By Bode Olagboke, Chizoba for second term or second term Ogbeche, Emeka Eze, Tope Sunday
President Muhammadu Buhari’s second time bid is gathering momentum as two support groups gave it a boost yesterday in Abuja. While the National Committee of the Buhari Support Group (NCBSG), led by Senator Abu Ibrahim stormed the presidential villa, the Buhari Support Organisation(BSO) commissioned its office at Abuja, with governors, ministers and top government officials in attendance.
President Buhari who received members of NCBSG at Aso Rock, commended various support groups that are working for the progress of his administration, saying posterity will reward the sacrifices that they are making for the peace, progress and prosperity of the nation. Buhari assured them of the judicious use of available national resources for the betterment of all Nigerians.
Visit ends speculations
Penultimate Tuesday, former acting chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande had stirred the hornet’s nest on October 13 when he said that Buhari is yet to inform South-west leaders of the party that he would re-contest in 2019. Akande who made this known at the South West Leaders meeting at Ibadan, further said that Buhari will have to slug it out with other presidential aspirants in order to secure the party’s ticket.
According to the former governor o Osun state, Buhari has not said that he is contesting again and that ‘’anybody in our party is free to become the President of Nigeria.’’ The party, Akande pointed out, ‘’ will set a process through which a candidate is elected.
If he (Buhari) is lucky to have the ticket, we will present him as our candidate.” On Wednesday, APC National Assembly members, the party’s National Working Committee and some governors met at the party’s secretariat and resolved that the party’s constitution should be upheld.
Analysts had interpreted both Akande’s statement and the party’s position were interpreted differently. While some saw the it as a sign of Buhari’s sagging popularity and a tacit way of dumping him in 2019, others said it was a way of presenting a united APC front to the world.
According to the latter, Akande’s statement was a sort of rebellion of the South west and that Tinubu was spoiling for a show down. However, NCBSG’s visit to Aso Rock and Buhari’s comments has now doused speculations of whether or not the president will run for a second term owing to his health challenges
Buhari expresses gratitude
The president expressed gratitude to NCBSG members for their sacrifice. ‘’I am grateful for your sacrifices. Your work requires a lot of sacrifices both physical and material. I do not think anybody will join this organisation for material reasons,’’ he told them. According to him, ‘’what you are doing is for the nation and not for me as an individual.
Therefore, there is no way you can lose because what you are doing is for posterity,’’ he said. Apprising the President of their activities, the group said they would continue to engage in the production of detailed sector-specific documentaries, programmes, policies and achievements of the administration.
In a PowerPoint presentation, the group told the President that they had a massive, diverse and grassroots base, which would strive to mobilise young Nigerians to become drivers of the CHANGE administration’s programmes and achievements.
Buhari has no choice but to contest — Senator Ibrahim
Speaking to State House corespondents after the meeting, Senator Ibrahim said the president is left with no choice but to contest the 2019 presidential election. He said even though the issue of 2019 did not come up at the meeting, the group believed that Buhari could guarantee the progress, stability and prosperity of the nation.
According to him, “we came here as members of the national committee of the Buhari support group. This is an amalgamation of about 189 different support groups that had worked for President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC to win the 2015 general election. “We have been holding meetings, discussing the problems of this country, Nigeria. So, we thought it was high time we meet with the President to intimate him about the activities of the group.
“We discussed with him about the plans to improve the situation in Nigeria. Mr President was very pleased with our programmes.” Senator Ibrahim said the group was not pressuring Buhari to contest the 2019 Presidential election per se, adding that ‘’we only discussed the programmes of the organization and problems of the group. But we didn’t go into the 2019 elections.
” The senator said that he believes in Buhari’s ‘’philosophy and l believe he can solve the problems of this nation. He can ensure the progress, stability and prosperity of this nation.”
We will continue to support Buhari — Senate Leader
Also speaking, a member of the group and Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, said it was not enough to help a party win election but also to support the government of the day to succeed.
“You know it is not enough to help in elections like most of us did. It is important that we continue to support the President and his administration across the nation as a group.
“This is what we will continue to do. We will continue to identify with and support all the programmes that this administration has set forward.
And l believe that we have every justification to be happy because, the President campaigned on three major pillars of anticorruption, fighting the insecurity across the country and revitalizing the economy of Nigeria.
“It has been a very, very good journey so far and also we believe that Mr. President and Nigerians have a future beyond 2019. What he has started, by the grace of God, he should be able to complete, up to 2023.”
