It was the worst-kept secret on the socio-political circuit. And although the timing took many – especially intended aspirants – by surprise, many Nigerians including this reporter were not shocked when President Muhammadu Buhari declared his intention to seek a second term in office to rule over the worldâ€™s most populous black nation.
PMB, 75 years old, unveiled his intention at a closed-door meeting of members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) held Monday at its national secretariat in Abuja. To him, his decision was a response to the clamour from â€˜citizensâ€™ for him to return for another four years in office.
Back in 2015, this reporter almost came to blows with two of his colleagues both in Lagos and Abuja while insisting that positive change has finally come to Nigeria and that a sitting president of a ruling party can be removed from power by popular vote during the general elections, which eventually happened. However, that die-hard support has wilted in the face of persistent poverty and worsening standards of living for the average citizen.
Even though the president is widely respected as a man of sterling integrity and principle, many of those who voted him into power in 2015, from feelers, are not ready to repeat the same come 2019, unless there is an obvious change in his leadership style backed by positive results in the livelihoods of long-suffering citizens.
While his desire to return to power is his constitutional right under the law, PMB now faces an uphill task to convince the same citizens to return him for a second term next year, as long as the elections remain free and fair. Nigerians are weary and now more wary of empty campaign promises and feeble attempts to deliver dividends of democracyâ€¦warning sign
– Abimbola Akosile