Former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has revealed that he and some other stakeholders who formed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), mooted the idea that the party should rule for 60 years for the stability of the country.
Speaking yesterday at his Hilltop mansion in Minna, the Niger State capital, Babangida, while receiving the Senator Ahmed Makarfi committee on “Strategy and Inter-party Affairs” led by Professor Jerry Gana, which handed him a copy of the panel’s report, also said that the PDP at formation had a “military wing” that provided the support base for the party to take off.
He explained that “PDP can rule for 60 years if they put their house in order. I am happy the house is being put in order. PDP is the only party that has been accepted from top to down. Its presence is being felt and will continue to be felt throughout the country. You need to work on getting up back again and find a solution to your problems.
“PDP’s presence is felt not only in Abuja or Lagos, but down to the lowest level. If you go to the grassroots, the ordinary man will talk about PDP; that is the asset the party has and should use to spring back to reckoning. Already, it is accepted and known. All you have to do is work harder and try to convince the people back to your fold,” he said.
A former PDP National Chairman, Col. Ahmadu Ali was the first to make public the proposed intention of the party to rule for 60 years. Ali was also known as the proponent of garrison politics in PDP.
On the PDP having a military wing, Babangida said the membership of that wing included himself, Lt-General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and General Aliyu Mohammed among others.
“We are the military wing of the PDP. We took a lot of interest in the PDP,” he said.
“From the formation stage, I saw PDP as IRA. In the PDP, we are the military wing; we took a lot of interests in the PDP. When I say we, I mean my boss, TY Danjuma, OBJ, General Aliyu Mohammed and others.”
The former military president also restated his belief in a two-party system, which he described as the best option for Nigeria.
“I still believe a two-party system is the right thing for Nigeria. It gives the people choice. Gradually, my earlier suggestion about the practice of a two-party system is gradually coming to the fore in the country.
“In 1999, when I was advocating for a two-party system, some of my colleagues had their doubts, but I told them that it provides a choice, which is the first essence of democracy,” urging the PDP to “put your house in order” if it must make impact in future elections.
Speaking earlier, Gana said the report submitted to Babangida was on how to re-strategise and re-mobilise the party to become vibrant again as a political party in all parts of the country.
According to him, the PDP “is poised to take over government from those who do not have a clue about how to govern the nation.”
He pleaded with the former military president to assist in prevailing on the APC government to stop harassing, intimidating and stampeding the opposition.
On the delegation of Gana were a former governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu; former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi; former Minister of Education, Professor Tunde Adeniran; Niger State PDP Chairman, Alhaji Tanko Beji; and a chairmanship aspirant of the party, Chief Raymond Dokpesi