Ahead of February 2019 presidential election, the campaign organisation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, has declared that it was not bothered by the gang-up by certain retired Generals, against a fresh mandate for the party’s presidential candidate.
Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, had in a 13-page statement last January entitled: “The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement,” advised President Buhari not to seek a fresh term.
Obasanjo had called on Buhari to “dismount from the horse” and join the league of the country’s former leaders whose “experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country.”
In a similar vein, former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, also last February, in a press statement entitled: “Towards National Rebirth,” appealed to Nigerians “to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his term of office on May 29th, 2019 and collectively prepare the way for new generation leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country.”
General Babangida had further submitted that what the country needed was “digital leadership orientation with all the trappings of consultative, constructive, communicative, interactive and utility-driven approach where everyone has a role to play in the process of enthroning accountability and transparency in governance.”
But speaking in an interview, spokesperson of the President Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), said the achievements of the APC presidential candidate in office, not the endorsement of retired Generals, remained his selling point.
He further noted that the defection of certain chieftains of the erstwhile ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into the APC would boost the chances of President Buhari.
He said: “The influential forces that are also not with him then have also come to be with him. It is a balance of terror and force. Big names like Godswill Akpabio, Emmanuel Uduaghan in the South-South; big names like Senator Ken Nnamani and Senator Hope Uzodinmma in the South-East; former governors and senators who weren’t with him [in 2015] have now joined the APC.
Prodded further by Sunday Tribune on whether the like of Senators Akpabio and Uzodinmma wielded same political influence as Generals Obasanjo, Babangida and former Minister of Defence, Theophilus Danjuma, in the polity, Keyamo responded: “Look, I am averting my minds to human beings like you. You are calling human beings, I am calling human beings. The people I have mentioned, are they not human beings? Look, the people I have mentioned, are they goats?”