Former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) (rtd), has urged Nigerians to embrace dialogue in resolving challenges in order to ensure peace and development.
Babangida made the remarks on Saturday in Minna to mark Nigeria’s 57th Independence anniversary on Oct. 1.
He said even though the nation was witnessing agitations and conflicts, there was need for careful appraisal of our journey to nationhood.
“The resilience of armed forces of Nigeria to curtail secessionist agitation throughout our nation’s post independence era has reduced tensions and unnecessary destruction of lives and property.
“Dialogue remains the best option in resolving conflicts and agitations in the country.
“Recent conflicts and agitations, chanting slogan of war and hate speeches are derailing the nation’s development and unity.
“As an active participant during the civil war and as a retired military officer, with the hard lesson learnt, I will never be tired of calling for the oneness and unity of our great nation.
“We will forever be ready to sacrifice for a united and prosperous Nigeria when called again.”
The Former Military President said that during his administration deliberate policies, programmes and projects were formulated to weaken agitations for secession.
“We even created states to promote mutual and peaceful coexistence devoid of ethnic, religious and regional discrimination,’’ he said.
He enjoined the three tiers of government to continue to encourage mutual tolerance and protect the life of every Nigerian who should feel at home anywhere he found themselves in the country.
Babangida urged Nigerians to pray and work towards peace and progress of the country.
He advised those beating war drums through hate speeches to desist and support the government in resolving security and economic challenges of the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Babangida was the 8th Head of State of Nigeria who ruled from Aug. 27, 1985 to Aug. 26, 1993.