Retired General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, a former military president, on Monday in his Democracy Day message, urged Nigerians to remain united.
In a statement he personally signed on Monday, Babangida restated his commitment to the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria.
He said: “As we celebrate Eighteen years of democracy in our country, Democratic Governance has been polarized along divisive ethnic and religious lines. It is indeed worrisome that active politicians are not adhering to the rule of the game of politics.
“Our political parties since May 29th 1999 have no distinct ideologies with internal squabbles and cross carpeting that is not healthy to our Democracy.
“It is high time we looked once more on the need to build a unique two party structures in the country at this critical period of electioneering year.
“Our journey to Nationhood and Democracy from 1960 to date has been characterized by upheavals and turbulences, yet we must cherish our commitment to remain a united country, in brotherhood and respect for one another.
“We must also appreciate the strength and value of our diversity, with due understanding and recognition of the interests of various ethnic nationalities in our hearts.
“No doubt, Nigeria has had its share of conflicts and political instability, just like many other nations and states, but we have always survived against all odds.
“In our efforts to promote and protect democratic institutions, we should not forget the roles and sacrifices of our gallant armed forces in the checkered history of nation-building.
“Therefore, it would be in our own interest to look for solutions to the problems confronting us as a nation. In whatever circumstance we find ourselves, we must continue to exercise democratic tenants which promote freedom and respect of one another.
“While saluting the resilience of Nigerians in adopting democratic structures across the three-tiers of government for an interrupted period of eighteen years, it is my hope that the general elections next year will further consolidate democratic governance, freedom and security.”