2019: Why Buhari delays to declare intention — Presidency
Despite the plethora of calls from loyalists of President Buhari to declare for 2019 election, the Presidency has said President Buhari’s silence on making his intention known was to prevent the opponent of his government from sabotaging the country.
President Buhari has also said the reason for his proposed visit to River State was to condole with the families of those affected by various killings in the state.
The President had kept his party members in suspense on whether he will seek re-election in 2019, even though some prominent Nigerians such as former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, had advised him not to seek another term.
But the Presidency said if the President spoke too early about his ambition, it might give ammunition to unnamed opponents to throw everything at him and sabotage the country.
President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, in an interview in Abuja, weekend, said the President could not speak about his ambition now since the election in 2019 was still a year away because of the consequences that could follow if he declared his intention.
The presidential spokesman, who was asked when President Buhari will declare for 2019, said: “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.
“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.”
Recall that President Buhari had in November last year while speaking with some members of the Nigerian community in Cote d’Ivoire said he came to the meeting with two governors so that their people may vote for him in future.
The President who arrived late at the meeting with the Nigerian community had said, “First, I want to apologize for keeping you for too long. 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.”
The Presidency also explained the President’s proposed visit to Rivers State which Governor Nyesom Wike has faulted because, according to him, it was based on wrong premise.
The Presidency had listed Rivers among the states the President would visit over killings in parts of the country, most of which is blamed on herdsmen but Governor Wike had claimed that he was not formally informed of any such visit and that the state was not among states in the country under siege as a result of herdsmen attacks.
But Adesina explained that President Buhari’s intention was to condole with the families of those affected by various killings in the state.
He recalled the Omoku killings and the beheading of other victims whose heads were taken away by their assailants.
He said: “If he (Wike) doesn’t understand, the rest of the country understands.We understand, other Nigerians understand. Even people in Rivers State understand because on New Year Day, a minimum of 24 people were killed in Omoku.”
He said, “If he (Wike) doesn’t understand, the rest of the country understands. We understand, other Nigerians understand. Even people in Rivers state understand because on New Year/New Year Day, a minimum of 24 people were killed in Omoku.
“So, is that not crisis? And can you count the number of people that have been beheaded in Rivers state in recent times?
“People will be killed and heads will be cut off and the assailants will go away with the heads. So, can anybody say that there is no security issue in that kind of place?
“It’s left to the governor. He’s the chief security officer. If he says there’s no security crisis in his state, good luck to him.”
On what will become of the trip if the governor does not welcome it, the presidential aide stated: “I am sure he will be formally informed of a date. So, if he now says he doesn’t want the visit, it’s left to him and the federal government to decide the next step.
“But the president is visiting so that he can condole with people who lost their loved ones, 24 people minimum, were killed in Omoku.
“So, those people are the reason. Those people and the many beheaded; relations of those beheaded and their heads taken away, are the reason why the president is visiting the state.”