statesmen to speak up. When will Gowon, Shagari, Shonekan, Abdusalami Abubakar, Jonathan and Danjuma speak up? Their silence is not golden in this instance. It amounts to an abdication of responsibility. For a country that has done so much for them, they cannot afford to sit on the fence.

My Friends Issued Statement Countering My Position, I Insist Buhari Must Go In 2019 – Babangida

Former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has again affirmed the validity of the first statement he issued on Sunday that President Muhammadu Buhari should not seek reelection in 2019 but allow a younger element to take over the presidency.

There had been controversy when after a few hours the statement was issued, another one went into circulation without the hardline position Babangida took in the initial one.

But THISDAY is reporting that Babangida said it was his friends who issued the second statement on his behalf.

The former maximum ruler’s spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, had given this indication on Sunday when he appeared on a Channels Television programme.

Afegbua said he wrote the statement with and on the instruction of Babangida.

He said he could not have goofed on a job he has been doing for 14 years.

THISDAY quoted Babangida as having told it: “Original statement still stands.”

Atiku, IBB In Closed Door Meeting

Former President Abubakar Atiku is in Minna the Niger State Capital where he is meeting with former military president Ibrahim Babangida.

He was received at the Minna Airport by the Deputy Governor of Niger State, Ahmed Ketso, the Head of Service, Yabagi Sule and the State PDP Chairman, Barrister Tanko Beji and other party members.

Also on ground to recieve him was a crowd of supporters.

He arrived the Uphill residence of the former military leader at about 12:40 PM and is currently holding a meeting with General Babangida.

While the purpose of Atiku’s visit is not yet clear, there are indications that it may not be unconnected with his political ambition ahead of the National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party scheduled for December 9.

Babangida Urges Political Party to Preach Peace, Unity

Former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, has advised the leaders of the newly-registered political party, Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) to use the party’s platform to preach unity and peace.

Babangida gave the advice when he received APDA delegation led by its National Chairman, Malam Mohhammed Shitu, who paid him a courtesy visit on Saturday at his Minna residence.

A statement signed by Mr Oluwatosin Johnson, Special Adviser to Shitu, quoted the former president as saying that the message of peace was important at this trying moment in the country.

“Endeavour to use the party’s platform to preach peace and unity in Nigeria. The country is in a trying moment and what we need is message of peace.

“You must promote the peace and unity of the country,’’ Babangida said.

He congratulated the newly-registered party with a promise to be available for advice and guidance where and when necessary.

Shitu said the purpose of the visit was to brief the former Head of State on the new political party and its manifestos.

He said part of APDA’s cardinal point was to restructure Nigeria when it captures power in 2019 as well as give the youth a sense of belonging in the Nigeria project.

The chairman presented the certificate of registration of the party to the former president.