Nigerians say no to former military leaders running for president

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The latest presidential candidate to emerge in Nigeria ahead of April national elections has observers wondering in what direction the West African nation is headed. The declaration of former military junta General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) has sparked questions about Nigeria’s direction.

Following the stunning intentions of IBB to run for president, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has appointed former military dictator General Muhammadu Buhari as its candidate for presidential polls in April.

Buhari, whose government was accused of human rights violations and press oppression, ruled Nigeria with an iron fist when he was military leader from January 1984 to August 1985.

“I stand by the people for better, for worse… through thick or thin. I will never abandon them no matter how long or hard the going is. I am doing this for many millions who believe in me,” Buhari was quoted as saying in a speech after his nomination.

Experts say the bid for the presidency by the former military juntas Buhari and Babangida is a calculated attempt to frustrate the true essence of the nation’s democracy.

Save Nigeria Group, led by Pastor Tunde Bakare, vowed to mobilize 12 million Nigerians to campaign against the candidacy of Babangida in April’s election.

When Babangida first declared to run in the forthcoming April elections, family members of the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, quickly decried his illegitimacy.

Muritala Abiola, the deputy head of the Abiola family, said Babanginda, the former military junta, was the least of persons that should ever be allowed to rule the country again.

“By God’s grace, Babangida will not be president again. He has nothing to offer Nigerians. If he has any advice, he should sell it to the people in government. It will be very unfortunate, and that will mean that Nigeria is still very backward,” Muritala was quoted as saying.

Two months ago, the Save Nigeria Group leader delivering a lecture at the seventh annual Adeleke Adejobi Foundation public lecture in Lagos, said that IBB will not be allowed to rule Nigeria again, “because he annulled the freest and fairest election in the history of the country, and now, without feeling remorse about his action, he wants to come back through the back door and enslave the nation again. We won’t allow that to happen again.”

Analysts believe the Nigerian populace has grown wiser and will no longer accept corrupt politicians in the pending presidential elections.

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