Former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida (retd) on Saturday in Minna, said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) remains the strongest party in Africa, adding that the current crisis is a test for the party.
Babangida is optimistic that PDP would overcome its crisis and come out of it stronger.
The former president’s position contrasts with the submission by former president Olusegun Obasanjo that the party on which platform he ruled the nation for eight years was dead.
Babangida spoke at his Hilltop home when the Professor Jerry Gana-led Committee on Strategy and Inter-Party Affairs came to brief him as one of the founding fathers of the PDP on the committee’s findings.
According to him, “the PDP remains the only acceptable party to Nigerians at all levels regardless of religious or tribal affiliations. It’s the most acceptable party to the people.”
“I believe when the party overcomes this challenge, it has the capacity to rule the country for the next 60 years,” Babangida stressed, adding that the PDP had been accepted from the top to bottom because its presence had been felt and accepted by the people for 16 years.
“From formation stage, I saw the PDP as IRA (Irish Republican Army). We are the military wing of the PDP.
“We took a lot of interest, when I say we, I mean my boss T.Y. Danjuma, Obasanjo, myself, Gen. Aliyu Mohammed. We started it.
“I termed us the IRA military wing of the PDP, I thank God we came up with the old concept. I believe one of our compatriots who said PDP would rule for 60 years. He, however, urged the party to work harder if it must take the power back from the ruling party because nothing good comes easy.
“But you still need to work very hard to get to the top again. I am happy that you people are trying to put the PDP back together again, and I still believe that two-party system is the right choice for Nigeria because it gives room for choice.”
Addressing journalists after the meeting that lasted over an hour, Chairman of the committee, Prof. Gana said the All Progressives Congress (APC) had failed Nigeria.
According to Gana, governance was all about the security and welfare of the people. “But as things are now, Nigerians are suffering. They cannot feel the impact of the government. There is hunger everywhere in the land. “APC as a party over promised Nigerians and now they cannot fulfill their promises. They have failed Nigerians.”
While praying for the quick recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has just returned from a medical trip to London, he said he would not want to say much, adding that “if not for the president’s health, I would have really punched them, but I do not want to punch them hard now, but the truth of the matter is that the APC has failed the people completely.”
He was accompanied to the Hilltop residence of Babangida by Chief Tom Ikimi, former deputy speaker, House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, Prof. Ahmed Rufai Alkali, former minister of education, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, while the entire PDP exco members in Niger State led by its Chairman, Mr. Tanko Beji were present.