- Sanusi, Mbaka warn of protest votes
- Lamido, Atiku, Kwankwaso et al under screening
By DANLADI USMAN, Abuja
While President Muhammadu Buhari celebrated his 74th birthday anniversary last week, there has been rising uncertainty over his re-election for a second term in office.
National Daily inquiry discovered that the same social and political forces that aided and sponsored the President’s election in 2015 have become strong oppositions to both his administration and the covert lobby for populist support towards 2019 elections.
Accordingly, reputable northern leaders have admonished that the President may lose the support of northern voters in 2019 following the consequences of the prevailing economic recession that has made life unbearable for citizens.
The velocity at which the resentment has been rising indicates that the President may not find it easy convincing his kinsmen to support his re-election in 2019.
Spokesman of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, had penultimate week, tacitly ruled out a blind support for Buhari in case he runs for a second term; saying if other northerners indicate interest in the presidential race, “we will put all the cards on the table and evaluate all the candidates and see what they have in store for the north.”
Abdullahi had unequivocally stated that the Northern Elders’ Forum only supported the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 because it fielded Buhari as its presidential candidate “who happened to be a northerner.” In Abdullahi’s view northern leaders were only interested in a northern candidate which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not align with.
The NEF spokesman complained 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 elections from the region.
Though former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, remarked that it is rather too early to say that the North is shopping for Buhari’s replacement, he, however, stated: “but when the time comes, we will tell our people which way to go.”
The Emir of Kano, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II, former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was among the ardent supporters and sponsors of Buhari’s presidential ambition in 2015, the paramount ruler in Kano has over time maintained caustic criticisms of the Buhari administration, particularly, the monetary policy of the government. The traditional ruler has constantly joined the league of prominent leaders in the North and other parts of the country admonishing the President on the sufferings Nigerian citizens are going through in his administration.
Moreover, a former chieftain of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Alhaji Buba Galadima, had also advocated that people would President Buhari in 2019. He was making reference to the mismanagement of the economy and the failure of the Buhari administration to find solutions to the ailing economy and the diminishing living standards of Nigerian citizens. Thus, he stated that the masses will desert Buhari in 2019,
The reaction of Mallam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, that Nigerians will rally behind the President in 2019 provoked Dr. Junaid Mohammed, a lawmaker in the Second republic 1979 to 1983, into lampooning the Buhari administration.
Junaid Mohammed, a prominent northern leader, had declared that, “It is very unfortunate and shameless that a government that is yet to do anything is already talking of 2019.” He maintained: “It is very unfortunate that a party like APC that is fast becoming moribund is already talking of 2019 when they have nothing to show for the four years Nigerians gave them. This development shows they are power-hungry, hypocritical and corruption-ridden.”
“This entire 2019 discussion is ridiculous. I believe a government that has performed will rely on its performance before being considered for another four years in office. We are not even in the middle of the four-year term given to them and they are already talking of 2019. This is an unfortunate development and it shows the ineptitude of the government. For a man that has led us into the worst recession ever and has got nothing to show Nigerians since he assumed office to be talking of 2019, shows how shameless the government can be,” Junaid Mohammed had declared.
National Daily investigation revealed that northern leaders are now looking in the direction of the PDP in 2019 because the party has already zoned its presidential candidate to the North. This is, however, on the condition that the PDP successfully resolves its internal crisis, otherwise, emphasis may shift to the anticipated new mega political party that some political leaders have been linked.
Meanwhile, National Daily gathered that the Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin, had long reached out to notable traditional rulers and opinion leaders in the North to intervene in the PDP crisis. This was disclosed to have led to the acceptance of reconciliation by Ali Modu Sherriff, who many political actors have accused of working for the APC.
The insincerity and suspicion of Sheriff working for the ruling party made PDP leaders consider the alternative option of joining forces with a segment of the APC to form a new political party for 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, some political actors from the North have commenced underground mobilization of support for 2019 presidential race. Among these are Alhaji Sule Lamido, former Governor of Jigawa State, (PDP); former Vice President Abubakar Atiku (APC).
Others who National Daily gathered are still warming up for the race surreptitiously include Senator Rabi’u musa Kwankwaso, former Governor of Kano State; Ibrahim Dankwanbo, Governor of Gombe State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, former Governor of Kano State; Alhaji Mua’zu Babaganda Aliyu, former Governor of Niger State.
These were disclosed to be the cards already on the table of northern leaders under consideration. They were revealed to have commenced wide consultation. Lamido has been perceived to be moving at a very fast speed traversing the length and breadth of the country from the South to the North.
National Daily inquiry, however, found that several others are playing the game with caution to avoid being victimized or hunted with the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Department of Security Services (DSS) to frustrate their ambition; as such, they are moving at a relatively slow pace.
While the northern leaders are re-organizing themselves for 2109, Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka, Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry and Enugu Catholic Priest, admonished President Buhari that Nigerians will not vote for him in 2019 if he does not address the high level of hunger and suffering in the country.
Reverend Father Mbaka had lamented that there was too much suffering in the country; he faulted the President for not appointing the right people; accusing the President of listening to the wrong advice.
“The issue is that Mbaka is speaking as the Spirit leads him – there is hunger everywhere. My job is to tell leaders the truth, the landlords are crying, the tenants are lamenting, sellers are crying, buyers are lamenting – there is hunger on the streets. I can’t keep quiet when things are going wrong,” he had remarked in a message.
Father Mbaka had stated: “I don’t need the President; I need God, I need the Holy Spirit, I need Jesus; there is suffering everywhere, people are suffering.” He decried that, “To feed is now a problem, and a hungry man is an angry man. Hunger and anger will lead to danger.”
He also bemoaned that, “Mortuary and ambulance business is now thriving because many cannot afford drugs”; adding: “In today’s Nigeria, many are becoming hawkers, who will buy from you, with what”
Accordingly father Mbaka admonished: “I am telling the President to look around him and know those who are advising him rightly and those who are telling him that there is no trouble. The President should know that there is trouble – if things continue like this, in the next election, nobody will vote for him.”
Father Mbaka was one of the strong supporters of President Buhari in 2019. Like the northern leaders, the reverend Father has begun to see things differently as well.