It is increasing becoming clear that President Muhammadu Buhari will contest the 2019 presidential election. Since he dropped the hint of his seeking a re-election in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on November 29, Buhari’s body language, actions and utterances and those of his aides and supporters now suggest that nothing will stop him from seeking a re-election.
Also, moved by the outpouring of affection from the people of Kano State during his two-day official visit recently, Buhari vowed to overwhelm any opposition in 2019 if he seeks re-election. Since then, frivolous solidarity visits to presidential villa have commenced, with various groups urging him to re-contest and remain in office till 2023 “to enable him finish the good work he has started.” Others are telling him that he is the only one who can save Nigeria.
In some parts of the country, his supporters under the aegis of the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO) have launched Buhari’s 2019 bid. His foot soldiers have commenced meetings and mobilisation to convince the voting public why he would be the best candidate in 2019.
On his part, the president has started mending fences with members of his party who were aggrieved that they were abandoned by the administration after the 2015 general election.
Though many observers believe that Buhari has the constitutional right to seek a re-election in 2019, the audacity to nurse the idea of a second term when he has nothing to show so far is a surprise to them. Added to this are his poor state of health and his age both of which have made him not to attend to state functions with the desired agility.
Buhari in 2015 rose to power with a promise to tackle insecurity, fight corruption and restore the economy, but many analysts believe that so far, the country is worst off since he assumed power.
To many Nigerians, not only have more people been killed under Buhari than any other president in the history of Nigeria, the country today is more divided along ethnic lines than ever.
With impunity, under Buhari’s nose, Fulani herdsmen have been on rampage all over the country, leaving in the trail, a large number of deaths and sorrow anywhere they invade. Armed robbery, kidnapping and other dangerous crimes have all risen beyond comprehension. Even the Boko Haram insurgency which the president promised to tackle upon assumption of office, is still substantially high despite the billions of naira so far expended on the battle.
In the area of fighting corruption, only members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been hounded and intimidated while the anti-graft agencies have ignored members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and those who helped the party to attain power.
On the economy, analysts believe that Buhari’s performance has been unimpressive. From an economy growing at 2.35 per cent he inherited in 2015, based on his wrong policies and decisions, the country was plunged into recession with the attendant mass poverty and hunger. This has triggered a wave of massive retrenchment of workers across all sectors of the economy, while hundreds of companies have been forced to shut down on account of the economic downturn. In the last two years, over 10,000 have lost their jobs in the banks and another 12,000 from oil and gas companies. Inflation has gone up 300 per cent.
While after two years in power, majority of Nigerians cannot find good roads to drive to their home towns and villages, due to the deplorable state of roads in the country, there is no concrete policy to tackle epileptic power which everybody knows is key to attaining development and alleviating poverty in the country.
Only last week, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released a startling data showing that the country’s unemployment rate has worsened from 16.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 to 18.8 per cent in the third quarter of the year. The statistical agency said the number of people within the labour force who were unemployed increased from 13.6 million in the second quarter of the year to 15.9 million in the third quarter of same year, with more than two million people unemployed within the period.
As if Nigerians have not seen the worst of the current administration, the ongoing fuel scarcity and the hardship they are going through under a president who is also the Minister of Petroleum has further portrayed him as a leader who has nothing to offer Nigerians leading a regime not different from others. It is against this backdrop that Nigerians are wondering what the president is coming to do in the presidential villa when he has not justified the mandate given to him.
It is for this reason that former governor of the old Kaduna State and leader of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Baralabe Musa, last week said the APC has nothing to offer Nigerians. Musa who spoke during the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the PRP in Kaduna said APC rode to power on falsehood and empty promises. According to him, since the party came into power about three years ago, it has nothing to offer Nigerians other than subjecting them to untold hardship.
Musa said since 2015 when the APC came to power, the economy has remained comatose, unemployment has assumed critical proportion, while Nigerians are no longer safe even in their homes as a result of insecurity, occasioned by kidnapping, armed robbery and other violent crimes.
“As you are all aware, our nation today remains in a very sorry state despite all the lofty promises and flowery speeches made by the ruling government of the APC at the inception of the administration in 2015. The economy remains comatose, and in some sectors, particularly in industry and commerce, it is even getting worse. Monetary and fiscal management has continued to lack coherence and consistency, or even predictability and strategic planning.
“Unemployment, particularly amongst the youth, who constitute the bulk of our population, has assumed critical proportions and is now, for all practical purposes, a national emergency. Yet, this APC administration, which rode to power on the back of false promises to this generation of hapless young men and women, seems to have no answers to this ticking time bomb beyond slogans such as N-Power.”
Speaking further, Musa lamented that instead of creating jobs, the administration is busy cutting existing ones in the name of ‘rightsizing’ or ‘downsizing’. This government, both at the centre and in the states that it control, has proved that it has little or nothing else to provide Nigerians other than further mass impoverishment, frustration and hardships.
“If we turn to the security front, the same sad picture confronts us. Perhaps, Buhari’s greatest appeal for many in 2015 was the belief that he was capable of dealing a death blow to the insurgency, particularly as manifested by Boko Haram.
“In these almost three years that the APC has been in power, the reality has been otherwise.
“Yes, the Boko Haram camps in the Sambisa forest may have been wiped out, but the security menace that the group poses continues to manifest, with suicide bombs exploding almost on a weekly basis, particularly in the North-eastern parts of the country. But apart from the Boko Haram insurgency, others have emerged in different parts of the country. Recently, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) unleashed mayhem in the South-east. Similarly, the militants in the Niger Delta are yet to sheath their swords.
“Even more ominous is the threat to public safety and the security of lives and property posed by the marauding gangs of cattle rustlers, killer herdsmen and armed kidnappers. We ask, where is the security promised Nigerians by this APC administration? In so far as the political environment is concerned, again the story is a sad one. Lacking any internal cohesion within itself, the APC administration has only spawned and promoted institutional political decay in the country.
“In the name of an anti-corruption campaign, the government has been consistently assaulting due process and the rule of law. Court orders are flagrantly disobeyed by the very institutions that should enforce them. Basic democratic rights are being cynically abused. While talking glibly about fighting corruption, the government shamelessly looks askance where corruption is exposed within its own very ranks, closets and cocoons.”
An opposition governor who has been very consistent that Buhari and his party have nothing to offer Nigerians is the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike. Recently, the governor reiterated that the APC has nothing to offer in terms of developmental projects, apart from circulation of lies. He also stated that APC’s fight against corruption which seems to make it look as if it is doing well, is targeted at the intimidation of political opponents and prosecuting former PDP governors, while indicted former APC governors were allowed to roam freely. Speaking at the Government House, Port Harcourt, when he granted audience to the Abuluoma Council of Chiefs, the governor said there was no sincerity in the fight against corruption by the APC.
“Nigerians have seen that the present ruling party has nothing to offer them except to tell lies.
They claim they are fighting corruption, but how many APC former governors have been arraigned. Nobody is against the government fighting corruption, but it must be fought with sincerity. Even when an APC former governor is indicted by a judicial commission of inquiry, they fail to prosecute such a person. I just heard that they have arrested the former Niger State governor after two years. Maybe because political activities are picking up and they want to intimidate him; that is why this is happening now,” Wike added.
On his part, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State said from the current happenings in the country, it is now clear to Nigerians that the ruling APC and Buhari have nothing positive to offer except hunger and deception.