Northern leaders seem to be engaged in subterranean plans to oust President Buhari following a sharp drop in his popularity.
President Muhammadu Buhari
The North has ruled out blanket support for President Muhammadu Buhari if he decides to seek for a second term in 2019.
Already, top northern politicians and powerful political blocs have been shopping for Buhari’s replacement ahead of the next general elections, New Telegraph has learnt.
Speaking to a correspondent on phone at the weekend, spokesman for the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, pointed out that the forum only supported the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 election because it fielded General Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential candidate “who happens to be a northerner.”
Multiple sources confirmed to a correspondent last night that different interest groups in the North have put machineries in place to get an appropriate candidate to replace Buhari in 2019.
It was further learnt that different groups from the North have sent emissaries to possible
candidates, such as Atiku Abubakar, Ibrahim Dankwanbo (Gombe governor), Rabiu Kwankwaso, Sule Lamido
, Ibrahim Shekarau, among others on the need to replace the president in the 2019 election.
It was gathered that among the grouse of many in the region is the mass hunger and poverty that has attended the Buhari presidency. A source with one of the presidential hopeful told a correspondent last night that: “More than in 2015, we are receiving requests from different interest groups who are telling us that they want to work with us. I can tell you that most of the groups are from the North. Their complaints are the same – the economy.
They are telling us that there must be another change in 2019. The mood generally in the North is dampened. Buhari is not as popular as he was in 2015 now.”
An aide to another presidential hopeful simply said that the North has “donated Buhari to Nigerians who wanted change.” “In 2019, we are going to take him out of that seat for sure.
We are consulting now and trying to fix the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). If we get that right, then, we are ready to sack Buhari. At least, it is clear to Nigerians now that the man has failed. He is unelectable.”
But it was learnt that the president’s men are already plotting his reelection in 2019. Sources said Buhari’s nephew and confidant, Malam Mamman Daura; Secretary to the Government of the Federation
(SGF), Babachir David Lawal, and former SGF, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe as well as some state governors are the drivers of the president’s second term agenda. Buhari’s anchormen, including ministers, have been holding series of meetings on the president’s re-election.
“At appropriate time, we will dispel this noise of non-performance. The president has been faithful to his promises. Though we are in a challenging time,president has done well in governance,”
one of the ministers told a reporter last night. Abdullahi, who ruled out a blind support for Buhari in case he runs for a second term, said that if other northerners indicate interest in the presidency, “we will put all the cards on the table and evaluate all the candidates and see what they have in store for the north.”
He, however, said that the north has so far been short
changed by the present administration because the ministerial appointments that it got are not commensurate with the votes that APC received in the last election from the region.
The former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, however, said that it is rather too early to say that the north is shopping for Buhari’s replacement, “but when the time comes, we will tell our people which way to go.”
The NEF spokesman said that the forum has not met Atiku Abubakar in order to seek for its support ahead of the 2019 presidential race, adding that he has heard that the former number two citizen is said to be eyeing the presidency.
“Like everybody else, I have heard of series of meetings going on, but I have not been told by any credible source.
As for meeting with any politician towards 2019, all I will say is that nobody has met us,” he said.Like Abdullahi, former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, said that he heard that the north is shopping for Buhari’s replacement to field in 2019, describing the move “as a viable alternative if the north wants to retain power.”
to him, the president is so incompetent and overwhelmed by the burden of office, “so there is no way he can succeed.”
“However, the tragedy of the situation is that the north has no alternative to Buhari because money power is the deciding factor in politics and elections in this country. That is why the north can’t get the right person,” he argued.
The leader of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) dismissed Atiku as an alternative northern candidate because of his record of alleged corruption.
Musa also ruled out Governor Nasir el Rufai, arguing that he is not performing as governor of Kaduna State and so he is not qualified to be president.
“So, the north is in a kind of dilemma because, whereas Buhari has failed as president, it has no alternative to him in 2019 because of the dominance of money in politics and the fact that those who want to replace him are not credible,” he noted.
The opposition politician also ruled out the rabid support that Buhari received in the north in 2015, in case he decides to seek re-election in 2019. “Virtually every northern elite that supported him since 2003 when he first contested for the presidency, is not with him,” he said.
The former governor predicted that Buhari would lose the coming election if he decides to run for the presidency in 2019 because he is not just politically unreliable, but he will also be hampered by limited resources unless he is sponsored by foreign powers.
According to him, the level of poverty in the country and the prevailing awareness will limit the president’s access to the treasury in order to fund his campaign.
“Unless he decides to fund it with recovered looted funds, the amount which Nigerians do not know, there is nowhere he can get the kind of money to run for the presidency, after losing the goodwill that he enjoyed from the people,” Balarabe added.
Speaking in the same vein, a member of the House of Representatives in the Second Republic and a social critic, Dr. Jun-aid Mohammed, described Buhari as a monumental failure as president.
“Although I have not heard of plans to replace him and field another northerner in 2019, I will not be surprised if this happens,” he told a correspondent yesterday.
“President Buhari has been a monumental failure and the north shouldn’t support him in 2019 if it wants to retain power. Anti-corruption has always been the hallmark of northerners in government, but this government is the most corrupt in the history of Nigeria.
“All northern leaders, from Tarka to Aminu Kano and Sardauna, are not nepotistic, but the Buhari administration is the most nepotistic that has ever been since independence. “So, the north is justified culturally, politically and m0rally to replace Buhari in 2019 if it chooses to do so.
The north has been categorical when it wants power, it also didn’t hesitate when to let it go. And when it wanted it back, it said so categorically. Now, it must show clearly that it wants to retain power by replacing Buhari,” Mohammed said.
The Russian-trained medical doctor however said that “if Buhari decides to contest in 2019, he will be defeated, except if he rigs the election and there will be violence which may lead to the break-up of Nigeria.”
Speaking to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, a chieftain of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) dismissed what he described as “doomsday scenario of failed politicians who cannot speak for the north.”
According to him, President Buhari is still lionized by the masses of this country, especially in the north where he commands a cult-like followership.
“Buhari’s victory in 2015 was a result of the resolve of the masses to vote for change and to keep vigil over the votes cast until results were counted and declared.
“The victory was not as a result of any elite consensus or machinations. It was a revolution of the masses and the elite just had to key into it or else they will be swept aside by the wind of change.
“Buhari’s war against corruption, whereby billions of looted funds have been recovered and the adherence to the rule of law, including the degrading of Boko Haram capabilities in the North-East, have further endeared the people to him. If elections are held today, he will win fair and square,” he added.
It was gathered that although Buhari’s handlers are trying to make incursion into the South-East, many leaders in the zone are not convinced or persuaded by the Buhari presidency.
Thus, many believe that his running battles with splinter agitator groups in the zone and the lack of reasonable appointments for the zone under his watch are good reasons not to return him again.
“The man should not even think of a second term. He should just leave after this term,” said a leader in the zone.
Culled from New Telegraph