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    Saturday, 27 January 2018

    2019: Only Buhari can decide for himself on second term


    Alhaji Mai Mala Buni is the National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In an apparent response to former President  Obasanjo’s open letter urging President Muhammadu Buhari not to run for second term in 2019, said a lot have been achieved to earn the president another term of office and it is his prerogative to decide for himself to run or not. 

    What is your take on the letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo advising President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek for second?
    This is the beauty of democracy where everyone is guaranteed freedom of speech and expression. With due respect to Dr. Obasanjo, l believe he was just expressing his personal views, but the decision to seek for another term of office is purely and squarely that of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is very personal and only him can take a decision on that.
    Secondly, like I said, the former president was just stating his views and not speaking for the ruling All Progressives Congress on whose platform President Buhari contested and won the election; and if he decides to run again, he will contest on the same APC platform. Equally, Obasanjo was not speaking for the 180 million Nigerians and therefore cannot decide for the country. So, considering the above scenario that Obasanjo cannot decide for Buhari or for the party nor for 180 million Nigerians; his position is therefore a personal view of an individual which stops at that.
    But Obasanjo argued that after three years, we still have security challenges and the economy has not improved…Don’t you think he is making sense?
     I challenge anyone who claim nothing was done on security to go to North East and tell them government has not done anything on security. I am also happy former President Obasanjo acknowledged government’s efforts in fighting Boko Haram insurgency and the re-establishment of relative peace in the North East. On  recent conflicts, government is working hard to find a lasting solution, a solution that will stand the test.
    Remember, every regime had its share of such unfortunate incidences and crimes, from Zaki Biam to Odi to Plateau and Boko Haram some of which were inherited from the past regimes. It is evident that this government is not resting on its oars to resolve these problems. The sad aspect of it is the politicization of these crimes. We should see every crime as an attack on Nigeria but not to be seen along political, religious or ethnic divides. Perhaps that is why for long, solutions to these crimes have been elusive. We should as a nation join hands together irrespective of our differences to fight crime in all ramifications in every part of the country.
    On the economy, sometimes we seem to forget where we are coming from. If we cast our mind back to the mismanagement of the economy under the 16 years of PDP maladministration, we should be grateful for our quick exit from recession and where we are today.
    In 2011, the then Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and now Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness, Mohammad Sanusi ll, at a debate on oil subsidy warned Nigeria to address the abuse on the economy otherwise the then Greek economic meltdown will be a child’s play compared to what awaits the Nigerian economy. He predicted that unless the system is sanitized, the Dollar will rise against Naira  and government may not be able to pay salaries. He saw it coming many years before President Buhari took over the mantle of leadership.
    Is APC not worried that Obasanjo may have influence on political decisions of the country?
     Like I said earlier, I have a lot of respect for the former president and an elder statesman. I also believe that he has  wealth of  experience to share and contribute to the efforts of the Buhari administration towards rebuilding the country and fixing the problems. If he had reminisced on the challenges he faced when he took over in 1999, he wouldn’t have jumped to conclusion of telling the president not to run for a second term.
    I am happy he acknowledged the performance of the administration in some sectors while in others, he was not so impressed. We all know the condition in which President Buhari took over the affairs of the country in 2015. Nigeria was at a near standstill. Each and every problem we find ourselves today was already rearing its head before the APC administration came on board.
    Suffice it to say that, the 16 year administration of his former party, the PDP, plunged the country into this mess. There is no magic that will turn around things in just three years, certainly not, most especially when you have corruption, its perpetrators and beneficiaries fighting back. They employ and sponsor all forms of despicable means to frustrate the regime.
    Let me refresh our memories back to the confession made by former President Goodluck Jonathan in January 2015 during his re-election campaign in Ilorin. He emphatically told Nigerians that, ‘Nobody can fix Nigeria in four years.’ He knew the quantum of damage on ground.
    I am proud to say that the Buhari government remains the only bold administration to revisit the 42-year-old Mambilla hydro-electric project avoided by all previous regimes. This government has already awarded contract for the execution of the project to enhance power supply and irrigation in the country. It is unfortunate that Nigeria lost about $18 billion on electricity in the past without a corresponding result.
    Let us also look at the efforts towards diversification of the economy through agriculture. For just three years, Nigeria is moving towards food sufficiency with more for export. This has translated into job and wealth creation among Nigerians.
    It is on record that no government in the history of Nigeria has fought corruption like the Buhari administration. It has spared no one, including high profile officials. Accountability, probity and transparency have remained the core values of this government. Today, Nigeria has a foreign reserve of over $38 as at December last year.
    The former President said PDP and the APC have both failed the nation. He suggested coalition of patriots to rescue the country. How do you see this?
     I think it is grossly unfair to compare a political party that ruled this country for 16 years with another that has been in office for just three years. The assessment will only be fair after another 16 years, and the difference will be clear for Nigerians.
    As a democrat, l believe one can only contest public office in Nigeria through a political party because, we do not have provision for independent candidacy. That being the case, there is no political party in Nigeria today that constitutes any threat to the APC.
     
    We are lucky to have the solid support of Nigerians especially at the grassroots for President Buhari. APC is always prepared to beat any party and its candidate most especially, with Buhari as our candidate.

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