Former military president, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB), has confirmed that his earlier statement in which he was said to have advised Nigerians to endure with President Muhammadu Buhari until his tenure ends — but vote for a new generation of leaders in 2019 “still stands.”
The former dictator, who ruled Nigeria from 1985 to 1993, said this while speaking exclusively to ThisDay Newspaper.
Babangida’s avowal is coming on the back of the controversy that trailed the statement following another statement purportedly issued by him, in which he allegedly denied the earlier statement.
Babangida said the second statement was issued by friends and had nothing to do with him, but expressed concern that his initial statement issued by his media aide, Mr. Kassim Afegbua, had been misrepresented by the media.
According to him, what his statement titled, “Towards a National Rebirth,” emphasised was for a new breed of leadership to emerge through the electoral process, but was not intended to deny President Buhari his inalienable right to vote and be voted for in the 2019 elections.
He was emphatic that his statement did not counsel Buhari not to contest the 2019 elections as depicted by media houses in their headlines on Sunday.
His media aide, Afegbua, had also in an Interview with DailyTrust, insisted that the former military president approved the statement he issued, calling on Nigerians to vote out president Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Afegbua stated that IBB has not denied the statement.
“The statement is in order. IBB did not hold any press conference in Minna. It was overzealous people that issued that statement of his denial. I wouldn’t issue any statement without his approval. Go ahead with the statement. I have spoken with him and he said he has not recanted the statement.”
The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has declared Afegbua wanted over the statement he issued on behalf of IBB on Sunday.
He ordered the arrest of Afegbua for “making false statements, defamation of character, and for an act capable of instigating public disturbance,” the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood said in a statement on Monday night.
It read, “The IGP has ordered the arrest of Kashim Afegbua for making false statements, defamation of character and for an act capable of instigating public disturbance throughout the country.
“He is therefore declared wanted by the Nigeria Police Force and should report at the nearest police station anywhere he is in the country.”