By Kingsley Omonobi
ABUJA—Former military Head of State and the losing contender to the candidate of the Northern elders forum in the consensus arrangement, General Ibrahim Babangida, has expressed disaffection over claims making the rounds that he had jettisoned the option to run the 2011 elections.

Babangida’s reaction came even as he reiterated that “his call for respect of the provisions of the PDP constitution as regards zoning still stands and must be respected by all members who subscribe to the party.”
Media reports had insinuated that General Babangida was making a U-turn because the consensus option had collapsed and that in deference to his supporters, he was bowing to pressures from his associates, friends, political allies and followers to take a shot at the presidential election.

However, the former military president in a statement by his spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, said: “To state the obvious, General IBB is not contemplating jettisoning the consensus option because the rationale for the consensus, in the first place, is still very much in place.

“Members of the IBB 2011 Presidential Campaign Organisation are already being accommodated in the amalgamated Atiku Campaign Organisation to give the necessary support to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the forthcoming PDP primaries.”

Atiku and Ibrahim Babangida

Advising the media to be very thorough and profound in their news reportage, the statement said they (journalists) must at all times cross check their facts and figures in order not to mislead members of the public who rely on their news item for one purpose or the other, pointing out that “there was no marathon’ meeting in Kano, Kaduna, Minna and Lagos over the purported plan to jettison the consensus arrangement.

“We also wish to state that in as much as we appreciate the support, endorsement and open invitation of the leadership of the National Democratic Party, NDP, towards General IBB, there has never been any platform where formal dialogue was entered into,” Afegbua said.

“Before now, the National Democratic Party has been in support of the presidential aspiration of the former President that is why we do not see its present support as something new”.

Continuing the statement said, “Former President General Babangida appreciates the overwhelming support being extended to him by distinguished Nigerians; home and abroad, and feels very strongly that the quest for the leadership of the country was not a personal and self-serving desire, but one that was borne out of altruistic and patriotic intentions to help rescue the country from its present economic and political morass.

“As a distinguished Nigerian and a gentleman officer, he is of the considered view that democracy cannot flourish if all the essential ingredients are not well garnished to provide opportunity for all with equal access to the levers of power.

“He is of the opinion that rule of law, as a cardinal principle of democracy, cannot be circumvented in a manner that tends to undermine the stability and unity of the country”.

“Nobody should assume the role of an unauthorized spokesman for the erstwhile campaign organisation of General IBB. Should there be need to give any further directive, we will use the appropriate organs to do so.

“The ideas, perspectives, viewpoints and dimensions insinuated in the report are not that of General Ibrahim Babangida or his campaign organisation. Our followers and supporters have been properly directed and briefed”, the statement said.

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