Former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida is asking President Olusegun Obasanjo to vacate the presidency in 2007, apparently to make room for IBB's burning but fiercely opposed desire to return to power.

Speaking on a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hausa Service, Gen. Babangida said Obasanjo would be respecting the wishes of Nigerians if he vacates office, in accordance with the constitution.

The former military president kicked against third term for President Obasanjo, saying such privilege would spell doom for the nation.

According to him, his present stance on the issue had been adopted by the people of Niger State before the recommendations of the Senator Ibrahim Mantu National Assembly Joint Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution, which met in Port Harcourt.

Said he: "My stand on the issue is as enunciated by my people in Niger State. Whatever their position is, definitely is my stand on the matter of third term. We in Niger State met and deliberated extensively on the matter. We the elders looked into the matter critically, even before people went to Port Harcourt. I am with the people of Niger State, with the governor of Niger State on this matter.

What the governor of Niger State said is the view of the entire people of Niger State. Therefore, I support what he said. The people of Niger State told the governor point blank their position on the matter. I am an indigene of Niger State, hence I am with them on this matter,” he said. It will be recalled that Gov Abdulkadir Kure of Niger State is one of the greatest antagonists of the third term agenda, and he had walked out of the meeting in which the PDP leadership endorsed the gambit.

Babangida called on members of the National Assembly to abide by the wishes of the people who elected them and not to succumb to intimidation and fears since history and posterity will judge them.
“I’ll give them this piece of advice. They should think that whatever they do in the coming days will definitely affect them in their lifetime. They should think that they have children. They should think of where they come from; they should think of the home they come from,” he said, adding: “Therefore, what I hope to see is that everyone of them should come out plainly and state his position, what his people want. If that is done, then, we are on the right path of truth, but if something is done secretly or with fear, this will not help us.”

On whether he has any regrets for the role he played in bringing the present government to power, Babangida said he has no regret supporting the presidency of Obasanjo in 1999, when he and other northern elite compelled the latter to vie for the highest office in the country. He said his action was done out of patriotism and love for the nation.

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