President Muhammadu Buhari met with all living former Nigerian heads of state on Friday, October 23 to discuss the state of the nation.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, revealed that all those who had ruled the country, and who were still alive, turned out for the virtual meeting hosted by President Buhari.
At the meeting, the opening remarks were given by General Gowon who thanked President Buhari for accepting to host the meeting and said what had started peacefully, and now taken over by miscreants was of great concern to them.
He said he wished the youths had stood down after their initial requests had been granted by the government.
Addressing his colleagues, President Buhari made a comprehensive brief on all that had happened since the protests began, up to his address to the nation, which had come up only the previous night.
He enumerated what the government had been doing to meet the needs of youths, and make life better for them.
The president said what started as a legitimate protest by youths was hijacked and misdirected by enemies of the country.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the activities of hoodlums who hijacked the protests should be condemned.
Speaking, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida condoled with the families of those who died in the protests and riots but expressed concern on the quality of intelligence available to the security agencies.
His words: “With adequate intelligence, some of these things can be nipped in the bud. I commend the government for the efforts so far, to end the protests.”
Chief Ernest Shonekan said preventive actions were to be considered for the future, rather than curative.
He added: “Please call us for more of these meetings. We need to frequently discuss very important national issues.”
General Abdulsalami Abubakar also talked about the need for intelligence gathering and synergy among the security agencies.
He canvassed more interaction with the international community so that they can adequately understand what is going on in Nigeria.
Dr Goodluck Jonathan commended the broadcast of the previous night and said the root cause of the crisis had been with us far before the advent of the current administration, adding that it may last into future governments, except some immediate steps were taken.
President Buhari rounded off the meeting with remarks, thanking all the former leaders for their contributions, which he said had all been well noted.