Former Military President of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has spoken on the need for credible and robust opposition in a constitutional democratic country like Nigeria, noting that the robust engagement of the ruling party by the minority in the National Assembly remains the seasoning ingredient of democracy.
General Babangida spoke on Tuesday, 6 August, while playing host to the Minority Leader of the Nigeria Federal House of representative, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and Members of the Minority caucus of the House, who paid him a courtesy at his Minna hilltop residence.
IBB as he is popularly addressed, emphasised that democracy cannot thrive in the absence of credible opposition and while charging the Minority caucus of the Federal House of Representatives to put the interest of the nation first above their personal interests in the collective effort of building a virile country, expressed confidence that the Minority caucus under the leadership of Hon. Ndudi Elumelu in the House of Representatives, will be hallmarked by progressive participation and engagement and the nation will witness constructive and purposeful opposition that is geared towards development and sustenance of democracy
The former military president then prayed for the Leader and members of the Minority caucus and admonished them to be focused and united in the discharge of their duties, stressing that the Federal House of Representatives remain a critical organ for the realization of the democratic aspiration of the Nigerians.
Earlier in the visit, the Minority leader of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu had informed their distinguished host, that the Minority Caucus of the House was in the elder statesman’s house to appreciate him for the fatherly role he played in resolving the minority leadership crisis in the house, affirming that the minority caucus has been fully integrated into the collective resolve to continue to build a virile House that Nigerians will continue to be proud of.
Fielding questions with Journalists after the visit, Elumelu said that the relationship between the ruling Party and the Opposition Parties in the House of Representatives remains very cordial, adding that they will continue to give constructive criticism and deliver good dividends of democracy to the people.
“On the floor of the House, we work to ensure we give the people the returns for voting for us. What is expected of us is not to be antagonistic, but to give robust and constructive criticism where the need arises,” he stated.
The Minority Leader, further noted that the House of Representatives under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has vowed to take its oversight functions seriously, stating that there will be checks and balances, not only to ensure that every money that is appropriated goes into the right channel as stipulated in the provision of the budget, but most importantly, with a view to assuring that the people feel the impact of good governance, which the 9th House of Representatives is determined to deliver to Nigerians.