By Laleye Dipo
Former military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd), has for the first time come out to corroborate the statement issued by his spokesman, Mr. Kassim Afegbua, which pitted him with the police high command in the country.
Babangida in Minna yesterday evening insisted that a new generation of political leaders should take over from the present crop of politicians holding sway in the country.
The old generation of politicians, Babangida said, have overstayed in the corridors of power and should pave the way for the younger ones to steer the ship of the state aright.
He spoke when he received the leadership of a new political movement, New Nigeria, led by Mr. Moses Siloko Siasia at his Hilltop residence in Minna, the Niger State capital.
According to a report, the former military president said he and other like-minds proposed as far back as 1989 the possibility of handing over the country’s leadership to younger people who had the passion and zeal to propel it on the path of development and growth but the older generation was recalcitrant then.
He added that history had shown that “a nation’s development fulcrum progresses better in the hands of younger generation,” which he said: “Is more adventurous and full of fresh ideas.”
Giving the example of former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), who ruled the country at 31, Babangida said: “Gowon did well in keeping the country together and developing its infrastructure some of which are visible till date. Some of us assumed leadership at a very young age
“The older generation must give way for the new one. We have become analogue but this is a digital age; so the young people should be supported to use their digital knowledge to move the country forward.”
The former military president said he was fascinated when the Not-Too-Young-to-Rule Bill was presented on the floor of the House of Representatives and had followed the ensuing debate since then, adding that “some of us believed in that aspiration and would support its realisation.”
Babangida did not however say President Muhammadu Buhari should contest the 2019 election or not.
The leader of the delegation and Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) candidate in the last governorship election in Bayelsa State, said the group was in Minna to consult and seek the blessing of the former leader for a new Nigeria and a new ideology ahead of 2019.
Siasia noted that the youths had decided to take their destinies in their hands because the old generation had failed the country.
“The meeting was fruitful and impactful. We are elated that the former military president is supporting us. By today, we are moving to Otta to consult with former President Olusegun Obasanjo after which we will pay similar visit to former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd), for their support,” he said.
He said the group would be fielding candidates for various positions including that of the president in the 2019 elections on a different political platform even as he urged youths across all divides to join the struggle for the birth of a new Nigeria of their dream.