Interim govt: I’m not involved – IBB

Former military presi­dent, General Ibra­him Babangida, has dissociated himself from the alleged plan to es­tablish an interim govern­ment in the country.

He also denied having a tweeter account, saying com­ments or statement credited to him in his alleged tweeter handle was false.

In a statement issued yes­terday, Babangida said al­though he instituted an interim government in 1993, in order to keep to the promise of leav­ing office, he is “not in any way connected with alleged ‘plans’ to encourage, promote, orchestrate or moot, the idea of an interim government or whatever ‘contraption’ so called.”

Clarifying his connection with interim government, Babangida said: “When we introduced the idea of an ‘in­terim government’ during our time as a military government, we had in mind to enthrone a democratic government in the shortest possible time in sync with the agitations of the people, after the inconclusive elections of 1993. That was a stop-gap measure because we were determined to quit office at the set date of August 27, 1993.”

He stated that 24 years after leaving office, he was con­vinced that his establishment of interim government in 1993 “was auspicious enough to re­assure our people that we were ready to leave office and keep the country going.”

The former head of state, however, said the 1993 situa­tion is different from what is obtainable today.

“Suffice it to say that the circumstances we found our­selves in 1993 are totally dif­ferent from what obtains today in our democratic journey as a nation with flourishing oppor­tunities,” he stated.

According to Babangida, he could not have had anything to do with alleged plot for in­terim government because he had announced his exit from partisan politics in 2011, as he “wouldn’t want to be ordered around in any way or form as seeking public office in what­ever guise.”

On the coming general elec­tions, he stated that the Chair­man of the Independent Na­tional Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega and INEC personnel should “be encouraged, motivated, animated and commended for the sheer courage and de­termination they have shown thus far in their preparations for the March 28 and April 11 elections,” as, according to him, “they have demonstrated their sense of patriotism in a manner that underscores their readiness for the elections and love for country.”

The former military presi­dent said rather than condem­nation, Jega and INEC staff “deserve our commendation. They need to be encouraged to deliver on their statutory ob­ligation to the Nigerian state. I have no doubt in my mind, therefore, to state unequivo­cally, that elections will hold on the appointed dates in line with the unflinching assuranc­es from INEC. Those mooting the idea of an interim govern­ment and trying to drag my name into it should please look elsewhere. I shared some of these thoughts with my guest, former President of South Af­rica, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, in my Minna home a couple of days back and we both stressed the all-important role of Nigeria in the continent and the need for credible elections at those appointed dates. We cannot afford not to get our elections right this time round.”

He commended the military for the renewed onslaught on insurgents, saying: “Our secu­rity agencies also deserve our commendation especially with the successes already recorded in the fight against the Boko Haram. This is the real Nigeria Army of my expectation. I am not only proud of the military uniform; I am also betrothed to it. It is a symbolic and very unique institution that nur­tured me on how to dominate my environment. Whether retired or serving military of­ficers, we all share common professional affinity and col­legiate loyalty. The unity of the country is paramount in our hearts and our sense of loyalty to the Nigerian state is unequivocal. I commend my colleagues in uniform, both senior and junior officers, for the sheer determination they have shown in combating the Boko Haram menace and pre­paring the ground for credible elections.

He advised political parties to conduct themselves within the ambit of the law and to educate their members and the electorate on how to make the forthcoming elections more credible than previous ones.

On the use of card readers, he said: “We must appreci­ate the creativity and innova­tion of the card reader, which INEC has introduced to make for better election credibility and transparency. In a digital world where almost every­thing is driven by technology, the offer of the card reader is a welcome development.”

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