“The President came here to ask for my support. I had only 15 minutes prior notice before his arrival. When he came, I took him to my bedroom and had a chat with him. When he left his people said I have endorsed him. What am I supposed to do, deny it? No. For me, that is not a problem because I am a leader and what I say or don’t say will give mileage to any party.
When he came here I told him that he made two political mistakes: first was to lose Rotimi, the Governor of Rivers State. When the crisis was going on, Governor Rotimi was here to pay me a visit. I confronted him and he spoke to me very honestly. Despite the problems, he was not ready to leave the PDP then. Gen. Obasanjo, myself and a few others intervened in the matter as leaders of the party but the president did not foresee the current situation and didn’t take our advice seriously. Rotimi is one young man I like so much for his honesty. He is very bold and always committed to his conviction.
I told president Jonathan that the second mistake he made was to call Obasanjo a motor park tout. What an insult. That was wrong and the beginning of his problems. How many times had he seen Obasanjo insult Gowon. I told him that supporting him would mean to endorse the insult on Gen Obasanjo. I won’t.
I advised him to go make peace with Governor Rotimi and Gen. Obasanjo. I told him it is almost getting late. I said to him, you must visit Obasanjo to apologize to him. I don’t think that the outcome was favourable because it was already late.
A lot of persons have been calling me to raise concern that the President would use the Military to rig the election and I say to them that it is not likely. There is esprit de corps. Most of the soldiers you see today are boys to our boys. President Jonathan has no option than to allow the election hold and to declare the winner. I advised him on this. Several other persons, both local and international, have also advised him on the consequences of using soldiers to influence the election. I am sure, he won’t.” – Gen. Ibrahim Babangida Rtd, former Head of State of Nigeria