PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari dropped broad hints in far-away Abidjan on Tuesday evening that he may seek re-election in 2019.
He dropped the hint while meeting with members of the Nigerian community in Cote d’Ivoire where he is currently participating in the 5th European Union-African Union Summit.
The hints came hot on the heels of Buhari’s recent courting of APC National Leader Bola Tinubu, whom he took with him to Abidjan in the presidential jet. They sat side by side in the plane and photographers caught them smiling broadly during the flight.
Addressing Nigerians in Cote D’Ivoire, President Buhari said if the Nigerian community there informs other Nigerians that some state governors accompanied him to the meeting, that would earn him more votes in the future. He said, “First, I want to apologize for keeping you for too long, sitting. This is because I insisted on the governors attending this meeting. This is why I came along with them so that when we’re going to meet you, when you’re going to meet the rest of Nigerians, if you tell them that their governors were in the accompany of the president, I think that will be another vote for me in the future. I’m very pleased that they were able to turn up.” His reference to earning more votes in the future was widely interpreted to mean he will seek a second term in office.
The president caused another stir at the event when he described Tinubu as our leader even though he said last year that he himself is APC’s national leader.
He said, “I also thank our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has brought me a very beautiful piece of information which I was not aware of it until I sat down and read it this evening (Tuesday night). Thank you very much for your hard work and I will discuss that paper with you.”
Buhari also said his recommendation of Akinwumi Adesina for the presidency of the African Development Bank confirmed the statement he made during his inaugural speech that he belongs to everybody and to nobody.
He said, “The President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, who forgot to mention that he was serving in the PDP government as minister but all the same I picked him and recommended him for AfDB. I think it emphasized what I said during my swearing in that I’m for everybody, I’m for nobody. As long as you are a Nigerian, be prepared to be on the receiving end from me.”
In yet another indication that he is entering a campaign mode for second term, it was announced yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari would pay a two-day official visit to Kano State from Tuesday next week, December 5. In recent weeks there have been loud complaints on the social media that Buhari has not visited Kano State after thirty months in office even though he garnered more votes there in 2015 than in any other state.
According to Daily Trust, last night Kano State government initially proposed a three-day presidential visit but that Buhari approved two days. The visit was earlier scheduled for last Monday, November 27, but was postponed due to the president’s trip to Abidjan.
During next week’s visit, Buhari is expected to commission some multi-billion naira projects, inspect others and lay the foundation for new projects. Projects to be commissioned by him are Giginyu and Zoo Road hospitals, 25-30 metric tons capacity fertilizer blending firm, Madobi Underpass and a 21 kilometre road.
Buhari is also expected to inspect the Bukavu Underpass, multi-purpose skills acquisition centre and 2000 affordable housing units along Zaria road, all of which are under construction. He will also lay the foundation stone of the Kanawa Economic City.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed had said on Tuesday that President Muhammadu Buhari is more focused on delivering on his campaign promises and does not want to be distracted about re-contesting election in 2019.