‘Herdsmen need re-orientation’, ‘It’s time for state police’ – five things IBB told Buhari

Less than two weeks after ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo advised President Muhammadu Buhari against seeking re-election in 2019, former military President Ibrahim Babangida has made known his own position.

In a statement on Sunday, Babangida asked Nigerians to co-operate with Buhari until his tenure ends in 2019.

According to him, Nigeria needs a new breed of leadership. He said the time had come to sacrifice “personal ambition” for the “national interest”.

Here are five highlights of the statement:


The former military ruler spoke of herdsmen killings. He listed a number of states where clashes have occurred between farmers and herdsmen. IBB, as he is known by some of his allies, said he is perplexed by “gory themes”. The elder statesman said the incident has left him wondering if truly “this is the same country some of us fought to keep together”. To reorient the minds of the herdsmen, IBB said they must be made to embrace ranching as a new and modern way to herd cattle.


Babangida said since “recycling leadership” experimentation has failed, it was about time a new breed of leadership is ushered in. He said starting from 2019, there is the need to enthrone younger blood into the mainstream of political leadership and that the new breed will comprise youth with passion for leadership. Admitting that the country has made some progress, IBB said the level of progress is not good enough to place Nigeria on the pedestal it craves for. He spoke on the need to “deliberately provoke” systems and models that will put paid to this recycling leadership.


Citing the diverse nature of our society, Babaginda recommended community policing. He said the current policing method cannot yield a new result. “We need to catch up with modern sophistication in crime detection and crime fighting. Due to the peculiarity of our country, we must begin community policing to close the gaps that presently exist in our policing system. We cannot continue to use old methods and expect new results,” he said.


In what seems to be a knock for the anti-corruption campaign of the current administration, IBB said accountability should flow from copious examples. He also recommended plugging the leakages and building systems that will militate against corruption. The ex-military ruler said it goes beyond mere sloganeering. The government of Buhari has been accused of not doing enough in its fight against corruption. “Modern leadership is not just about ‘fighting’ corruption,” he said.


He also said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has performed below expectation. IBB said when the party campaigned with the change mantra, he thought they would device new methods, provoke new initiatives and proffer new ways of addressing developmental problems. Making reference to the party’s manifesto, Babaginda said he thought the APC would have considered the idea of devolution of powers and “tinker with processes that would strengthen and reform the various sectors of the economy”. He said: “We need to begin the process of restructuring both in the letter and spirit of it.”