Former Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka, has urged Nigerians to reject calls for military intervention, stressing that democracy remained the best option for Nigeria.
He enjoined the citizenry to rather fight for deepening of democracy as military intervention would not bring good tidings for the country.
Speaking at the 60th birthday National Dialogue in honour of Prof. Udenta O. Udenta, The Nation reported that Chidoka also advised Nigerians to continue struggle for free and transparent electoral process and push for constitutional and moral reforms capable of moving the country forward.
He said, “I was a young student activist and attended some of the meetings where the decision to support a military intervention in 1993 was canvassed. After Abacha came to power and the struggle to reinstate democracy started, mayhem was let loose on civil society and politicians.
“I located Fred Eno, Abiola’s Personal Assistant in Enugu Prison months after he was arrested without any information. Our late Chancellor at Eastern Mandate Union Dr. Arthur Nwankwo and Prof Udenta were in detention when Gen. Abacha died.
“All those who supported the military intervention in 1993 paid dearly for it. Military rule delivered economic retrogression and led to the “lost decade” of the 1990s.
“Democracy is our best option. Nigerians should reject calls for military intervention as it would not augur well for the country”
According to former Federal Road Safety Corps Corps Marshal, “By 1999 our foreign reserves stood at $3 billion, economic growth averaged two percent, and we were a pariah nation and highly indebted to foreign lenders.
“After eight years of President Obasanjo, our foreign reserve was over $60 billion, and our balance sheet was clean after an unprecedented debt relief and economic growth at the rate of 6% annually.”
Chidoka, who was Minister under President Goodluck Jonathan, said that economic growth under the Jonathan administration was strong at over 7% and delivered positive economic outcomes across various sectors.
“The military delivered death, killing Kudirat Abiola, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Alfred Rewane, and many others. They muzzled the press and destroyed our national institutions like NLC, NANS, and religious organisations. Their record of economic outcomes was abysmal and set the stage for poverty in the land.
“The mood in the country is reminiscent of 1993 when the democratic movements, labour, and leading political parties called for military intervention to remove Ernest Shonekan and install MKO Abiola after a coup.
“That was a strategic error that brought Gen Abacha to power and the consequential damage, death, arrest, imprisonment, and forced exile that followed. Let us not repeat that mistake.
“Nigerians must continue the struggle for a free and transparent electoral process, holding government accountable, pushing for constitutional and moral reforms that would move our country forward despite the terrible outcomes of the past eight years,” he added.