Former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida, said the time to restructure Nigeria has come. Babangida stated this position as he launched an appeal to Nigerians to stop further campaign of hate the like of which he said led to the 30 month civil war.
Noting his own historic linkages across the various divides in the country, the former Military President said that there was little discord among Nigerians of different social classes as he urged Nigerians to synergise their different potentials towards building a great nation.
Babangida called for the devolution of more powers from the federal level to the states even amidst urging Nigerians to embrace the creation of state police. He said the fear of state governors using state police to run amok was not as strong as the greater benefit that creating state police would do for the nation.
While passionately appealing to leaders of the different divides in the country to show more maturity by reining in the younger elements, Babangida observed that war is not a joke anyone should toy with.
“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 formalised 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 month 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 on-going altercations and vituperations of hate across the country by individuals, well-known leaders, religious leaders, group of persons and organisations.
“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, Babangida said among other things.