Former Military president, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (rtd), yesterday undertook a critical view of the predictions made by soothsayers, including the United States of America that Nigeria will disintegrate in 2015 and suggested ways to ensure the predictions do not become a reality. General Babangida spoke where he was the chairman of the public presentation of two books in honour of former External Affairs Minister, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Said he: “As Nigerians, we are aware of the great doubts that have been cast about what 2015 portends for the continuing existence of our nation. I am aware that Nigerians have taken great umbrage at these predictions. Even Lord Lugard who founded what has been called Nigeria gave it a life-span of 100 years.
“I regard it as a challenge to our intelligence to ensure that these portends and prophesies do not become self-fulfilling. We should engage these predictions on an intellectual level, testing whether the facts justify the conclusions. “But on a practical and public policy level, we must import honesty into our public policy assessments. Firstly, we must identify the problems that need to be addressed. Secondly we must address these problems honestly.
“Thirdly we must identify the most current and the most appropriate mechanism for addressing these issues.
“Let me make this clear. My position is not dictated by the fact that foreigners are making these predictions. We don’t even need foreign sources as a reference point. The Nigerian media is awash with alarming news about our problems. My position is dictated by my conviction that Nigeria is precious enough to be saved. It deserves an investment of our time and resources to make Project Nigeria a success. But the starting point has to be an admission that we need to fix things. We need a new mindset about the Nigerian project.