By Nimot Sulaimon
Former Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida has tasked the newly sworn-in President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu on being a leader for all Nigerians including the opposition.
He stated this in an interview hours before the handover ceremony at Eagle Square, Abuja.
Describing the new President as a skilful politician, Babangida opined that he will need his skills to galvanize Nigeria’s economic heavyweights, home and abroad, to address the economy of the nation.
“First of all, I want to congratulate the country for going through this process of democratisation, which is quite good. For the incoming administration, I’d like to congratulate the president and the vice president.”
“I know that the president (Tinubu) is a very skilful politician. He needs all his political skills to unite a polarised nation. I wish him well as far as that is concerned.”
“Secondly, the country is rich with a lot of economic experts, and economic advisers. They are so many that some of them are serving other countries. We should bring them together to help in managing the economy of this country.”
“Thirdly, my advice to him will be that as the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, he needs to have a good look at the armed forces and re-orient, re-train and re-organise them. This is because the armed forces have undergone a lot of changes. It will make them efficient”
“The first area that he needs to pay attention to is the public service. It needs to be re-organised. It is by no means an easy task but as I said, he is a very skilful politician”
When asked if he had any advice for Tinubu’s opponent, IBB said, “Well, they are all Nigerians and whatever they know it’s for the good of the country. There should be no opposition”
Whilst accessing the evolution of Nigeria’s democracy, the former Head of State noted that “the evolution started good but there are a lot of mishaps on the way. For example, monetization of the election process”
He called for a reform of the electoral process, including massive voter education, expressing worry that of the over 90 million registered voters, the number of persons that came out was less than half of the total figure.
Babangida maintained that Nigeria remains blessed with everything it needs to survive, urging the new administration to redesign the economic system in Nigeria.
“I wish the new administration well. Let them put Nigeria first and the welfare of Nigerians should be paramount. Leadership at all levels is missing,” he argued, stressing that although some leaders know what to do, they should strive to rally Nigerians behind them.
Meanwhile, Babangida urged his countrymen to be patient but said Nigerian leaders should have moments of reflection. He also said he had no regrets as Nigeria’s former leader.
“The only advice is to be patient and continue to support the new government but if they see things going wrong, they should cry out as usual, but be objective about it,” he said.
Furthermore, he urged the incoming government to open up the economy and give Nigerians a direction on how it intends to solve unemployment, and inflation, among others.