IT WAS A QUESTION OF TIME for Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to make public his interests to seek re-election in 2019 presidential election. Buhari’s body language and comments, and those of his zealous supporters, especially, State Governors, show the president was certain to seek re-election in 2019.
The time came, Monday, when one of the president’s enthusiastic followers, Nasir El-Rufai , a Governor in Nigeria’s Kaduna State, tweeted that the president made his intention to run in 2019 presidential election known in Abuja at the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, National Executive meeting. Today’s announcement of the president’s interest for second term in office ends public speculations whether or not he would seek re-election.
President Buhari’s age is 74 years. His first term has been saddled with poor health and he spent months in the United Kingdom in 2017, seeking medical attention. He seemed better in health at the moment. His almost four years in office has been inundated by Nigerians outcry due to economic hardship, poverty in the land, ever rising killings from herdsmen, armed robberies and kidnappings.
There have been outright criticisms, press statements, comments and letters urging president Buhari to re-think his interest to run for second term in office as Nigeria’s president. Buhari’s military colleagues who gave him overwhelming support that led to his first term victory against incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 – former president Olusegun Obasanjo, military president Ibrahim Banagida, Theophilus Danjuma and Abudusalam Abubakar, do not seem to be at ease with Buhari’s interest to govern Nigeria for another four years.
Prominent voices and the general populace have been visibly opposed to Buhari’s bid for second term. Obasanjo in particular described Buhari’s administration in words such as: “poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed – if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality”, as very much with us today.
Buhari’s government and the ruling party said they accepted Obasanjo’s criticism in good faith, but acknowledged that the government has made significant progress in areas of tackling corruption and fighting insurgency, and meeting other needs of Nigerians.
The choice of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, that Buhari should seek a second term could meet a brick-wall. Can APC whether the storm again heinous opposition against Buhari’s bid? Analysts believe president Buhari could be heading for unprecedented challenge to get a second term in office.