A Call Too Many
The threat by the Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje to go to court if President Muhammadu Buhari refuses to heed the call to seek re-election in 2019 is hypocrisy taken too far, writes Davidson Iriekpen
A new dimension has been added to the call for President Muhammadu Buhari to seek re-election in 2019 with Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State threatening that his government would take legal action if he (Buhari) refuses to seek re-election.
The governor, while addressing journalists in Abuja last Friday on the controversy surrounding tenure extension in the All Progressives Congress (APC) said in order for the president to continue with the good developments that he had started, he needed another four years to consolidate them.
“In Kano, people are saying four plus four, that is they are urging me to contest again. But I too feel that in order to continue with the good development that we have started, development requires some time, and the constitution has given four years and another four years in order to consolidate what one has started.
“I am convinced that I too will seek for second term and people are also urging me to do so. Eventually, it will be left to the people to decide whether I am qualified or not,” the governor said.
On why President Muhammadu Buhari must re-contest in 2019, the governor said: “APC governors want Mr. President to continue. I am happy that it is not the president that said he wants to continue, it is the people that are saying continue, but Mr. President has not made up his mind yet. Kano State Government will take him to court any time he decides not to contest. So we are waiting for him.
“In this country, we saw presidents who spent billions of naira for third term. So what is the ruse about a constitutional second term?”
Recall that the same Ganduje had recently promised Buhari five million votes should he decide to re-contest in 2019 after the president visited Kano recently.
Besides Ganduje, all the governors elected on the platform of the APC and presidential aides have been urging the president to seek another term in office. In their estimation, the president has done well and should run for another term. Even though the president has not made his intention known, the governors are unrelenting in their pressure.
Recently, the Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, disclosed that president’s decision to keep Nigerians in suspense on his re-election bid was a deliberate move to avoid sabotage. He said the president would continue to keep his intention close to his chest because those who are opposed to his re-election can exploit the opportunity of his declaration to sabotage the country.
According to him, declaring ambition about a year to the next election will only give such saboteurs a whole lot of time and period to sabotage the country economically, politically, among others.
“You know the peculiarity of Nigeria particularly now. If the president speaks too early, it’s a problem. There is a lot of sabotage in the country. You have also heard so many have said ‘don’t run.’ So, they want to discourage him from running. Now, if he tells you, ‘I’m going to run,’ and elections are still one year away, it gives them one year to sabotage the entire country from all fronts – politically, socially, economically – they would throw everything at him just to dissuade him from running. So, when you know that, why then do you speak early? I think it makes a lot of sense for you then to keep things close to your chest till it is time for you to then say, ‘ok, I’m running’ by which time they can do less damage,” he said.
Although the president’s body language has in recent times given indication that he may be interested in re-election in 2019, he has continued to keep Nigeria guessing. An instance was when he paid a presidential visit to Kano last year, he did not mince words to say that “Kano is in my pocket.”
Also while on a visit to Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire last year, the president said he was coming late to the meeting with the Nigerian community because he had insisted on coming with two governors because doing so could be a vote for him in future.
“First, I want to apologise for keeping you for too long seating. This is because I insisted on the governors attending this meeting. This is why I came along with them so that when we are going to meet you, when you are going to meet the rest of Nigerians, if you tell them that their governors were in the company of the president, I think that will be another vote for me in the future. I’m very pleased that they were able to turn up,” he had stated.
While Buhari has the constitutional right to seek re-election in 2019, many Nigerians think that he should not seek a second term office due to his poor performance. Lately, former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida and other prominent Nigerians and groups have joined those asking the president not to seek a re-election in 2019.
Though many Nigerians did not expect the current level of sycophancy playing out in the Buhari’s administration and the level it is being taken to, they also feel that members of the APC are not telling the president the truth concerning the true state of affairs in the country.
Besides, a cross section of Nigerians are not pleased with the way members of the APC are going with the re-election bid of the president. They think that the governors mounting pressure on Buhari to seek re-election are doing so for selfish reasons. The governors want to ride on president’s back to secure second term for themselves due to what they see as their poor performance.
Secondly, a cross-section of Nigerians are wondering whether members of the APC are considering the health condition of the president. They wonder if he would be able to cope with the rigour of going to the states to campaign. They also wonder what he will he tell Nigerians that he has achieved on the economy, fight against corruption and fight against Boko Haram that he promised before he assumed power in 2015.
Many Nigerians lost their jobs since Buhari assumed office. On the war against corruption, Nigerians may have seen that it is business as usual as nothing has changed as seen in the Mainagate, Osbornegate and many other scandals that came to light on the president’s watch.
Above all, not only has Boko Haram not been defeated despite the billions of naira spent by the government, Fulani herdsmen and bandits are now on a killing spree. So far, statistics have it that over 12,000 people have been killed in Benue, Adamawa, Plateau, Taraba, Kogi, Edo, Zamfara since 2015 when the president came to power without any clear cut resistance from the government.
Shortly after Buhari won the APC’s presidential ticket in 2015, reports emerged that the president was ill. This became a campaign issue. A majority of those in the opposition had maintained that Buhari was ill, and had been on medication for some time. But this narrative was vigorously contested and denied by Buhari’s handlers. His supporters believed and shared the view that he was as fit as a fiddle. But the concerns did not go away and shortly after his victory at the polls, Buhari had to travel to the United Kingdom for medical attention.
In 2017, Buhari went on what was supposed to be a 10-day vacation to London, the United Kingdom and ended spending some 51 days. Again, the travelled to London on another medical vocation where he spent another 104 days.
Since his return from these trips, not only has the president slowed down considerably, he carefully picks events to attend.
It is on this premise that many Nigerians are urging those pressuring the president to seek re-election to allow him jettison the idea and take care of his health.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has admonished Buhari and the APC to perish any thought of staying in power beyond May 29, 2019. The main opposition party alleged that the APC and the Presidency are desperately resorting to use of fifth columnists in a bid to destabilise its ranks having realised that Nigerians have rejected them.
In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP said the president already knew he had failed, adding that such accounted for why he was no longer confident on issues of 2019 general election. The party said Buhari’s media adviser, Femi Adesina, only confirmed the obvious when he announced the apprehensions being entertained by the president over the 2019 race, adding that he, (President Buhari) must have appropriately assessed and rated his administration as a failure.
It said the president needed not bother about opponents if he had done well in office, warning the APC and the Presidency to end their current attempts to use paid fifth columnists in their failed bid to cause disharmony within the repositioned and rebranded PDP.
“It is instructive to note that the Presidency’s comment is coming after the intimidating PDP mega rally in Dutse, Jigawa state, which sent a clear signal to President Buhari and the APC. If President Buhari had done well in office; if his government had not wrecked our economy; if his government had not damaged our national unity, resulting in the daily bloodletting in our country; if his administration had not betrayed the people and failed in delivering even the littlest of his campaign promises, President Buhari would not be afraid of any opponent ahead of elections as stated by his media aide.
“From Mr. Adesina’s comment, it is clear that the President is fully aware that he has become grossly unpopular and cannot command any electoral value. Both the president and his party must therefore instruct themselves appropriately and completely bury the thought of staying in office beyond May 2019.
“We therefore advise the Presidency and the APC to jettison any plot to force its way using intimidation, coercion and manipulations as such would be firmly resisted by Nigerians.”
Not only has Boko Haram not been defeated despite the billions of naira spent by the government, Fulani herdsmen and bandits are now on a killing spree.