By Wisdom Silas
Former Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka, has issued a strong advisory to Nigerians, urging them to firmly reject any calls for military intervention and steadfastly uphold democracy as the preferred system of governance.
Chidoka passionately encouraged Nigerians to champion the cause of democratic growth, emphasizing that democracy remains the most suitable option for the nation, far superior to military intervention.
He made these remarks during the 60th birthday National Dialogue held in honor of Prof. Udenta O. Udenta. Chidoka asserted that military intervention would not bode well for the country.
Chidoka therefore, called upon the citizens of Nigeria to persist in their struggle for a free and transparent electoral process while pushing for constitutional and moral reforms capable of propelling the nation forward.
He recounted past experiences, stating, “I was a young student activist and attended some of the meetings where the decision to support military intervention in 1993 was discussed.
“After Abacha assumed power, and the campaign to reinstate democracy began, chaos was unleashed on civil society and politicians.”
Chidoka highlighted the plight of key figures during that era, such as Fred Eno, Abiola’s Personal Assistant, who he located in Enugu Prison months after his arrest without any information.
He mentioned that Dr. Arthur Nwankwo and Prof. Udenta were in detention when Gen. Abacha passed away.
“All those who supported military intervention in 1993 paid dearly for it. Military rule brought economic regression and ushered in the ‘lost decade’ of the 1990s,” Chidoka remarked.
He reiterated, “Democracy is our best option. Nigerians should reject calls for military intervention as it would not augur well for the country.”
Chidoka also provided a historical perspective on Nigeria’s economic progress, saying, “By 1999, our foreign reserves stood at $3 billion, economic growth averaged two percent, and we were a pariah nation highly indebted to foreign lenders.
” After eight years of President Obasanjo, our foreign reserves exceeded $60 billion, and our balance sheet was clean after an unprecedented debt relief, with economic growth averaging 6% annually.”
During President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, where Chidoka served as a minister, he noted that economic growth was robust, exceeding 7% and delivering positive outcomes across various sectors.
Chidoka concluded by cautioning against the echoes of 1993 when calls for military intervention were made.
He called it a “strategic error” that brought Gen. Abacha to power, leading to detrimental consequences, including deaths, arrests, imprisonment, and forced exile.
“Nigerians must continue the struggle for a free and transparent electoral process, hold the government accountable, and advocate for constitutional and moral reforms to propel our country forward, despite the challenging outcomes of the past eight years,” Chidoka emphasized.
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