The political heat appears to be intensifying against the reelection ambition of President Muhammadu Buhari as more Nigerians have welcomed the statement issued on Sunday by former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida, urging President Buhari to quit the stage for a younger leader in 19.
The former Military President, popularly called IBB, issued a statement through his spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, lamenting the myriad of crises bedeviling the country since the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by President Buhari came to power. He said that the APC has failed to advance its change mantra in several areas of the polity, adding that the party failed to push ahead with the programme to restructure the country as it promised Nigerians.
IBB however, appears more disturbed by the incessant killings in the country following the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in states across the Middle Belt and Northeast states, which has led to massive bloodshed and the displacement of thousands of people.
The IBB statement had followed in quick succession o the letter written to President Buhari by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who cited Buhari’s alleged nepotism, poor handling of the economy and his alleged insensitivity to the pervasive killings going on in parts of the country following the herdsmen/ farmers clashes. Obasanjo had also asked Buhari not to seek reelection and had since formed a Coalition of Nigeria Movement to mobilise Nigerians for a new direction.
Although President Buhari has not officially declared his intention to run for reelection in 2019, his supporters have started building structures to realise his ambition even as some governors and interest groups have endorsed him for a second term.
Reacting to the IBB letter, the People’s Democratic Party PDP, in a statement through its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan on Sunday described the declaration by former President Ibrahim Babangida as “apt and yet another pointer to the fact that Nigerians across divides have reached a consensus against President Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).’’
The main opposition party said Babangida’s position on the need for a dynamic, nationalistic and development-driven leadership is a direct reflection of the feeling and aspirations of Nigerians and completely captures the direction of the repositioned PDP for a better Nigeria.
Ologbondiyan, in the statement added that the fact that General Babangida’s declaration on President Buhari is coming on the heels of similar declaration by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has further vindicated PDP’s position on the misrule of the Buhari administration and the APC.
The PDP further described as an understatement, Babangida’s reflection that the Buhari administration and its APC has polluted the nation’s “leadership actuality” adding that it is not unmindful of the yearnings of Nigerians to use the platform of the repositioned PDP to propagate a new coalition that would return the much desired new atmosphere in the polity by producing the president that will acceptable to the majority of Nigerians.
“It is now obvious to all that the time has come for all Nigerians to jettison all personal interests and divisive tendencies and rally forces under a truly national platform as now embodied in the PDP to rescue our dear nation from total collapse.
“In line with the new consensus for the election of a truly Nigerian President in 2019, the repositioned PDP is completely open as the epicenter of the much desired new broad-based political engagement of all Nigerians in their aspirations irrespective of creed, tribe or class.
“The repositioned PDP presents that credible platform, re-engineered with best democratic standards for unhindered accommodation of all interests from all parts of the country in our collective search for a new beginning.
“We therefore urge all Nigerians, particularly our leaders across board, to join forces with the PDP to once again return the nation to its pride of place as a thriving economy and a truly democratic nation come 2019,” the statement said.
The National Chairman of the National Unity Party (NUP) Perry Opara, in his reaction said it was a welcome development as his party will need it to position itself to capture power in 2019.
He told BusinessDay in an exclusive chat on Sunday that his party remains the best for Nigerians in 2019 adding that they will do everything possible to leverage on the opportunity being provided by the seeming rejection of the APC and President Buhari to capture power in 2019.
A political and financial analyst, Katch Ononuju told BusinessDay on Sunday that President Buhari attracted this rejection because of his ‘despicable act of nepotism and clannishness.’ He added that judging by Buhari’s provincial mindset; he will throw Nigeria into ‘anarchy’ if he is allowed to get another four-year term in office.
Efforts made to get the reaction of the APC leadership was not successful as calls put across to the APC publicity Secretary., Bolaji Abdullahi were not answered.