â€¢ President pays little or no cognisance to re-election, says aide
By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja with agency report
Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose and former Edo State Commissioner for Information, Kassim Afegbua, have again called on President Muhammadu Buhari to step aside.
The governor said the insecurity and economic problems in the country were indications that the president lacks the know-how to be at the helm of the affairs of the country.
In a statement issued by Lere Olayinka, his spokesman, the governor said the abduction of 105 pupils of Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, and Nigeriaâ€™s regression in Transparency Internationalâ€™s perception of corruption report were further proof that the president needs to â€œtake a bow.â€
He said: â€œPresident Buhari promised Nigerians that he would bring back the missing Chibok girls and defeat Boko Haram within three months. After more than 32 months in office, Boko Haram is still killing Nigerians, with herdsmen also on killing spree.
â€œPainfully, the same Boko Haram they claimed to have defeated suddenly became strong enough to kidnap over 100 students. Now, Nigeria is not only looking for the remaining Chibok girls, another over 100 innocent students have joined, this is unacceptable.
â€œFunny enough, a few days ago, the president called on all Nigerians to be prepared to pay the â€˜ultimate priceâ€™ for the progress and unity of the country and I wish to ask him what other price he wants Nigerians to pay.
â€œAlready, Nigerians are sacrificing their lives by getting killed while seeking what to eat. Some have even committed suicide. Yet, the same president who is enjoying all the benefits of his office is calling on Nigerians to forego personal pleasures and pay the ultimate price.â€
Fayose further said the president has nothing to campaign with ahead of the 2019 elections.
â€œWhen President Buhari mounts the campaign podium, what will he tell Nigerians? Will he tell Nigerians that corruption and insecurity has not worsened than it was in 2015? Will the president say that Nigerians deserve to be buying petrol that they were buying at N86 per litre in 2015 at N180 now?
â€œIs President Buhari going to justify that within 30 months, Nigeriaâ€™s debt that was N12.06 trillion in 2015 increased by over N10 trillion?â€
On his part, Afegbua said if he were President Buhariâ€™s son, he would have graciously advised his father not to re-contest the 2019 presidential election but go home and rest.
Afegbua who is also the spokesman of the former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), therefore advised the president not to run for second term if he were his son.
According to The Cable, he said former President Olusegun Obasanjo was right to have said the Buhari-led administration is nepotic.
â€œIf President Buhari is my father, I will graciously advise him. I will say, â€˜Daddy, it is time to go home and manage the rest of your life. It is time to leave the stage where people will be abusing youâ€™. I will not bring out my dad to be so vilified if I were to be his son.â€
â€œSo it is not about changing policies, it is about the fact that this is the age of retirement, this is the age of having more time for yourself and family than committing to public service.
â€œWhen Babangida clocked 70, I was one of those who prevailed on him to quit partisan politics. We prepared a statement for him at a public event in Abuja, he announced his retirement from partisan politics. That is the hallmark of a statesman,â€ he said.
Afegbua who is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said Nigeria â€œcannot afford the luxuryâ€ of a presidentÂ whose doctors have advised him to â€œeat more and sleep more.â€
He said: â€œNow the president has told us that his doctors told him to eat more and sleep more. But this country needs a president who will be awake when the country is sleeping. Or who will be awake when the country is awake. India is awake at night, 24 hours because they want to catch up with lost time.
â€œWe cannot afford the luxury of having a president who will sleep when we have insecurity everywhere, herdsmen here and there. We need a president that has the capacity to go round and preach peace to all the ethnic groups.
Meanwhile, President Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo pay little or no cognisance to re-election bid, a presidential aide, Ismael Ahmed, said in Abuja at the weekend.
Ahmed, a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Social Investment Programme (SIP), who made this disclosure while addressing journalists along with the Special Adviser to the President on SIP, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, said both the president and his deputy were more pre-occupied with the wellbeing of Nigerians than any re-election.
According to Ahmed, the implementation of SIP had provided a veritable platform for economic growth at the grassroots to the extent that the success recorded thereof is part of the package that All Progressives Congress (APC) can showcase ahead of elections.
However, he said notwithstanding, the focus of the programme is not about the search for re-election but rather about poverty reduction, wealth distribution, insisting that both the president and vice-president hardly bother about re-election but are rather more concerned about the interests of citizens.
â€œI think even though this is a political promise, it came from a manifesto of a political party. The implementation is far from being just political. The implementation is for all Nigerians. When we set out and were campaigning in 2015, we didnâ€™t say what we are going to do is going to be solely for political reasons.
â€œThe president and vice-president are more committed to the electorate rather than elections and are concerned about the future rather than just next one year. So, this is entirely about the country itself and not just for political reasons. But if you are talking about what we can leverage on, there are a lot of successes in SIP. We are engaging 73,000 cooks that are growing rural economy. They are buying from local farmers.â€
He added: â€œTherefore, this is growing the rural economy…We have reduced the number of out of school children in the last one or two years. We have been implementing the school feeding Programme. Engaging 200,000 young unemployed graduates that are receiving N30,000 a month. Those are successes in itself.
â€œSo, if we are looking for things to leverage on, stamp our chests and storm the political campaigns and say we should be voted again, we have a lot of success stories to tell but that is not the entirety and essence of this programme. The essence of this programme is to reduce poverty and to distribute wealth as much as we can. The president and vice-president care less about the elections like I said. They care more about the citizens.â€