Former military ruler, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB), says Nigeria is too complex a nation to govern.
“The country is complex and difficult because, there are as many opinions as there are the number of people in the country,” Babangida said when members of the House of Representatives minority caucus, led by minority leader Ndudi Elumelu, paid him a courtesy call at his sprawling mansion in Minna, the Niger state capital.
Babangida ruled Nigeria from 1985 to 1993 and is famously remembered for the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election–widely regarded as Nigeria’s freest and fairest yet.
“Nigeria is a very vibrant society and what is important is the determination, you have to remain very resilient in everything you do for the benefit of the country”, he added.
Babangida also praised the leadership of the House for their part in nation building.
“I am passionate about observing what is going on in the country; I develop lots of interest in the on-goings across the country and I think the leadership of the House of Representatives, the Speaker, the opposition leadership and everyone. I think you are all doing well,” he said.
“You represent the people and it is what the people wish that you take up. I want to commend you for doing your job honourably and urge you not to give up.
“It is time to settle down to do a lot of good work for your constituency and for the country.”
The 1993 election was won by the late Chief MKO Abiola.
President Buhari recently declared June 12 the nation’s Democracy Day in commemoration and honor of Abiola.
The annulment of the vote would spark civil unrest across Nigeria and protests from civil rights and pro-democracy groups–enough to force IBB to ‘step aside’ on August 26, 1993.
Abiola died in detention in 1998 after being arrested for holding onto his mandate.
Some public commentators still refer to IBB as the man who institutionalized corruption in Nigeria.