Former Military President and chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, General Ibrahim Babangida, IBB, yesterday shocked many when he openly declared support for the Social Democratic Party, SDP, led by former Secretary to Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae.
Speaking in Minna over the weekend when the national leadership of the party visited him at his hill-top mansion in Minna, Babangida said the party was real and smart, with the zeal to deliver democratic dividends to the people.
"If I hadn't been too old, I would have loved to join the youths vanguard of your party. I have faith in the political party, for what it is and what it stands for. When I heard in the news that a party has come on board, the first thing that occurred to me was that the name sounds familiar, so I made a decision that I will wait and see how it plays out.
"I was looking at how SDP will populate itself. And then the next pleasing thing that I heard was that it has people like Olu Falae, Professor Jerry Gana, Professor Adeniran.
"After that I said this party is real, because most of the names are names that I have known and I have worked with and for the sake of this country, so I said the party is smart to convinced all these gentlemen to come and join them.
"That is why I did not hesitate to give direction to those who came to me to seek advice on which direction to go."
Babangida pointed out that the vision he had for the country was the same vision that is shared by those driving the party, adding that "the security and well being of Nigerians are very important and you have identified this in your programme, so Nigerians must rally round you and support you to ensure that this is realizable."
Babangida urged the younger generation and women to give their support to SDP as it is "populated by men of integrity, men who when they work, they work well, when they speak, they speak well."
Babangida then advised the leadership of the party to make its manifestos public to Nigerians, so they could be held accountable.
In his address earlier, the National Chairman of the Party, Chief Olu Falae, said they were in the state to see General Babangida as part of the party's nationwide consultation to brief him on the activities of the party and to solicit for his support and wise counselling.