Photo: This Day
Former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida.
By Ahmed Tahir Ajobe
Minna — Former military President General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida yesterday said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has a military wing, which membership comprises of top Generals.
He said membership of the party’s military wing included himself, Gen Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd), Lt. General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, and General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau (rtd), among others.
Speaking while receiving the report of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi committee on “Strategy and Inter-party Affairs” led by Professor Jerry Gana at his uphill residence, Minna, Niger State, IBB declared, “We are the military wing of the PDP; we took a lot of interest in the PDP.” Continued from page 1
The former military president who likened the party at the formative stage to the Irish Republican Army said members of the wing took a special interest in the affairs of the PDP.
“I termed us IRA military wing of PDP; I thank God we came up with the concept that PDP should rule for 60 years”, he noted.
General Babangida also restated his belief that a two party system of government was still the best option for Nigeria, stressing that it provided a choice for the people.
The former military leader has for a long time not spoken publicly on the affairs of his party which has been hit by divisions since it lost power to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015.
The PDP has been embroiled in court cases over the chairmanship of the party, with the Appeal Court penultimate week ruling in favour of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, a decision the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction has vowed to challenge at the Supreme Court.
In February, Senator Sheriff met with IBB behind closed doors at his residence, following which he told journalists that he had briefed the former ruler “on the activities of the party and what we intend to do and how we are going to put the party back to shape; to call back those aggrieved, we are calling back the family to be united.”
Reports last week, showed a new twist in the crisis affecting the party as certain individuals with suspected links to the Makarfi-led faction applied to register a new party, called Advanced PDP with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Makarfi has, however, denied any links to the bid.
Babangida said Saturday that he believed if the party put its house in order, it could rule Nigeria for 60 years, while expressing optimism that it would get out of its present crisis stronger.
The former military president also said the PDP was the only party which acceptability cut across all divides, even as its impact was felt across the country.
Earlier, Professor Jerry Gana said the committee was out to finding solutions to the crisis that tended to polarize the party and re-strategize and remobilize it to recapture power from the ruling APC.
Professor Gana, who claimed the APC-led government had failed the Nigeria masses said the PDP “is poised to take over government from those who do not have a clue about how to govern the nation.”
Gana was accompanied by Ambassador Aminu Wali, Chief Raymond Dopesi, Chief Tom Ikimi, Engineer Jide Adeniji, Alhaji Mohammed Imam, Honorable Emeka Ihedioha, Professor Rufai Alkali, Abubakar Tanko, former Governor Babangida Aliyu and executives of the PDP in Niger State PDP.
The committee inaugurated on November 10, last year, in the report provided guidelines for the primaries as well as regulations for improved indirect system in case the party was forced by circumstances to adopt that system.