The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere; Northern Elders Council and a Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Muhammed, on Thursday expressed different views on President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 presidential ambition.
While Muhammed said Buhari’s ambition was irrational, Afenifere called on other presidential aspirants to present their plans to the nation to enable Nigerians to decide the most suitable person for the high office.
Afenifere said the President had the constitutional right to seek re-election, noting that he had not done anything wrong by expressing his determination to seek a second term in office.
The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, who stated this in an interview with The PUNCH, said Nigerians should be more concerned about the plans of the presidential aspirants.
He said, “He (Buhari) has the constitutional right to seek re-election and I don’t think Nigerians should bother about whether he wants to seek re-election or not. Let other aspirants also come out and present their programmes and Nigerians would decide between what he is presenting and what others are offering. Let others who have ideas about the way Nigeria should be run also come out.”
Asked whether the President deserved re-election based on his performance in office, Odumakin declined to assess his administration, saying it was too early to do so.
But Muhammed condemned the President’s ambition, saying it was an irrational decision.
Muhammed said, “Unless Nigerian politics can mature and graduate beyond the level of identity politics, we will always have problem. The assumption that anyone in the office of the president must serve for two terms is absolutely irrational and baseless. A leader, even if he spends a term or half a term and performs, should have no problem seeking re-election.
“It becomes disappointing that this is the level where we are. Nigerians must say, look, we shun identity and ethnic politics. That is my hope in 2019. A man, who has not done much for his first term, to start talking about a second term is the most irrational thing I can imagine.”
Also, the chairman, the Northern Elders Council, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, said the President’s decision was not surprising, noting that it was only typical of Nigerian politicians.
A civil society group, Sage Africa said that the President should focus on fulfilling his electoral promises, noting that he had not done enough to deserve re-election.