Former Military President Gen. Ibrahim Babangida has described the emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as good development.
Also yesterday, Imo State governor Rochas Okorocha, described the APC as a child of necessity because Nigerians are tired of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s failure to address their needs.
Gen. Babangida said the merger of political parties into one formidable force has vindicated the two party system his military administration introduced in 1992.
Speaking to reporters yesterday at his Minna, Niger State residence, Babangida recalled that he was criticised when he introduced the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC) during his government’s political transition programme.
Babangida, a card-carrying member of the PDP said: “I was a very good advocate of two party system. When I introduced two party system, you people said I am a soldier, now you have seen why I went for two party system. I am happy for the emergence of APC. It is a welcome political development’’.
On the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) leadership crisis, which led to the formation of the PDP Governors’ Forum, the former leader said the crisis was elite and media-induced. He lamented that instead of mobilising and enlightening the masses on the programmes and policies, political leaders are struggling for power without carrying the masses along.
The former leader cautioned political leaders saying: ‘’we cannot continue to dissipate our energy talking about appointments, when you don’t allow the ordinary man to be involved.
‘’The ordinary man does not know what is happening, you have not been able to ginger the ordinary man to believe in a course to fight for unless we achieve that, we still have a lot to do’’.
Reacting to former United States President Bill Clinton’s statement on the squandering of the nation’s oil wealth, Gen. Babangida said: “You don’t need a foreigner to tell you about the waste in the oil sector, you (media) write it yourself and they read it’’.
Okorocha told reporters yesterday that his decision to be part of the merger of opposition parties was because the PDP of which he was a founding member has disappointed the people of the Southeast and Nigerians.
He said he had nothing against President Goodluck Jonathan but against the PDP.
Okorocha said the APC would promote internal democracy, which he said is missing in other political parties. “In the APC, the people’s view and opinion will be respected, there won’t be imposition of candidates as it is done in other parties”.
He added: “There is an urgent need for change, Nigerians are tired of the PDP which is no longer what it used to be after failing to address the needs of Nigerians. The APC has become a child of necessity, capable of providing the much-needed change in the Southeast geo-political zone and the entire country.
He said the crisis rocking the Nigerian Governor’s Forum was caused by panic by the PDP to checkmate the APC, adding that the emergence of the merger, which he hinted was the first of its kind in the political history of the nation, was a wake up call for the PDP. “The PDP has formed their own Governor’s Forum to weaken the existing one all in a desperate bid to checkmate the APC but I can tell you that we have PDP members who have already joined APC. By the time it will be made public, it will shock the PDP”.