Kassim Afegbua is spokesperson to former military President Ibrahim Babangida (IBB).
At 2:03pm on Sunday, Afegbua sent out a statement with the title: “Press statement from General IBB on 2019 election” where IBB urged Nigerians to reject President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
The statement was reported by reputable Nigerian news media including TheCable and Guardian.
Hours later, another statement was issued debunking the first and describing it as the opinion of the Afegbua.
Afegbua, on Sunday night, appeared on Channels TV night insisting the first statement stands
He said the rebuttal statement erroneously described IBB as “GCON” instead of “GCFR”. But the statement containing that title error was one circulation on social media. There’s another statement that correctly describes IBB as “GCFR” and was published by Daily Trust to which the retired general is reportedly linked.
Here’s the new statement reported by Daily Trust:
It has been drawn to my attention a press statement on the State of the nation, particularly 2019 general elections and beyond.
Let me categorically state that as former President and Statesman, I have unfettered channel of communication with the highest authorities without sensational public correspondence, therefore those views expressed over there are personal views of the writer.
However, with due respect to individual opinion and constitutional rights, it is worrisome that Political events and civil unrest in many part of the country, has raised many questions on the governance and unity. Indeed 2018 is inundated with seasons of literatureson the corporate existence of this country. Many of such literatures have shown concerns of the corporate existence of Nigeria beyond 2019 general elections.
It will be recalled, that in my message to this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, I specifically expressed the dire need for proactive measures to stop farmers/herders clashes in the middle belt, Cattle rustling, armed robbery, Kidnapping, gangsterism and Cultism. Our security agencies have to step up surveillance with more efforts on intelligence gathering for maximum success.
Recent happenings and utterances by political gladiators is alarming and not in the interest of common man that is already overstretched and apparently living from hand to mouth due to precarious economic conditions. Despite all these challenges, I am optimistic that the political actors will play within the ambits of political norms and decorum to ameliorate the problems facing our society now.
I am a realist that believes in all issues in a democratic atmosphere are sincerely discussed and resolved in the spirit of give and take. Since after my military years that metamorphosed to the only Military President in the history of Nigeria and my civilian life, I always have one clear objective that freedom can only be achieved through democracy. Some people find this freedom as an avenue for eroding democracy by antics of hate speeches under the guise of religion, tribal or self imposed mentorship. This trend of pitching political class and the people is unhealthy and skewed.
The clamour for re-alignment of governance in the country as we are approaching 2019 election year is a welcome development only if the agitations are genuinely channeled through legislation and total supremacy of the constitution. Any attempt outside this circle of democratic tenants is deceptive and divisive idea capable of plunging our political journey into disarray.
Our present political parties and their structures need parameter pillars that will make them more strong with unique ideologies. However, our present political parties need surgical operation that will fusion them in to a reasonable numbers. I have been an advocate oftwo party systems but in our present reality in Nigeria, our political parties can fusion into strong political association/party that can form a formidable opposition to a ruling party.
As students of history, we are aware that many advanced democracies have two distinct ideological political parties, with a handful of smaller political parties that serve as buffer whenever any of the known political parties derailed or became unpopular. I still believe in two party systems as the best option for Nigeria.
It is high time that, we dialogue more on any issue in order to have a political solution on any problem affecting us. It is sad that, Nigeria had its fare share of conflicts, and we cannot continue to fall back to those dark years of bloodshed.
As a people, now is the time to come together to address all Communal conflicts and criminality under any guise to further unite the country in line with the vision of our founding fathers so that as a nation, we can forge ahead in the task of building a more prosperous nation.
GENERAL IBRAHIM BADAMASI BABANGIDA GCFR, FORMER MILITARY PRESIDENT & COMMANDER IN-CHIEF OF NIGERIAN ARMED FORCES.
1 UPHILL DRIVE, MINNA.
SUNDAY, 04TH FEBRUARY, 2018.
Here’s the other “fake” statement:
My attention has been drawn to a report making rounds especially online in which I was quoted as advising Nigerians not to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in the coming 2019 election.
Not only is the said statement untrue, it is in its entirety, an inaccurate representation of my view of the state of our dear Nation.
As a former President and an elder statesman, I have existing communication channels through which I reach out to President Muhammadu Buhari on topical issues of national importance, should there be the need so to do.
The media, both online or mainstream and indeed the unsuspecting public are advised to disregard such false reports.
Thank you and God Bless you all.
Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (Rtd) (GCON)
Former Military President Federal Republic of Nigeria
Minna, Niger state.
4th February 2018
So what’s going on? Who’s lying? Did IBB authorise the first statement? Did he change his mind?