2019: Why Buhari can’t declare now –Presidency

The Presidency yesterday said that the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari not to declare his interest in the 2019 general elections early was to stop desperate politicians from sabotaging the country. Buhari had recently provided some ambiguous hints about the possibility of his running for a second tenure amidst calls from some quarters for him to forget it.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, who disclosed this in an interview in Abuja at the weekend, said the President cannot speak with the election still about one year away because he knows the consequences. According to Adesina,if Buhari speaks too early about his ambition, it may give ammunition to unnamed opponents to throw everything at him and sabotage the country. Pushed further to specifically state when the President will declare his intention, Adesina said: “You know the peculiarity of Nigeria particularly now. If the president speaks too early, it’s a problem.

There is a lot of sabotage in the country. “You have also heard so many have said ‘don’t run.’ Because they know that if the president runs, other people should just run away because they don’t have a chance to beat him. So, they want to discourage him from running.

“Now, if he tells you ‘I’m going to run,’ and elections are still one year away, it gives them one year to sabotage the entire country from all fronts – politically, socially, economically – they would throw everything at him just to dissuade him from running.

“So, when you know that, why then do you speak early? “I think it makes a lot of sense for you then to keep things close to your chest till it is time for you to then say, ‘ok, I’m running’ by which time they can do less damage.” Buhari had, in November last year while speaking with some members of the Nigerian community in Cote d’Ivoire, said that he came to the meeting with two governors so that their people may vote for him in future. While apologizing for turning up late at the occasion, he said: “First, I want to apologize for keeping you for too long seating.

This is because I insisted on the governors attending this meeting. “This is why I came along with them so that when we are going to meet you, when you are going to meet the rest of Nigerians, if you tell them that their governors were in the company of the president, I think that will be another vote for me in the future. I’m very pleased that they were able to turn up.”

On his recent visit to Benue State over herdsmen killings, the President, who was responding to a shopping list from the stakeholders at a meeting, said that he could only make promises to them when he returns in the state for campaign if indeed he will be coming for campaign. The Presidency also explained the president’s proposed visit to Rivers State which Governor Nyesom Wike has faulted. He recalled the Omoku killings and the beheading of other victims whose heads were taken away by their assailants