A former military president, Gen Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, IBB, on Friday noted that the attempt to stifle the media won’t work.
Prominent Nigerians have called out the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of attempting to muzzle the press over various actions and proposed legislation before the National Assembly.
The ban on Twitter, directives of the National Broadcasting Commission to media houses and some bills in the National Assembly have triggered such fears.
IBB, in an interview with Arise TV at his hilltop residence in Minna, Niger State capital, on Friday, said Nigerians are resilient and will fight against such tendencies.
“Attempts to stifle the media will not work. The media and the public will not allow it to happen. It will be silly to try to clip the media because they are the essential part of the society and should be allowed to play their role for the society,” he said.
The former military ruler also applauded the resilience, courage and determination of Nigerians in not allowing their leaders to ride roughshod over them.
He said Nigerians will not allow the country descend into a one-party state, stressing that with the resilience of Nigerians, the country can make a great comeback.
“Nigerians will not allow Nigeria to become a one-party country. They will talk, demonstrate and engage the leadership in all sorts of things.”
Babangida described the main problem of the country as “the tyranny of the elites”, blaming insecurity on leadership.
“There is a disconnect between leadership and followership. We don’t have co-values anymore in the country which can be defended at any time. The way out is that Leaders should understand Nigeria and Nigerians, use their intellect for the benefit of the people.
“There is too much control in the way the economy is now, there is a need to open it further, tap into the God-given talent of the people of the count,” he said.
IBB, however, expressed optimism that it is encouraging that the country has not collapsed, saying the leaders are still doing their best to keep it moving.