FORMER Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, weekend, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to shed sentiments and imbibe statesmanlike traits in his handling of the increasing challenges against his government.
Babangida said in a statement that the caution became necessary in the face of unnecessary distractions which aides and those he termed sycophants were causing for the President.
Babangida who described weekend’s arrest of erstwhile Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, as one of those distractions urged the President to increase his level of tolerance for the opposition stressing that he must, as leader cross bridges to engage those who may not necessarily agree with him on issues.
He warned that reckless application of power and the absence of other ingredients of democracy made nations to be described as failed states.
In the statement issued on his behalf by his media adviser, Prince Kassim Afegbua, the former head of state said that it was not his practice to advise an incumbent President in the open but had to resort otherwise “to allow Nigerians the opportunity to appreciate the challenges that President Jonathan is facing.”
Expressing concern on the situation in the country even as he frowned against the arrest of El-Rufai, Babangida said: “The happenings in the country in recent times call for worry if we must be sincere with ourselves.
Every day, the nation is treated with one form of political issue or the other. From security challenges to economic challenges, Nigerians are asking several questions that deserve responses from government at the various levels.
That is the beauty of democracy; a people-driven government with its fundamental principles of freedom of expression, freedom of association, rule of law, accountability, probity and equal representation amongst others.”
Charging the President to beware of sycophants around him who may have prompted the distraction away from serious governance issues with the arrest of El-Rufai, he said: “It is against this background that I will like to advise President Goodluck Jonathan to tread cautiously so that those sycophants in, and out of government will not derail his focus.
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