Nigeria’s former military president, Rtd. Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, disclosed his intentions if he has the chance to handle the nation’s affairs again, and that is to turn the National Assemble into a part-time venture.
Speaking to journalist on Tuesday during his 75th birthday celebration at his hilltop resident in Mina, Niger State, Babangida said althoug the proposal by his regime to make the National Assembly part time in 1989 never came to fruition, he still strongly believed in it.
“During my public life, there were several decisions we took as military officers or as political officers, that if given another chance, I would do differently. For example, in 1989, we proposed that the national assembly should be optional, that is part-time.
“I still believe that if I had the opportunity, I would make the national assembly part-time. I believe in that very strongly and is part of efforts to cut down the cost of governance in Nigeria.”
The retired general shared his experience in the military and according to him, trekking through jungles and mountains from Enugu to Umuahia during the country’s civil war, was a tough and memorable challenge for him in the army.
“We had to go through the jungles and the hills. I think it was my toughest encounter in the army because that was where I got wounded in April 1969.”
He also added that serving in the army is tougher than being a the President. According to him, being in the military means that you must subject yourself to a constituted authority to execute all the tasks assigned to you by government.
“The first thing that came to my mind was that it is not new; they did it to Nnamdi Azikiwe, they did it to Shehu Shagari and other elder statesmen, so it’s not a surprise. As a Muslim, whether I like it or not I must die someday and so they are just stating the obvious but nobody knows the time or place that it will happen.”
The ex-military leader said his not as evil as people thought he had been, stating that by virtue of his profession, he was bound to be misunderstood.
In his words:
“I am not the evil quite a lot of you think that I am and I can understand that by virtue of the job I was doing, I was bound to be misunderstood.
“But I consider it all as an opinion and it is one of those things you have to live with but as long as I am not what you thought I was, I feel very much satisfied.”