By Obinna Unaeze
Former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), on Saturday re-echoed his support for a two-party system, and declared that it was the best option toward deepening democracy.
Babangida spoke in Minna, when the Strategy and Inter-Party Affairs Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presented its report on how to move the party forward, to him.
“Gradually, my earlier suggestion about the practice of a two-party system is gradually coming to the fore in the country.
“In 1999, when I was advocating for a two-party system, some of my colleagues had their doubts, but I told them that it provides a choice, which is the first essence of democracy,’’ he said.
He expressed optimism that PDP could still rule for 60 years “provided it can put its house in order”.
The former leader claimed that the PDP was the only political party, whose presence had been felt, known and accepted by the people.
“PDP’s presence is felt not only in Abuja or Lagos, but down to the lowest level.
“If you go to the grassroots, the ordinary man will talk about PDP; that is the asset the party has and should use to spring back to reckoning.
“Already, it is accepted and known. All you have to do is work harder and try to convince the people back to your fold,” he said.
Earlier, Prof. Jerry Gana, chairman of the committee, had urged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to allow opposition political parties to always voice their opinion on issues.
Gana also advised the APC to allow rival parties to develop so as to offer Nigerians other options “at all times”.
“The presence of opposition is key to democratic growth; we must allow Nigerians to listen to the other side,” he said.
He described Babangida as “a visionary leader, who read the future and advocated a two-party system long ago”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that Gana was accompanied by Alhaji Aminu Wali, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Chief Tom Ikimi, Mr Emeka Ihedioha, Prof’. Rufai Alkali and former Niger governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu.