Former President Ibrahim Babangida has condemned the series of attacks on retired military officers turned politicians by supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Citing a recent documentary on past military leaders aired on STV, the former Head of State said such hate campaigns undermine their past contributions to the country adding that nothing forbade former military leaders from contesting presidential election.
Below is his statement.
“In clear attempts to whip up support for PresidentGoodluck Jonathan, certain persons, groups and individuals have embarked on several campaigns of calumny against former military Heads of State and presidents who have had the opportunity to govern this country.
“Of particular reference is a one-hour documentary aired on SilverbirdTelevision on Tuesday night; 24th March, 2015 that deliberately impugned the integrity of Generals Olusegun Obasanjo, Muhammadu Buhari, my humble self; Ibrahim Babangida, the late Sani Abacha, Abdulsalami Abubakar, and T.Y.Danjuma; all of whom have had the privilege of presiding over the affairs of this great country at various levels.
“It is either that those promoting the hate documentary are intellectually delinquent or they suffer memory loss; or a combination of both.
“I have my very strong reservations about the contents and thematic focus of the said documentary. Apart from promoting hate campaign which clearly undermines the modest contributions of these former presidents, the commentaries in the documentary against the former presidents leave a sour taste in the mouth.
“Nobody is stopping anyone from campaigning for their preferred candidates contesting various positions in the elections, but to do that at the expense of the reputation, contributions, patriotism, loyalty and sacrifice of former presidents to the Nigerian state is, to say the least, immature.”
“The military is at present combating the dreaded BokoHaram sect to restore Nigeria’s territorial integrity. What law under a democracy forbids retired military personnel from participating in politics and presenting themselves for election? Over 90 per cent of American Presidents have military background.
“Leadership training is better grounded in the military than any other profession. And the military parades some of the best brains in any country, including Nigeria.
“In fact, some of my military students that I tutored have Doctorate Degrees.
“It is, therefore, callous, wicked, out-of-sync, cynical and a show of crass ignorance for anyone to undermine the military institution by embarking on mudslinging campaigns against former presidents and leaders with military background.
“While those campaigners are pointing their accusing fingers at us, they forget to recall that the present Director-General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation is actually a retired military officer.
“It is this form of demonisation and stigmatisation that often compels us to exhibit esprit de corps amongst ourselves in support of our military institution and colleagues when the stakes are high.
“As disciplined military officers, we are patriotic Nigerians and must be treated with utmost respect and decorum.”