Buhari, Governance And Race For 2019 | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buhari, Governance And Race For 2019

Posted: Mar 31, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Augustine Adah

The 2019 presidential election may be three years away, but some politicians have started subtle preparation for the race which is already unsettling the All Progressives Congress (APC). At the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the party held in Abuja recently, John Odigie Oyegun, National Chairman of the party declared that there is no vacancy in Aso Rock come 2019. “With Buhari contesting in 2019, those who have been squabbling will now have to queue up behind him and put the interest of the party ahead,” the statement declared.
The statement came amidst rumours that some politicians especially those who from the north are already jostling to succeed Buhari in 2019, if he decides not to re-contest for second term. Independent investigation revealed that the ongoing rift between Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso, immediate past governor of Kano State and his successor Abdullahi Ganduje could be traced to Kwankwaso’s interest to succeed Buhari come 2019. The former Kano State governor who came second during the last presidential primaries of the party conducted in Lagos still nurse the ambition to contest the presidential election come 2019. The subtle scheming which analysts described as too early was almost becoming an embarrassment to the party which prompted Odigie-Oyegun, and other leaders had to issue a statement claiming that there is no vacancy in Aso Rock come 2019.
The statement analysts believed was to douse unnecessary tension which was already gathering among political leaders and interest groups in the party. During the presidential campaign, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, former governor of Niger State and chairman Northern Governors Forum disclosed that Buhari signed only one term pact with leaders of APC. Aliyu said the APC never wanted Buhari as their presidential candidate but decided to field him when he agreed to serve a term and return power to the South West. This, according to him, would negate the spirit of zoning that currently operates in Nigerian politics.
“I was speaking to one of the presidential candidates and he told me that the bullion vans came that night to distribute money to produce Buhari because he promised them that he was going to do one term and hand over power to the southwest. Definitely, he wants to short-change the north” Aliyu said.
But the party in a swift reaction described the statement by Aliyu as untrue and urged him to provide the copy of the agreement if he is privy to it. It is believed in many political circle that such revelation by Aliyu and the comment by Buhari that he wished he was elected president at a younger age is an indication that the man may not dabble into 2019 presidential election.

A chieftain of the party who did not want his name mentioned in print told Independent that President Buhari is not pleased with those who are unnecessarily dragging him into 2019 presidential election. Buhari who is known to be a committed Muslim feels he is not in position to talk about what would happen in 2019, because it is only the almighty God that can decide that. Moreover, he feels it is too early for one to start talking of 2019 when he was elected for four years and has not spent up to a year. “I can tell you that President Buhari is disturbed over clamour for 2019 when he was elected for four years in office and has not spent even a year,” the source disclosed.

Political observers believe that though it is premature to start talking of 2019 when we are still in 2016, several factors they claimed may decide whether President Buhari would offer himself to re-contest the 2019 presidential election or not. At the moment, the administration which was sworn in 10 months ago is yet to have a full grasp of governance. The fuel scarcity that has almost paralysed the economy and the rising cost of living has made lives becoming unbearable for ordinary Nigerians. The inability of the government to bring succor to Nigerians since assumption of office has brought a drop in popularity of the present administration in a survey conducted by different groups in the past few days.
Though the present government seems to have made modest achievements in its war against corruption and insurgency, the problem of how to fix the economy has remain the greatest challenge before it. Whatever promise or statement by Buhari on 2019 presidential election may not be what Nigerians are interested in at the moment because it may not add value to their lives when the administration elected for afour year term is yet to deliver on its promises.
Many Nigerians may not forget in a hurry the recent controversy over the N5, 000 stipends promised unemployed Nigerians. While the party promised during its presidential campaigns as part of its social welfare promised to pay the stipends to unemployed graduates in the country, the presidency on its part recently denied that President Buhari never made such promise and possibly attributed it to a party statement which Buhari may not be aware of. Many Nigerians regard such denial as a renege of promise made by APC government.
Though Abiodun Salami, Assistant Publicity Secretary of Lagos State chapter of APC claimed he is not competent to speak on the matter because it is a national matter, the claim that there is division in the party was proved wrong when the leaders of the party gathered in Abuja to celebrate the birthday anniversary of Bola Tinubu. “There is no truth that the crisis between Kwankwaso and the governor of Kano State is because of the race for 2019 elections and it is causing ripples in the party,” he said.
Alhaji Umar Usman, a political scientist, told Independent that instead of wasting energy to discuss on whether Buhari would re- contest or not in 2019, the leadership of the party should assist Mr. President to rescue the country from the present economic trauma and general insecurity across the country. “I don’t know why the leadership of the party is more interested in power instead of what to do with the power. Things are not moving well and almost everybody is feeling the hardship. What is the relevant of power when it cannot be translated into better living for the people,” he said.
It would be recalled that Buhari who stated that 2011 presidential election would be his last attempt to be president of the country, could not keep his word when he was persuaded to join the last presidential election in the country. Judging by such antecedent, what statement that may emanate from Buhari at this time or his loyalists may not be a true reflection of what would happen in 2019 because Mr. President may decide to change his mind at that time. For now, 2019 may not be on his card as he is overwhelmed by the wrath he met on assumption in office and still thinking on how he can make a change to happen as promised. Independent reliable gathered that Buhari on assumption in office in May was shocked by what he met and told those who are closed to him that he would have refused the temptation to contest the presidential election if he had the complete picture of the rot perpetuated by previous administrations especially the immediate past one. The onus is on the leadership of the party to put politics aside and work to ensure the party succeeds in its promise to do better than the previous government.