What Ex-Head Of State Babangida Told Igbos About Nigeria
Igbo Delegate Assembly members meet with Babangida in Minna, Niger state (image courtesy: The Sun)

Former military head of state retired Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) has urged the Igbo to ensure that Nigerians continue to feel their positive impact.

Concise News reports that Babangida, who was Nigeria’s leader from August, 1985, to August, 1993, said the Igbo, occupants of Nigeria’s southeast sub-region, were very industrious.

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He made the remark when the Igbo Delegates Assembly (IDA), from the 19 Northern states and Abuja, visited him in Minna, the Niger state capital.

The delegation was led by the IDA president, Chief Chikezie Okezie, and the Eze Igbo of Minna, Eze Pampas Wahiwe.

“You should continue to allow your positive impacts to be felt among host ethnic nationalities in the country, as you explore business opportunities available,” Babangida said.

“Nigerians, Igbos inclusive, should ensure they uphold the ideals of Nigeria’s founding fathers.

“An indivisible Nigeria is very necessary and we must do everything possible to remain as one family, though we differ in tribe and tongue.”

The 78-year-old former Nigerian leader appreciated the Igbo for being very enterprising in business.

“You should use same spirit of enterprise to promote peaceful co-existence among Nigerians, in all that you are doing,” he said.

“You have done well to keep Nigeria together. The Igbo are known to have the potentials of traveling far and wide, exploring new frontiers and business opportunities.”

Okezie, speaking on behalf of the IDA, said, “As an elder statesman, your wise counsel is very much needed at this point in our national life.”

Babangida Sends Message To Nigerians

The former military president had, in August, urged Nigerians to live in unity irrespective of their age and ethno-religious inclination.

Babangida made the remark while celebrating his 78th birthday.

“My prayer is that Nigeria should remain as one indivisible nation,” he said.

“Therefore, I call on all Nigerians to work for the unity and development of the country as there is no other home like Nigeria.”

The former Nigerian leader had earlier been congratulated by his former colleague in the military and now President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, on his birthday.

Babangida, who annulled the June 12 1993 presidential election, took over from the then Head of State, Major-Gen. Buhari, in a bloodless coup d’etat in 1985.

“On this special day of your life, the reminiscences of your courage and invaluable service to the army in protecting the sovereignty of the country come to the fore. Thank you for the role of statesman you are playing in the affairs the nation,” a statement from Buhari’s media aide Garba Shehu read.