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By Princess Simon (Bureau Chief North Central, in Minna)

Nigeria's former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), has asked Nigerians, youths in particular, to try and study the history of Nigeria in other to know the sacrifices certain individuals made for Nigeria to remain one today.

Babangida was apparently cautioning youths against being used as tools for self destruction ahead of the 2023 general elections. He said it has become necessary for those who did not witness what Nigeria was before the colonial era, after her independence and the during the Nigeria/Biafran war, to know where they were coming from and the need to avoid a repeat of past mistakes.

Despite challenges caused by certain individuals fanning the embers of war, which, he said, will do no one any good, not even those that are championing the cause, General Babangida said Nigeria, in the past 62 years, tried to be more united as he and many others who paid the supreme price for the country to remain one indivisible entity are still committed to that goal. Nigerians, the former military president said, desire unity even in the 2023 general elections.

IBB who spoke to some selected journalists in Minna ahead of today's Nigeria’s 62 Independent year anniversary, reminded politicians and key political actors to put Nigeria’s interest first as they commence electioneering campaigns.

Babangida recalled how Nigeria has been able to maintain it's cohesion even after the civil war and trusting that the bond will be stronger encouraged for younger Nigerians to try and be abreast with the history of the country in order to appreciate individual’s contributions that made the country remain one.

On the 2023 general elections and its attendant build-up, the former Military leader said Nigerians ‘must remain confident, remain optimistic and focused and as well avoid being used as political pawns’.

Babangida said all stakeholders, including contestants for the various political positions and their supporters must maintain peace during the electioneering campaigns, the election proper and after the elections.

“I desire to see Nigeria remain a strong and united country with prosperity and people living in peace with one another”, Babangida said as he encouraged politicians to strictly adhere to the rules of the game and desist from campaign of calumny and rumour mongering.

Assessing Nigeria at 62, the ups and downs, IBB said, “So far so good, first of all, a couple of years after we got independence, maybe about 7 years, after we went into a civil war which was turbulent, but we were able to come out of it quite successful in the sense that the country remained one”.

After the war, General Babangida said successive Nigerian governments, both military and civilian, have all engaged in trying to keep the country as one united entity, adding however that, “So far, we are still a united country”.

The former Nigerian leader is however admonishing younger Nigerians to read more about their past or history of the country and its journey to present day and, ‘to find out what happened in the past and how we came about as a country’.

"Studying Nigeria’s history would provide the opportunity for the younger ones who were not born during the era to have insight into what happened, what roles various people played individually and collectively for Nigeria to remain together”.

Against the backdrop of certain individuals promoting divisive tendencies, General Babangida reminded them that, “Talking about history, once you know the history of your country, Nigeria very well and the efforts of our founding fathers, then you have a roadmap you have to follow”. NNL.

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