31 January 2013

Nigeria: Babangida Expresses Confidence in the Nigerian Project

A former Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), has advised the Federal Government to strengthened the Nigerian Project initiative so that unity and development of the country could be maintained.

Babangida said this on Thursday in Lagos at the presentation of two books in honour of Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, a former External Affairs Minister.

The books are "Nigeria and the World: A Bolaji Akinyemi Revisited, " which was edited by Prof. Bola Akinterinwa and "Perspectives on Nigeria's National and External Relations, ", edited by Professors Thomas Imobighe and Warisu Alli.

Babangida said that the Nigerian Project was "the most appropriate mechanism" for addressing the nation's current challenges.

"My position is dictated by my conviction that Nigeria is precious enough to be saved. And this deserves an investment of our time and resources, to make the Nigerian Project a success.

"All we need is a new mind set about the Nigerian Project. Let us therefore, begin by admitting our mistakes of the past, " he said.

The former Head of State said it was imperative for the country to urgently revisit issues bordering on the principle of Federal Character.

He said, "we can face the country's challenges together, united in the spirit of her greatness".

Babangida lauded the efforts and sacrifices made by past governments and well meaning Nigerians, for the survival of the Nigerian Project.

"In a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation, principle of Federal Character is a sensible one, and there is no alternative to it.

"What needs to be done is to ensure that each national group has a sense of belonging. We need to arrive at a consensus, which will move this nation forward, " he said.

Babangida said that the presentation of the books was a demonstration of Akinyemi's over 40 years contribution and relevance to Nigeria's foreign policy.

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