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Buhari’s 2019 re-election ambition: Matters arising - Alimi Banire

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Finally, the man whom everyone had been expecting to speak has finally spoken up on what’s his political ambition in the Nigerian polity come 2019. That man is no order than President Muhammadu Buhari. He spoke up live on Monday, April 9, 2018 in Abuja at the headquarters of the ruling All Progressives Congress in Abuja during the party’s National Executive Committee meeting. We were told that Buhari declared to the composite membership of the APC’s NEC that he would like to seize the opportunity of the gathering to formally seek to make known his intentions to vie for the 2019 presidential election towards the quest for a second term in office.

He said it was apt that it had to be first the composite membership of his party’s NEC that he was going to formally have to bring this to their attention. This article therefore seeks to look at the implications of Buhari’s 2019 presidential ambition for a second term.

Before going into the details, it is incumbent on me to quickly guide the readers down the memory lane on the background behind Buhari’s ascendancy to power in 2015. His ascendancy to power in 2015 was anchored on a campaign of “Change” i.e. changing almost the old order of things in the Nigerian polity, according to him and his party, which hitherto had not served the interest of Nigerians well. He campaigned on three main strengths having successfully, I guess, embarked on a Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats research of his political abilities, competencies and efficiencies to deliver on the thrusts of his political “Change” manifesto which he sold to Nigerians to win their votes. His political manifesto was anchored on three main thresholds i.e. fixing the economy of Nigeria which at that time had begun to encounter signs of stress; an all-out war against corruption, by deploying all known conventional techniques and apparatus with the collaboration of the already established state institutions set up to fight graft; and to bring an end to the criminality of the insurgents in the North-East of Nigeria. Has Buhari succeeded in the delivery of his core three-fold political manifesto and indeed on the thrusts of the entirety of his political campaign promises to have prompted him to desire to want to seek for a second term in office?

Well, I will like to state here that I won’t go into the details about the rationality or propriety of Buhari’s formal declaration to contest the 2019 presidential election, hinging this on how successful he has been thus far in the delivery of his political manifesto. My desire in this article is to seek to highlight the immediate implications behind this formal declaration of Buhari to contest the 2019 presidential election to the Nigerian polity.

Now that the person whom everyone had been expecting to speak up on what’s his ambition for the 2019 presidential election has finally spoken, it’s gladdening to note that the heat which had enveloped the polity would now begin to evaporate bringing a new breath of air as there is no more doubt as to whether he would be contesting or not the 2019 presidential election.

President Buhari reportedly said during his formal declaration that his decision to contest the 2019 presidential election, in pursuit of a second constitutionally allowed term in office, was largely built on clarion calls from different quarters, individuals, groups of individuals, interest groups and organisations across the country who had seen and appreciated the import of a Buhari Presidency for the past three years. Buahri’s statement cannot be said to be farfetched from the truth as there has been a flurry of activities in the past few months by different individuals, groups of individuals, interest groups and organisations under different nomenclatures calling and urging the President to seek re-election come 2019. From the calls from interest groups, organisations and individuals from the President’s home state of Katsina, to the calls from Kano State; to those of interest groups in the South-East zone and to that by the so-called Arewa pastors during their recent visit to the Presidential Villa last week.

Many of these interest groups and organisations had openly talked about what kind of actions they intended to take in order to have Buhari hearken to their calls. One could only begin to imagine what might have happened if the President had not heeded to the clarion calls. The palpable fear and anxiety that have rented the air in the polity as to what might happen should anything restrain or stand in the way of Buhari to declare his interest to run for a second term should now begin to fizzle away.

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