Former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd.), on Tuesday said there was no doubt that with President Goodluck Jonathan piloting the affairs of the country, the nation was in safe hands.
Babangida said this when Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign train paid him homage at his Minna, Hilltop residence.
Babangida thanked Jonathan for finding time to pay him a visit despite his busy schedule.
He said he shared the same passion with Jonathan, a passion which he said was a genuine zeal to transform Nigeria.
Babangida told Jonathan: “I felt touched when you visited me in Germany after nine hours of surgery and you came again.
“You have made a very good decision to visit Minna during your presidential campaign because Minna is known for producing presidents, beginning from your namesake, President Azikiwe, who was born in Zungeru.
“And since then most of the president’s of Nigeria have one thing or the other, they come here to ask for blessing and I will offer this blessing to you, Mr. President.
“When we were doing nocturnal activities for the PDP, this house has held meetings.
“My family and I are proud of this. I commend the party for being very strong.
I see in PDP a party and an organisation devoid of religion. You have shown leadership. Even when others are breaking up, you have remained strong.
“Jonathan and I share a common passion which is that Nigeria remains strong, united and indivisible. I wish you well. Nigeria under Jonathan is in safe hands,” he said.
Earlier, Jonathan said he was pleased each time he came to see Babangida, adding that: “you have taken me as a son since my days as deputy governor. You have been a pillar and support me.
“I have come to present myself and Sambo, you are a leader of our party, you are stabilising factor of our country and party and have been encouraging the young ones to grow.
“We sincerely thank you for this reception. We pray for long life for you to continue to mentor us.”
In his address, National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, said Jonathan and his entourage came to visit Babangida because “his leadership has motivated and encouraged a lot of us in what we do. We have not had opportunity to thank you as a visionary leader.
“The work you did has remained unparalleled in Nigeria’s history.
“Jonathan from a different religion and tribe has found you to be behind him and you have strengthened him today.
“We are here to pay homage, to give us encouragement, prayers to attain where we want to be. Being one of the founding fathers of our party, you have encouraged us; you have continued to stabilise our country.
“We pray for sound health and God to protect you so that you will continue to avail us of your intelligence.”
At the campaign rally at the trade fair complex in Minna, President Jonathan stated that if he wins the presidential election, he would empower the youths and give them more opportunities, stating that the PDP was paving the right path for the country through youth empowerment.
Jonathan equally said it was the young people who would lead the country to the heights it should attain.
He stated that his administration would create opportunities for the youths and give them leadership positions to prepare them for the future, saying the older generation needs to give the younger generation a place to prove their worth.
Speaking at the rally, the state Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, said he was not sympathetic to the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, adding that Buhari truncated his political career in 1984.
Aliyu said though he had long forgiven him (Buhari), he upset him in the past for truncating his political career.
“Some think we are sympathetic to Buhari, I am not sympathetic to him because I also had my political career in 1983 truncated by him.
“Then, I was elected into the House of Representatives but his taking over power truncated my career but I have forgiven him and was able to use the period to pursue my masters and PhD degrees.”
Aliyu also stated that Buhari might be admired for his personal qualities but those qualities do not translate into public policies.
“We may admire Buhari for his honesty but believe me, those qualities do not translate into public politics and the way the society is contained.
Aliyu challenged those who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to relinquish all they acquired while in the party if they claim that the party is bad.
“Anyone who says the party is bad should leave all they got from the party. I believe in loyalty, I am a PDP man and if I had left PDP, I would have resigned because my mandate was given to me under the PDP.
Until the clarification, there had been reports that Aliyu was sympathetic to Buhari.