2011: IBB Confirms Interest in Presidency

THISDAY Newspaper- Adibe Emenyonu

Former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, yesterday in Benin City, Edo State, confirmed he would run for the office of president in next year’s general election.
He made the declaration at the Benin Airport en route Asaba, Delta State to commission the Mariam Babangida dual carriage way, Women Development Centre and attend a lecture organized in honour of his late wife, Maryam.
Babangida told reporters that speculations about his presidential ambition were true when he said in an answer to a question that: “…the speculation is correct”.

He also said: “I am going to Delta State because of the special love I have for it and courtesy of the Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan”.
The former military president, who ruled Nigeria from August 27, 1985 through August 27, 1993, had told Nigerians during the 54th birthday of Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniels, that he was still consulting with his friends and allies on whether he would contest the 2011 presidential election.

As part of the consultation he said he was holding with his friends, he met recently with former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
While in Asaba, Babangida told his audience at the Palace of the Asagba of Asaba, Prof. Chike Edozien, that Nigerians have the political will, economic potentials and entrepreneurial capabilities to solve its numerous socio-economic and political problems.

He was at the palace for the conferment of a chieftaincy title Dike-Doziani on him by the Asagba after he had performed the foundation stone laying ceremony of ‘Maryam Babangida Women Development Center’ in honour of his late wife.
Babangida , who arrived Asaba, at about 1:30p.m in company with his children, the Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Babangida Aliu and top government functionaries of Niger State as well as supporters, called on Nigerians to join hands “ to restore the country’s greatness.”
IBB who spoke as he was on the soap box seeking votes said, “It is not an accident that I have been identified with the development process of our country, the engagement is based on the combination of factors, including political will, personal choice, determination, mission , and above all, ambition for a better and productive Nigeria.

“For me to be an African and Nigerian, I will be the first to humbly acknowledge the pitfalls, difficulties and challenges with which Nigeria has had to contend in the conduct and of course in its public affairs and also equally and critically, questions of contribution to national development about our future greatness.
“Nigerians have the entrepreneurial spirit and the essential national values to restore our greatness, we are all involved in that restoration, Nigeria is nothing without such national efforts, this event symbolises and demonstrates that we as Nigerians do respect such values, it confirms the sanctity of our journey to our greatness, its on the note of this optimism, that I once again, respect the honours done me today in Delta State

“As you may recall, my own life and experience is only one of the numerous experiences of many Nigerians, who are married across the cultural and religious divides of our beloved country. This group found love in wedlock and lived in that relationship in a style that is full of blitz, joy and God’s blessing.
“My experience as one of those social and cultural bridges, my marital relation made me a Nigerian , and the history and logic of my family as well as my career development, re-inforced my Nigerianess.

“The consequence of the partnership opened the way to my heart to reach to all the nationalities, communities and culture of our great nation. I am in Asaba, in Delta State to acknowledge the goodness being bestowed on my late wife, she remains and will always remain part of my memories and durable spirit.
“The foundation stone which is being laid today will not only grow and flourish but will become an institution that symbolises the vitality and essence of womanhood and the development of our country,” he said.

The event, which literally turned into a mini-political gathering, also witnessed a post-humous conferment of Ochiligwe-Nneoha chieftancy title on late Maryam Babangida by the Asagba of Asaba.
Also speaking with newsmen at the Benin Airport, Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliu, who was also on his way to Asaba, disclosed that governors of the 36 states were very much interested in the implementation of the Electoral Reforms as this would usher in a new lease of life in the country’s electoral system.
“The concern of every Nigerian is an electoral reform that will lead to a credible and legitimate election that will be accepted by all. We want leaders who will emerge to be acceptable to Nigerians. We don’t want people who will doubt whether they are actual leaders,” he said.


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