Saturday, February 16, 2019

Buhari and the 2019 drama

Buhari and the 2019 drama
February 02
09:21 2018

From all indications, President Buhari will be seeking re-election in 2019, his seeming indifference to the talks about his reported desire for a second term in office notwithstanding.

It is actually the way of most politicians to keep mute about their next political aspiration especially when governance currently under their watch is bogged down by intractable challenges.

As such, they would rather allow known and unsolicited agents to do the talking, as it is currently playing out, till a suitable time when an official statement laced with powerful rhetorics on the decision to secure another mandate is made public.

Buhari has every right to go for another term if he so desires. And he will not be violating any constitutional provisions should he resolve on such a move.

The condition of his health would have been his greatest hindrance, but he has fortunately survived the strange and debilitating ailment that previously cast doubts on his capacity to finish his term let alone having another chance at the presidency.

Now that Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has rolled out the time-table for the general elections in 2019, the little that Nigerians can point their fingers at as semblance of governance would probably give way to politics.

Actually, Nigerians are beginning to see some of the drama of 2019 elections play out and the replacement of the demanding responsibility of government with politicking.

A few weeks ago, it was all over the news that the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, commissioned the South West Zonal office of his Muhammadu Buhari Osinbajo (MBO) Dynamic Support Group in Ibadan, Oyo State to pressurise Buhari to seek reelection.

It would seem like the minister has made tremendous impact in the ministry under his watch to have given up on work for open electioneering even when the provisions of the electoral act are averse to such action at this early hour.

But the truth is the myriads of problems bedevilling the telecommunications sector particularly the customers complaints on quality of services and dodgy charges by operators still persist. And actions like Shittu’s are often tolerated only in a clime like ours where politicking takes precedence over performance.

Meanwhile, just when many thought the minister was done, he came up with another spectacle.

At the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the weekly gathering of the president and his cabinet members, where issues of national importance are discussed and solutions suggested, Shittu appeared in a face cap conveying Buhari’s re-election message.

The minister, according to reports, brazenly handed similar caps to co-ministers before he was stopped by another colleague from getting the atmosphere rowdy and subsequently disrupting the business of government of the day.

Shittu is however not the only man in the President’s inner caucus who thinks the politics of 2019, particularly the pressure for the re-election of Buhari, must commence afoot. And this is amidst unresolved socio-economic difficulties faced by millions of Nigerians.

The newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha also made a curious statement about the coming general elections at a political parley he hosted in Abuja.

Even though the president has maintained taciturnity on his political future, the political seers around him seem so certain about what lies ahead. They are, therefore, always eager to grandstand with their power of clairvoyance.

As such Boss Mustapha was swift to tell the guests which include some leaders from the South-East region of the country that Buhari will re-contest in 2019.

And he also affirmed that the surest way for people of South-East, who have been eyeing the number one seat since the enthronement of democratic government in Nigeria in 1999, is to support Buhari’s re-election in 2019. Hence the Igbo can take over power in 2023.

How I wish transition of power in Nigeria was such a convenient process that could be perfected through a simple pronouncement or gentleman’s agreement. Knowing that those in power or politicians are masters in failed promises, any right thinking individual would understand that Mustapha was essentially at his verbose best and rendering sound bites.

That said, that kind of message was unnecessary especially in a political climate that is filled with ethnic biases and religious sentiments.

Of course, there are many in these dramatic stunts and talks who have vowed to push as far as possible in ensuring that President Buhari puts himself forward for re-election next year. We have read about a group that threatened to sue the president if he fails to express his interest for a second term in office. There’s another individual, amonsgt other interesting dramatis personae and funny thoughts around on the 2019 elections, who vowed to abandon his matrimony and home if the president refused to yield to the pressure.

Even if it’s just for political correctness, President Buhari, through his Minister of Information, Alh. Lai Muhammed has stated that all these desperate campaigns, endorsements and politicking are distractions for his government.

But unknown to the government, some people are feeding off and feathering their political nests on what it called distractions. That’s why the Buhari administration needs to seriously warn and take a keen look to unveil the antics of the overzealous political sympathisers.


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