Thursday, 19 August 2010

General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida set to run against President Goodluck Jonathan

Former military president of Nigeria General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has stated that he will definitely contest the 2011 presidential elections. In a press conference at his Minna (Niger State) home, he declared that he would indeed run and contest against President Goodluck Jonathan, if need be, though both men are members of the PDP.

Babangida branded the decision of the PDP's National Executive Council (NEC) on zoning as ambiguous and “intellectual dishonesty”. The PDP's NEC recently stated that it was not jettisoning its zoning policy but that the President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua/Jonathan ticket in 2007 was an inseparable, joint ticket; as President Yar'Adua is dead, President Jonathan could legitimately contest the presidential election on the basis of the joint ticket with the late president Yar'Adua.

Babangida, who did not outline what his policy objectives would be if he becomes president, admitted that policy-making was not his strongest point and he would engage a team of experts to formulate policies for him. Babangida stated that he had decided to run for president because he felt that Nigeria needed an experienced and tested leader with a rich knowledge of the socio-economic and political dynamics of Nigeria - a role he feels he fits into perfectly.

On his role in the annulment of the12th June 1993 elections - deemed to be the most free and fair elections conducted in Nigeria, and which were allegedly won by the late M.K.O Abiola - Babangida said that he has asked Nigerians to forgive him and his regime. He expressed his view that Nigerians, being a “Godly nation” which embraces forgiveness, will also forgive the annulment.

Many political observers believe that Babangida has a Herculean task in turning the tide of public opinion in his favour. Babangida's military administration is smeared with allegations of high-level corruption, treasury looting, human rights breaches and even murder. Babangida has been accused of complicity in the murder of outspoken journalist and editor of Newswatch Magazine, Dele Giwa, who was killed by a letter bomb in 1986.

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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