Former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (Rtd), says anyone who is convinced that Nigeria should break up to advance some kind of development in the regions, is an enemy of the state.
Better known by his initials, IBB who ruled Nigeria from 1985 to 1993 in the days when coups were quite popular and common, says no soldier will allow himself to be used to overthrow a democratically elected government in 21st century Nigeria.
“I can tell you now that only a stupid soldier will think of a coup d’état because this is outside their head. It is no longer in their psyche, it is no longer acceptable in Africa and in the world generally, so he is intelligent enough to know that if he stages a coup, the country will be ostracized in the world community of nations. There can be an uprising in your own country, so it’s no longer fashionable,” the former dictator said during an interview with ChannelsTV.
IBB also gave his thoughts on the kind of leadership Nigeria needs at the moment and in the future.
He said, “The whole thing depends on the leadership selection; one of the things I would have loved to see is if you want to pick a leader, you should be able to assess his thoughts about the country, the unity, he will not jeopardize it, try to use everything within his powers legitimately to make sure that the country remains one.
“Our selection of leadership is the most important thing; political, military and economic leadership. Once this is strong, and everybody in this sector believes in this country, I think we won’t have a problem.”
The retired army general said his generation has championed the unity of the country since independence and that qualifies them to keep calling the shots.
“My generation is committed and they will use everything possible; apply logic, advice, talks just to make sure that the country remains united.
“You cannot convince me that this country should break up; I wouldn’t talk to you for a long time because I know people died trying to keep the country one, so my generation will insist this country remains one.
“There are 200 million people in this country and there are some people in my generation and the one after mine, who will always believe in this country and those generations will move this country towards the required objective.
“Nobody will like to see this country disintegrated because we will be unfair to those who put their lives on the line and died for the purpose of keeping the country one. If we let it go, we will not be fair to them, thousands of people were killed, a lot were maimed and some were permanently disabled," he said.
IBB who was the Chief of Army Staff and a member of the Supreme Military Council under the regime of then Major General Muhammadu Buhari, overthrew Buhari on August 27, 1985 in a military coup that relied on mid-level officers that IBB had strategically positioned over the years.