By Onyebuchi EzigboÂ in AbujaÂ
Former military president, General Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida has finally pitched tent with the Social Democratic Party (PDP).Â
He made the declaration to identify with the partyÂ on ThursdayÂ night while receiving leaders of SDP in his Hill Top Mansion residence in Minna, Niger state.
The National Publicity Secretary of SDP, Alpha Mohammed who confirmed the move by the former Head of state in telephone interview with THISDAYÂ on FridayÂ said that the leadership of the SDP met with Babngida in his Minna home and presented the membership card to him.
When asked if is true that former military president has joined SDP, Mohammed said: “Yes IBB has joined SDP and he even said that if he had been young he would have led the youth wing. He also recommended SDP to the current generation of Nigerian youths and women and we presented him with membership card. Today he is the father of SDP in Nigeria. As we recall he was the creator of SDP when he was in office.”
In a video clip made available to THISDAY by the party Spokesman, Babangida said he supports the vision of SDP and was very confident in the ability of leadership of the party to do the right thing for the country
“I am very happy to be with youÂ tonightÂ and I am also happy that the vision we had for this country is also what is driving your political party. I want you to remain firm and to ensure that you lead this country as the people are willing to follow whoever is going do that and I think the leadership of the party is ready to do just that. If I haven’t been too old, I would have loved to lead the youth vanguard of the SDP.Â
“I want to assure you that I have interest in your political party and I am sure that you are going to reach out to other Nigerians and try to convince them on what you will do for them. I advise that you engage in politics of issue and not that of insults. Like Olu Falae has said, it is already about 32 years, perhaps if we had kept with the plans we would have gone beyond where are today. But it is not too late I believe that the leadership of the SDP will do the right thing.
Speaking on his expectations for the party ahead of the 2019 elections, Babangida said that from the core of the leadership of the SDP, he was convinced that it would win the support of Nigerians.
“The security and wellbeing of the people is very important. I think this is best time for this and Nigerians must rally round you to ensure that this is realisable and I know that it will be done. I have a lot confidence and I have never said this to any party before. The party is lucky to have people who contributed to this country, people’s whose contributions to the country is legendary.Â
“I remember when Jerry Gana was chairman of MAMSER, one of his prime mission was to educate the masses and the level of awareness then was not high as it is now. So you have the opportunity now to take advantage of the digital age to pass a lot of information to men of this country who constitute over 65% of the population. If you succeed in doing this, I think it will be better for this country. “
I am calling on all young men and women of this country to rally around the SDP because it is populated by men and women with integrity.” he saidÂ