IBB wants MKO Abiola immortalised
Seventeen years after his government annulled the June 12, 1993 presiden-tial election adjudged the freest election ever conducted in this country and which late business tycoon, Chief Moshood Abiola was believed to have won, former President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida has said he would like the late politician immortalized by having a public institution named after him.
Babangida who spoke with journalists yesterday in Lagos said President Goodluck Jonathan’s acknowledgement of the role Abiola played in enthroning democracy in Nigeria was commendable, adding that the late presidential candidate could not be denied his place in the history of this country.
“I think it is good that at long last somebody is trying to acknowledge the efforts of Chief M. K. O Abiola. We cannot deny him the fact that he fought for democracy and I am glad that the government is accepting it. Also I want to see a situation whereby he will be immortalized as one who fought for democracy in this country.”
Babangida, clothed in flowing white agbada, arrived the presidential lounge of the Murtala Mohammed Airport in a chartered private aircraft with registration number N664AC at 9.55 am. He said he wanted to see an institution that would be an epitome of democracy in Nigeria named after Abiola “as this will be the only enduring legacy the country can give for his sacrifice”.
Asked his response to a call by former Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Alhaji Maitama Sule, for him and General Muhammed Buhari, also one time head of state to put aside their presidential ambition in 2011, the retired Army general said everyone was entitled to their opinion “as the country is a democratic entity with 150 million opinions.
“This is democracy .You may have 150 million opinions .I have my own opinion and he has his own, you cannot deny him the freedom to express his personal view”, Babangida said.
On his interest in the 2011 presidential race, Babangida simply said “the time has not come; when we get to the bridge we will cross it.”
Disappointed with politicians who jump from one political party to another, the former president said that he believed the country would fare better politically with fewer political parties. “I’m not a believer in 51 parties. The smaller the better for democracy, then everybody will have a place to be accommodated but you see, because there are so many little ones everybody moves towards the winning party. You find out that we are not going in any direction. I think it is better for this country to have a manageable number of parties, of parties, let’s 3, 4, or 5.”