Vanguard Newspaper 15 April 2018
Page 10—SUNDAY Vanguard, April 15 , 2018 BUHARI’S 2019 DECLARATION Game Changer or Game Over? By Emmanuel Aziken, Henry Umoru, Ben Agande, Festus Ahon, Marie-Therese Nanlong and Ike Uchechukwu It was an irony of sorts coming from Senator Ovie Omo- Agege when he told Sunday Vanguard that President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration for a second term was a game-changer. “The declaration is a game changer, we now have our work cut out for us. We have to hit the ground running,” he said following last Monday’s declaration by the President that he would seek reelection”, Omo-Agege had said The declaration was, of course, a game changer for the Delta senator as he was suspended from the Senate for his unbridled enthusiasm for Buhari’s second term by his colleagues. Even as Omo-Agege is now engaged in battle with his colleagues and constituents over his role in the Buhari second term saga, mixed reactions have trailed the Monday declaration by the President. Buhari had seized the opportunity of the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to inform the senior party stakeholders of his intention to seek a second term in office. The announcement at that forum was largely unexpected given the internal storm that had, at that time, gripped the party over the future of the John Odigie-Oyegunled National Working Committee, NWC. After the announcement, the President, same day, proceeded to the United Kingdom ,leaving behind a trail of reactions to his parting shot. The reactions have focused mainly on the achievements of the administration against the promises it made. Other points of focus are on the health of the President, his application of federal character in appointments, the economy and state of security. Expectedly, reactions to the Buhari’s second term declaration varied according to political and personal proclivities. Among those who welcomed the re-election We will be challenging our opponents to a contrast of the last three years with the last 16 years of failed governance by the opposition bid was Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, Senators Omo-Agege, Sabi Abdullahi and Abu Ibrahim. While Lalong and the APC senators spoke excitedly about the President’s declaration, outside the corridors of power, the announcement was met with either indifference or sheer hostility. Buhari’s second term bid has saved APC - Senator Abu Ibrahim, APC, Katsina South If Buhari decided not to contest, the APC meeting (NEC meeting) would have ended up in a combative situation, it would have been an explosive situation. We will engage the South and other parts of the country. The meeting would have been very serious and it would have been very difficult to control. I was joyous, elated, I think that was the right thing to do. If Buhari decided not to contest, it would likely have led to disintegration of the APC; it would have created confusion. I want to say that the declaration saved us that confusion. In Nigeria, we are on the path of recovery, we are on the path of rebirth. If this gentleman continues for the next four years, Nigeria will be better. Of course, there are problems here and there, but the President has addressed most of them, he has dealt with Boko Haram, we are happy to have achieved that. He will consolidate in second term - Senator Sabi Abdullahi, APC, Niger North I am pleased and happy that our President has formally declared; ending all speculations. I join other party members and loyalists in the joy of this development and pray that Almighty Allah will grant him good health, patience, tolerance and wisdom to continue to steer the ship of state to peace and prosperity for all Nigerians by consolidating on the successes recorded in economic restoration and growth, security of lives and property and the fight against corruption. This is the game changer -Senator Omo- Agege, APC, Delta Central A very good development. Though not surprised, the declaration is a game changer. We now have our work cut out for us. We have to hit the ground running. •President Buhari If we are allowed to put out the real narrative, that he has delivered on his major campaign promises of arresting the security challenges posed by Boko Haram, improving on the power situation in the country, improving and stabilising the economy and addressing the welfare of the weakest and most vulnerable in the society, the President will win and indeed win big. We will be challenging our opponents to a contrast of the last three years with the last 16 years of failed governance by the opposition. President has proved himself to be a democratic – Governor Lalong of Plateau The declaration is an indication of the President’s firm belief in democracy and the rule of law, the President has equally demonstrated that he is willing to submit himself to democratic processes and the will of the people rather than submit to the wishes of a few. The President made it clear that his declaration is as a result of a popular clamour by Nigerians thereby reinforcing his belief in listening and rendering service to the people. So for us, it is a positive response to our wishes and an affirmation that the President is a listening leader who is committed to doing what is in the public interest. Mixed feelings outside the corridors of power National Chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, was indifferent to Buhari’s second term bid Others, including a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mba Ukweni, and a former PDP governorship aspirant in Delta State, were, however, more hostile and opposed to the president’s re-election bid. Senator Ahmed Makarfi, on his part, said that it would have been a shock if the President decided not to contest. In an interview with Sunday Vanguard, Makarfi said, “It should be news only if the announcement had been that he will not seek reelection. For the PDP, our expectation has always been that he will run; so nothing changes in our resolve to do the needful”. The Chairman of the national leadership of the opposition party said the PDP was prepared for the 2019 presidential contest and was ready to give him a fight in the interest of the country. In his reaction, the Kaduna State spokesman for the PDP, Mohammed Rigassa, said the declaration of Buhari was a nonissue. Ukweni (SAN) said it wasn’t a surprise that the President declared his intention to re-contest in 2019 despite his abysmal performance. In an interview with Sunday Vanguard, he lamented the poor performance of the administration, saying that if Buhari would be in office for a second term, inefficiency will continue. His words: “If President Buhari wins the 2019 election, inefficiency will continue, I don’t see any magic to be done if he wins the 2019 election, there is not going to be any change than what we have now. It is the nature of our people; it is a nature of a black man to perpetuate himself in power.”
