It is now no longer speculative, but real, that President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking reelection as President in 2019.
Addressing the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Abuja on Monday before jetting out to London, President Buhari said he had decided to recontest the Presidency in 2019 in obedience to the wishes of the people.
To many Nigerians, that Président Bahari has declared his intention to recontest, is no longer news since this has been in the air for quite some time. That was why some distinguished personalities like former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida and some other people like them had kicked against his recontesting in 2019, based on their perceived nonperformance of the President since he came to power in 2015.
Nonetheless, performance or nonperformance is a relative term, which depends on one’s perspective. While people like Obasanjo and Babangida and some other Nigérians may consider Buhari not to have performed, some other people on the side of the President, strongly believe that the man has performed superlatively. This will be well tested in 2019.
Which ever way, it is the constitutional right of President Buhari to seek reelection on completion of his first four years in office. Other Presidents before him had done the same, while one of them had even tried to extend his tenure beyond the period allowed by the constitution. It is however a different matter if any of these people had succeeded or failed in théir quest.
We will commend President Buhari for not listening to side talks as well as for refusing to succumb to blackmail or intimidation by coming out boldly to seek reelection. This has proved him to be a brave and courageous soldier.
Now, that President Buhari has declared his intention to recontest, political activities in the country is going to be heightened, and all the institutions of governance completely grounded and every attention focussed on how to win the election. The propaganda machinery of the government will be upbeat, making false claims, and smearing other people in the process.
In the same vein, the internal war both within the ruling party as well as between the executive and the legislature will burst in the open. Those for and against Buhari among members of the APC will come out to openly challenge hum. There are likely going to be decampings and realignment of forces.
In the National Assembly, there is going to be open declaration of war against the Presidency. Already, the legislature is complaining that they were not part of the $1 billion which the Executive had mapped out for fighting insurgency. We are nearing the end of the first quarter of 2018 and the budget presented to the National Assembly by the President since November last year is yet to see the light of day.
The opposition parties will come out with full force to challenge the President. Already, they have a full dossier on him, from his advancing age, to his failing health, to his perceived myopic and vindictive politics, to his lopsidedness in fighting corruption and the alleged shielding of corrupt officials in his government, to the heightening security challenges in the country, in particular, the dreaded Fulani herdsmen, as well as to the general perception of nonperformance of the administration, even from his own constituency, the North, etc.
As things now stand, if there were five people that supported Buhari in 2015, two of them are definitely no longer with him this time around. Indeed, Buhari must have to work hard to retain his seat in 2019.