Former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, has backed a two party structure for Nigeria’s democracy.
The former military ruler birthed two political parties, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republic Convention (NRC), which were funded by his regime.
Almost 30 years after that experiment, Babangida is recommending a two party system for Nigeria, in a personally signed message to celebrate Democracy Day, today.
“Let me reiterate my resolve, as a Nigerian, to the unity and indivisibility of our dear nation, which our founding fathers struggled to gain from the British colonial rule.
“As we celebrate 19 years of democracy in our country, democratic governance has been polarised along divisive ethnic and religious lines. It is, indeed, worrisome that active politicians are not adhering to the rule of the game of politics.
“Our political parties, since May 29, 1999, have no distinct ideologies with internal squabbles and cross-carpeting that is not healthy for our democracy. It is high time we look once more, on the need to build unique two party structures in the country; at this critical period of electioneering year.
“Our journey to nationhood and democracy, from 1960, to date, has been characterised by upheavals and turbulences, yet, we must cherish our commitment to remain a united country, in brotherhood and respect for one another. We must also appreciate the strength and value of our diversity, with due understanding and recognition of the interests of various ethnic nationalities in our hearts.
“No doubt, Nigeria has had its share of conflicts and political instability, just like many other nations and states, but, we have always survived against all odds. In our efforts to promote and protect democratic institutions, we should not forget the roles and sacrifices of our gallant armed forces in the checkered history of nation-building.
“Therefore, it would be in our own interest to look for solutions to the problems confronting us as a nation. In whatever circumstance we find ourselves, we must continue to exercise democratic tenants which promote freedom and respect of one another.
“While saluting the resilience of Nigerians in adopting democratic structures across the three-tiers of government for an interrupted period of 19 years, it is my hope that the general elections next year will further consolidate democratic governance, freedom and security,” he said.