Nigeria’s former military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), has argued that the country’s next president should be a young person who has a very good understanding of the economy, just as he ruled out people like former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, insisting that the next president must be under 70.
IBB who spoke when he appeared on Arise TV breakfast programme, The Morning Show on Friday, noted that there are already people with these qualities and that it would be good to have such persons in power.
The former Nigerian leader also emphasized the need to elect a president who is able to relate with the people, not one who believes he is above them.
“If you get a good leadership that links with the people and tries to talk with the people; not talking on top of the people, then we would be okay,” he said.
“I have started visualising a good Nigerian leader. That is, a person who travels across the country and has a friend virtually everywhere he travels to, and he knows at least one person that he can communicate with.”
IBB noted that, “Nigerians are very resilient, they are very resourceful so leaders should see how to use this to achieve a common objective.
“That is a person, who is very versed in economics and is also a good politician, who should be able to talk to Nigerians and so on. The leaders should understand Nigeria and Nigerians. Anyone who wants to be a leader must use his intellect to understand the people.”
Asked if he believes the person should emerge in 2023, he said, “I believe so if we can get him.”
IBB also advised the current administration to adjust its economic policies, saying, “There’s too much control in way the economy is being run. We should open up the economy and make use of our God-given resources.”
He blamed bad leadership for the rising banditry in the country, while also calling on the Department of State Services (DSS) to stop disobeying court orders.
Babangida equally argued that his government fought corruption better than the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, which came to power in 2015 on an anti corruption toga.
He argued that people who worked under him are saints compared to those currently in power, noting that while he moved against a former military governor who embezzled N313,000, those who stole billions are walking freely.
Asked if he agrees with those who said his government was very corrupt, Babangida said, “But what’s happening now is worse than when we were in power. We are saints when compared with that.”