Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, who was reported to have turned down President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for a breakfast meeting, has denied ever receiving any invitation from the President, let alone rejecting it.
Following on the heels of the Presidency’s denouncement and a full retraction of the ‘false’ report accompanied with an apology, the gap-toothed, self-styled ‘evil genius’ in a statement from his office yesterday, stated that he had respect for the office of the President and therefore, could not have rejected any invitation to have breakfast with the Mr. Jonathan.
Babangida recalled that since Mr. Jonathan assumed office, he had paid him two visits only and had a good relationship with him therefore; he had no cause to have rejected an invitation to have breakfast with the President.
The statement reads: “Former President Ibrahim Babangida, in his usual humility, respects the person and office of the President of the country, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. There was no time the President requested for a breakfast meeting with General IBB, let alone turned down by the former President. In fact, former President IBB had visited President Goodluck Jonathan more than twice since his assumption of office, meetings which afforded the two leaders the opportunity to brainstorm on the challenges confronting the country.”
Faulting the report for portraying him and Mr. Jonathan as having bad blood between them which he said is unfair, the statement said: “Having served this country before and knowing the enormity of the challenges of governance, General Babangida will be more than willing to have unconditional breakfast meeting or any other meeting for that matter with the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. While General IBB will be looking forward to any of such invitation now and in the near future, it is important and appropriate on the part of the media to always cross-check their facts correctly before publishing sensational headlines at the detriment of bona fide citizens of Nigeria, especially that of the President.”
The statement added that as a trained military officer, Babangida is “equipped with discipline and patriotism.”
Babangida said with his orientation, he would “honour an invitation from his ward Councillor without equivocation, let alone an invitation from the number one citizen of Nigeria.”
The statement stated that if there was any reason for Babangida to refuse any invitation, he would “in his humble manner, formally inform his host or guest the reason why,” adding: “The publication under reference therefore, is utterly out of place and a concocted one aimed at putting the two elder statesmen in bad light. We hope the media will take correction and reflect these views accordingly and with similar prominence.”