SUNDAY VANGUARD, APRIL 15, 2018, PAGE 11 2019 Buhari's friends are not telling him the truth — Okogie By Sam Eyoboka ARCHBISHOP Emeritus of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, has cautioned politicians he says are manipulating President Muhammadu Buhari to seek reelection next year to take time to gauge the mood of the nation or risk plunging Nigeria into an “unnecessary revolution”. Okogie, however, affirmed the prerogative of any human being to aspire to be anything in life, saying, “Every citizen of Nigeria has the freewill to do whatever he or she desires to do. So, as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he can hearken to the voices of people to aspire to any height. “But I know that the voice of the people is the voice of God. And I can tell that the general opinion of Nigerians, going by what I have been reading in newspapers, is that he (President Buhari) has not done well. And for him to come from such background and wants to re-contest for another four-year mandate is absolutely left to him”. He went on, “But just as he (President Buhari) has the freewill, the people of this country also have the freewill to elect according to their conscience. Like I said, the popular assessment of his performance in the last three years is dismal and the generality of the people will prefer that he retires and allow other Nigerians to make their contribution to the nation’s development. “They don’t want to see him in the saddle again because he has performed poorly, but if he wants to force himself there, I don’t know how he will do it....but I can only say good luck. “You can even see it from the opposition party’s standpoint. For example, the APC has been releasing lists of alleged looters of the nation’s treasury and the opposition party, the PDP, has consistently raised objections, claiming that some members of the ruling party have been, at different occasions, indicted of corruption, but, up till now, the APC is yet to respond. P D P had asked very salient questions bordering on the so-called list of alleged looters but what has been the response from the APC? The PDP has made very weighty allegations but they not responded. If they are convinced of their anti-corruption war, they should openly respond to the questions raised on the alleged looters lists. But so far, there has been no reply from the APC. “I hope they are assuming that Nigerians are sleeping. For example, there are various opinion articles in newspapers, I have sent out a couple to the media which have been published but what has been the response to them? Nothing! Nobody has said a word about all that I have written about in the last couple of months. I want them to react; but thus far, there is no reaction. “I am not a politician, but I can Check the newspapers on a daily basis, there are reports of killing of innocent Nigerians in different parts of the country and the President will not say a word say to you now, that politics in this country has changed drastically. It’s no longer what it used to be. No! Those days are gone for ever. For example, when the former Defence Minister, Gen, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, threw the gauntlet and urged Nigerians to defend themselves when they come under attack by these mindless insurgents, majority of Nigerians supported that call because it reflected the mind-set of the vast majority of the people. “These people, on a daily basis and here and there, are suffering and being killed and our President is not saying anything. The holy book urges us to love our neighbours....are the people being killed on a daily basis not our neighbours? Check the newspapers on a daily basis, there are reports of killing of innocent Nigerians in different parts of the country and the President will not say a word. “Let me tell here and now, if he gets there (re-election) by hook or crook, people will revolt. Mark my word! Even if he wins, people will revolt and Nigeria will not be comfortable with him anymore. Nigeria has changed. It’s no longer a country of yes, yes. No! Not anymore. There will be revolution. Even if he puts somebody they don’t like, they will not accept”. The conversation continued: But there are Nigerians who believe there is no alternative to President Buhari. Do you agree? How can I agree? That is not true. They are flatterers. If we put any other Nigerian in power, he will perform. Why did President Buhari not back the calls from different parts of the country for restructuring? Why? They know what they are doing, but I tell you Nigeria is not for one person or for one region. Nigeria is for us all. I am not a politician but every Nigerian can read me. Like I said, Nigeria has changed. Did Olusegun Obasanjo not desire to have a third •Okogie term in office? Did he not fail? What is your advice to Nigerians at this point? I don’t know. But like everybody is advising, people should go out and register and make sure they vote when the opportunity comes to elect the next President, but the problem is that you know the kind of Nigerians we have. I have said it, even if he wins tomorrow, he will not be comfortable in the seat, because, number one, most Nigerians will query how he got there. From what I am seeing now, a time will come when people will be killing themselves like chicken. And I think the time is here with us already. Look at what is happening in Borno, Benue, Taraba among other places in the country....and Buhari has not said a word! My last letter or if you like call it opinion, entitled, We Are Watching And Waiting!, that statement is a powerful statement. We warned them in our last write ups, that Nigerians are no fools. We are no fools. Nigerians are no longer fools. He should be careful because Nigerians are no longer fools. Can you hear Gov. Nasir El-Rufai shouting again? What of all members of the cabal?