Although President Muhammadu Buhari has copped out of his own campaign for the coming presidential election because, he said, he wants to focus on governance, he might be disappointed as he won’t really be able to concentrate.
Suspecting the decision, the opposition has been screaming and pointing at the likelihood of another health crisis the APC candidate may face if he subjects himself to the hustle and bustle of the presidential campaign.
“President Buhari has only attended one campaign, which was the one held in Uyo; he is pushing people ahead to campaign for him because his chickens have come home to roost,” said Segun Showunmi, spokesman for the Atiku Abubakar campaign organization.
He said it proves what people have been saying that Buhari doesn’t have the energy and rigour to campaign.
“If he is giving someone else the task of leading his campaign, he could have as well given his presidential ticket to someone who has the energy.”
While inaugurating the council for the 2019 campaign, Buhari said APC national leader Bola Tinubu is fully in charge.
In the run-up to the 2015 election, Buhari, 72 then, was all over the nation campaigning, but the stress began to take its toll shortly after he came to office.
By March 2016, the president travelled for the second time in less than two years for medical check in the UK.
By the end of 2016, Buhari had spent over three month in intensive care in London, creating political upheavals in Nigeria.
While the detail of his health situation was a state secret, many believe the illness might be cancer-related, which according to experts, gets aggravated under stress.
The president would later admit he has never been that sick—but that he was following his doctor’s instruction: to rest very well.
But the rest in the days before the 2019 elections will be jarred by suspicion and criticism.
The chairman of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) on Friday said, “Nigerians should simply ask him to step back from the contest and let his party put Tinubu forward as its candidate,’ said Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
According to him, Buhari would go down as the first candidate in history to hire a proxy in a presidential contest.
“We urge Nigerians to insist that President Buhari must show that he is fit and able for the nation’s top job by leading his own campaign and by being at the presidential candidates’ debate.”
Many Nigerians had expected Buhari to walk away after his first term—for health reason and age. And his delay in announcing his decision had made many believe he would act like the late South Africa’s President Nelson Mandela.
But according to Buhari, he was under pressure to seek re-election, after all he is now in good health.
He trekked about 800 km last year in his home town Daura, Katsina.
His media aide Garba Shehu said it was proof the president was healthier than ever.
But Buhari said it wasn’t about his health, but an occasion to press flesh with thousand of his loyalists who had been willing to meet him since he came back from his medical trip.
Whatever Buhari’s goal is for pulling out of his own campaign—rest or governance—he is likely to realise neither of them as barrages of criticisms continue to hail down on him and his party.