Monday, 26 June 2017

Nigeria must not break up – IBB

A former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (retd), on Monday asked those advocating for secession or a breakup of the country to banish the thought.

He also cautioned against hate speeches and war drum beats.

Babangida said the “drums of war are easy to beat, but their rhythms are difficult to dance.”

He said there was nothing romantic about war because “war is bad, condemnable and must be avoided.”

He said the fact that Nigeria has not realized its potentials as a great nation was not enough reason for people to want to demolish its foundation.

The ex- military President said it was time to restructure the country with devolution of more powers to states.

He also said the nation was ripe for state police because policing has become sophisticated.

Babangida, who made his feelings known in a statement he personally signed, said the nation’s Civil War between 1967 and 1970 was preceded by similar hate speeches which the country had been witnessing in the past few weeks.

The former military ruler said he has to cry out because he is still nursing the pains of the injury he sustained during the Civil War.

He urged Nigerian media to exercise caution in its reportage of volatile comments.

He said: “Nigeria, my dear country, is not a stranger to crisis, nor is she immune to it. In a profound sense, she can be said to have been created out of crisis, a nation state that will continue to strive to subdue and transcend crises. In over a century of its formalized colonial architecture, Nigeria has grown and made remarkable progress in the midst of crises.

“The most tragic and horrendous episode in Nigeria’s history has been the 30 months Civil War of July 1967 to January 1970, in which many of our compatriots lost their lives. Indeed, many others also suffered terrible injuries of human and material dimensions.

“So, who really wants to go through the depth and dimensions of another Civil War in Nigeria again? Who does not know that that Civil War was preceded and started by intolerance and a series of hate pronouncements, hate speeches, hate conducts and actions that were inflicted upon one another by the citizens?

“Today, with a deep sense of nostalgia, I still carry within my body the pains of injury from the Civil War: there is nothing romantic about war; in any form, war is bad, condemnable and must be avoided.

“I need hardly say I am very worried by the current ongoing altercations and vituperations of hate across the country by individuals, well-known leaders, religious leaders, group of persons and organizations.

“We need to remind ourselves that conflicts are not evidently the stuff of politics and governance, particularly so of democracy, hence we must apply caution in our utterances, body language and news reportage.

“The management of conflicts is the acid test of maturity, of mutual livelihood and of democratic governance. We cannot and we must not allow the current hate atmosphere to continue to freely pollute our political landscape unchecked.

“Personally, I reject the proceedings of hate and their dissemination and urge my fellow citizens to strongly condemn the scourge and orgy of the current crisis which, in my view, is an outcome of vengeful appetites within the multiple contexts of our democratic governance and the profound inequalities that have distorted our social relations.

“Nonetheless, it is not the place of leaderships to fuel and hype conflicts nor should we allow losers and gainers of our governance regimes to make pronouncements and threats that exploit our ethnic, religious and geopolitical construct. Democracy, anywhere in the world, is a work in progress; and one that is subject to constant evolution and debate.”

He cautioned those calling for civil war to break Nigeria to desist from such a venture.

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