Similarly, governors and ministers as well as top government officials under the auspices of Buharists, witnessed the offi cial opening the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO) offi ce yesterday.
Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi state and Plateau State governor, Mr Simon Lalong were at the occasion. Similarly, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, his Federal Capital Territory(FCT) counterpart, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, Defence Minister Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali and Minister of Niger Delta, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, including the Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, also attended the occasion. Sen Olorunnibe Mamorah chaired the event.
PDP elements have hijacked Buhari’s govt — Customs boss
Speaking yesterday during the official opening of BSO’s office, Comptroller General of Custom Service, retired Col. Hameed Ali, lamented that President Buhari’s government has been hijacked by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members who constitute 50 percent of his cabinet.
According to the Custom boss, unless something is done urgently, they that worked for the victory of the President and APC government will lose the “battle.
” “When we were there working and jumping on the street and reaching every corner, we were shouting change, change for a better Nigeria.
Now, the key word is good governance for Nigerians. We must agree that we cannot finish our four years without delivering and leaving something to be remembered for in this country for a long time to come. We have no problem with our President because he is on course. “But I must confess here that we have been infused by people who were not part of this journey and these people are the ones that call the shots today.
That is why we are derailing. If we had the right people who had the vision and have been there in and out, I believe that we will not be going the way we are going today.
“It is my belief that those of us who have been in the trenches all these years to get good governance will surely be sleeping with belly ache everyday, especially in the recent past. Everyday, when you wake up, there is a story that makes you shiver. We cannot, as a people who have fought and committed everything we had to bring this government to being, sit back and allow things to happen the way they are happening.
“At the end of the day, the fingers will point at us because we were the ones who went to people and asked them to give us their votes. These people that are calling the shots today were not there and when the chips are down, they will disappear and melt within the system. We are the ones that will be asked to account for what happened.
Are we willing to face Nigerians and tell them that we have failed? I think this is the time for us to come together, create a system that is very robust enough to fight back and take back government in our hands and ensure that we deliver.”
The custom however, called on all the support groups to “go back to the study room. This is a commissioning , but it is also the beginning of the fight for good governance.
We must get back to the trenches, draw our own battle plan and battle line. I enjoined you that the same commitment we had in 2015, I implore you to bear with us and commit yourself to a better future for Nigeria.”
Govs are not carried along— Lalong
In his own remarks, Governor Lalong who corroborated what the Customs boss said, noted that governors too are not being carried along when appointments are made. “Let Mr. President be aware that this is the time to do it because even as governors we are also complaining in our various states, we are saying it.
We complained in our state that while we are here we are sitting down we hear appointment made and then people start asking you are the governor where is this man coming from? But when we turn right and turn left, we don’t know where such man is coming from,’’ he said.
According to Lalong, many people have complained about this anomaly. ‘’I’m sure governors have complained that we should be able to know who and who will protect Mr. President and his administration. So that when you appoint him and you find him guity or you find him wanting, hold the governor responsible.
We should support BSO — Bauchi gov
Governor Abubakar, who said that although he was not part of the BSO at the beginning but he believes in the vision of the President. He also asked BSO members to continue giving Buhari the need the support, saying that “it is incumbent on us to support the BSO to succeed.”
Mix reactions trail visit, commissioning of campaign office
The former Presidential Candidate of National Transformation Party, Mr John Dara, advised the President not to seek second term because of the challenges facing his government. According to him, “those who endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for second term are targeting profit because since the president won his election in 2015, they have been out of business.
But with his second term endorsement, they will come back to business as usual.’’ “I will just advise the president not to seek re-election because of the integrity question among his cabinet members and also, he should excuse himself based on old age and ill-health’’.
On his part, the National Secretary of Young Democratic Party (YDP), Comrade Bolaji Oni, said President Buhari’s second term endorsement is hasty. He, therefore, advised him to be more focused on his war against corruption crusade. Oni advised that the time was not ripe for the endorsement of the President for second term in office.
He however said that many of such endorsements will soon come. Prof Suleiman Olarenwaju Abubakar, one of the aspirants to the office of National Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said, “It is his right to seek re-election.
Let him seek reelection. We want to defeat the enigma that Buhari stands for. There is no other person we want to defeat than Buhari. You know that Buhari spells disaster for the country. Let him seek re-election so that we can defeat him.
Secretary General of the Yoruba socio cultural organisation, Yinka Odumakin, simply told Blueprint Weekend that he prefers to be silent on the matter, more so as he is not a politician. According to him, he prefers to leave the matter strictly to those who are in active politics.