Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, has said campaigns for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari has begun, even though he (Buhari) is yet to make up his mind on the 2019 presidential election.
Shittu, who announced he had just been appointed national chairman of the Board of Trustees of Muhammadu Buhari/Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group, disclosed this in an interview with State House Correspondents, yesterday, shortly after a closed-door meeting with Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister added that Buhari’s ardent supporters, of which he is one, will prevail on the president to seek re-election.
He said they would help Buhari to make up his mind so that Nigeria can continue to enjoy stability and progress.
The minister also disclosed he seized the opportunity of the meeting to inform Buhari of his (Shittu) appointment and that the South West Zonal Office of the Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organisation will be inaugurated on January 20.
On whether the president will contest in 2019, Shittu said: “It goes without saying. I mean, if you have a child who goes to primary school and he does well, he proceeds to secondary school and he does well and you keep asking if he will be going to university, it goes with out saying.
“By the grace of God, we, his (Buhari’s) ardent supporters, who appreciate his worth, on behalf of millions of Nigerians, will urge him to re-contest.
“I know he has not made up his mind but, I can say that some of us can assist him in making up his mind so that Nigeria can continue to enjoy stability and progress in our land.”
Asked specifically if the development is indication that campaigns for 2019 has started, the minister replied: “Every day since he (Buhari) came into office, all his activities were geared towards letting Nigerians know that they have a saviour, a rescuer, somebody who is committed to providing relief for Nigerians; in all respects; n the area of fighting corruption, insurgency, whether in the North East or the Niger Delta; in the area of repairing the economy and providing jobs and providing social stability in the society.
“You will agree with me that, today, but for Buhari, Boko Haram would have invaded even Lagos.”
Meanwhile, presidential and National Assembly elections are scheduled to hold on February 16, 2019 while governorship, state Assembly and area council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will take place in March 2, 2019.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this at an induction retreat for Resident Electoral Commissioners in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State, in October 2017.
INEC however, added it has not yet officially released the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 elections.
On Wednesday, December 7, 2017, Buhari, who was on a two-day visit to Kano State, dropped hints that he would run again in 2019. “I know the elections. If they are to be free and fair, if it is a question of numbers, if it is a question of allowing people to make their choice, then, I think the people of Kano are in my pocket,” he said then. He stated this at the palace of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, in response to the mammoth crowd that gathered to welcome him to the state.
A month earlier, in November, in far away Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on a state visit, the president informed the Nigerian community in Abidjan, at a meeting, that he insisted on the presence of two governors who had accompanied him on his trip to the country because it might give him votes in the future.
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi, were on the president’s Abidjan entourage, when he participated in the 5th European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit in Cote d’Ivoire.
It also emerged during the week that the president has appointed Minister of Transportation and former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, as the director general of his 2019 election campaign.
Amaechi led Buhari’s campaign in 2015 and has reportedly been issued a letter of appointment for the 2019 election as well.