Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), has expressed his optimism on the continued existence of the country. This was just as he advised the Federal Government to strengthen its unity and development.
Speaking in Lagos,yesterday, at the public presentation of two books written in honour of one of the nation's past Minister for External Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, Babangida said that the Nigerian Project was "the most appropriate mechanism" for addressing the nation's current challenges.
The books, "Nigeria and the World: Bolaji Akinyemi Revisited," which was edited by the Director-General of the Nigerian Institute for International Affairs, Prof. Bola Akinterinwa and "Perspectives on Nigeria's National and External Relations, ", edited by Professors Thomas Imobighe and Warisu Alli attracted several dignitaries.
Babangida also lauded Akinyemi's services to the nation spanning 40 years and said such contributions have made him even more relevant to Nigeria's foreign policy objectives.
Former President said, "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.
According to the former leader, it was imperative for the country to urgently revisit issues bordering on the principle of federal character, saying "we can face the country's challenges together, united in the spirit of her greatness".
He lauded the efforts and sacrifices made by past governments and well meaning Nigerians towards the survival of the Nigerian Project just as he stated that "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.