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April 17, 2018 1:45 am

Who says President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) is not eminently qualified to seek second term in office as President of Nigeria? Frankly, it is PMB’s constitutional right in line with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to seek second term in office. It is equally the constitutional rights of Nigeria’s eligible voters to prompt a change in leadership across the entire political spectrum in the coming 2019 elections. For lovers of PMB and his style of leadership, it was pleasing for them to know that he has announced his interest to contest for re-election into the most prestigious and exalted office in Nigeria- the presidency.

On Monday 8 April 2018, PMB declared his intention to run again for presidency despite wake- up calls from some retired generals that he needs to quit the stage honorably. His declaration for a second term in office according to PMB is due to “tremendous support from his party and some state governors.” Recall however, that former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) and Ibrahim Babangida (IBB) had earlier advised PMB not to seek a second term in office. TY Danjuma, a former Chief of Army Staff and one-time Minister of Defence is not left out as he released a bombshell in Taraba State advising Nigerians to self-defend themselves against herdsmen attack saying “they will kill you one by one.”

OBJ’s wake-up call to PMB’s administration was based mainly on increasing insecurity, poverty, pure economic mismanagement, nepotism and gross dereliction of duty amongst others. With PMB’s declaration, OBJ’s “clarion call” has been declared void. While IBB’s homily titled “Towards a National Rebirth” is rendered ineffective. PMB Baba, I salute you! Who says he is not a political genius? He knows that letters of OBJ, IBB and other retired generals aren’t of serious consequences when weighed against the views of millions of registered voters in Nigeria. The retired generals’ views would have been given due consideration if they were party to his emergence as the President of Nigeria. Assuming the trio were part of the “cabal” that brought him to power, they’ve got to relax now. These retired generals know that executive power at the federal level is very juicy. Besides, PMB wants to do more for Nigerians. Any retired general is at liberty to issue a warning letter if deemed necessary. It is their prerogative to write within the ambient of the law as they are “protected” by the1999 Constitution which confers freedom of expression on all citizens.

Since PMB’s declaration, Nigerians rage. Why do Nigerians of different tribes and tongues rage over the wish of PMB to seek re-election? Both young and old including political opponents and alleged looters appear to have taken a position against the “anointed”- PMB. Political opponents have taken a counsel together as they remind PMB that he is too old to continue in office beyond 2019. For the opponents, the ability to govern is in electing a leader who is young with leadership skills. That is why PMB’s memory needs to be refreshened about what he said sometime ago that “old age will limit my performance…….Now at 72, there is a limit to what I can do.” Perhaps, he forgot he made such remarks. Above all, where is the hand of God in all these schemes? He who sits in heaven is laughing at them all- politicians and the electorate. PMB will be 76 years in 2019 by His grace. So, at age 76 there will be no limit to what he can do. So help him God!

There are Nigerians who believe that if the septuagenarian is re-elected, inefficiency will linger on. They believe that PMB’s second term signals a continuation of suffering for Nigerians. It is the time of the younger generation to be actively involved in politics and administration of the country, they say. The younger generation wants oldies to yield the ground for them so that they can show the entire world that they are capable of running the government at state and federal levels respectively. The question is: Are Nigerian youths ready and competent with good intentions and love to do the right thing to fellow men and women in service to the people?

Despite the rage, some Nigerians are for PMB’s re-election. The manufacturers are happy. It is speculated that there would be stability in the foreign exchange market though, uncertainty in the economy continues due to pervasive insecurity. I hope the US$ 1.2 billion released for the purchase of military hardware to combat insurgents that have been “technically” defeated would be put to good use.

The truth is that most Nigerians are uncomfortable with PMB’s second term bid. Their position was anchored strongly on his first term campaign promise to provide security, strengthen the economy and fight corruption; which they assessed as barely average. After taking the nation through recession, the economy remains fragile. Economic experts are waiting to see if PMB’s declaration to re-contest would improve the nation’s economy significantly.

I welcome PMB’s declaration. Only the electorate will decide in 2019 who they want their president to be. Then, the decision to chose a president of Nigerian’s choice will be beyond any political party. I sincerely urge the electorate to be prepared in all respects to cast their votes for a candidate of their choice. Blessed are those Nigerians who are willing, able and ready to prompt change in leadership across board through the ballot boxes. The country needs committed and sincere leaders who will create opportunities for all. Nigerians should detach themselves from sentiments and think about their future and that of their children before deciding those who will steer the ship of the nation. Nigerians should not forget that “leadership, security, development and democracy are interconnected components of societal trajectories.” In 2019, there should be no rigging, no catastrophe and no mayhem. It’s one man, one vote.


MA Johnson

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