President Muhammadu Buhari is arguably the most popular politician and president Nigeria has ever had. He got in with an unprecedented goodwill and support – a reverence never seen even during the Late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Sir Ahmadu Bello’s era. To say President Buhari had never spent a kobo of his own as a politician on key campaign matters, even though he claimed to have bought the APC presidential nomination form in 2015 with his money is an understatement.
As a stanchion politician, many have immensely benefited and hinged on his popularity to get elected into various political offices since 2003. Even when he could not make it to the presidency on three attempts, he secured more than enough votes, despite instances of electoral irregularities and rigging to convince anyone that his popularity is not only intimidating but capable of unseating an incumbent president, which he eventually did under a coalition of strange bed fellows in 2015.
There is nothing Nigerians have not done including trekking from Lagos to Abuja – Adamawa to Abuja, contributing their hard-earned money, coming together as pressure groups and endangering their lives to ensure that President Buhari, whom they so much believed in returns as a civilian president in 2015, even though most of the youths that made the ultimate sacrifice for that are either too young or were not even born to witness his reign as a military Head of State.
Having suffered from corrupt and insensitive leadership over the years, with all sectors of the economy deteriorating, Nigerians justifiably saw a messier in Buhari. However, with just a few months to the end of his four years mandate, there is a general disappointment on the state of the nation – even though killings and bombings associated with Boko Haram insurgency is minimal but the billions spent on the war on terror cannot in all rationality be justified.
Nigeria under President Buhari and his apathetic Service Chiefs is confronted with more security challenges, perhaps never seen in the history of the country. The North, Buhari’s constituency is ironically the most affected and also records the highest casualties of the security challenges the nation is facing today. As a nation, we are face with daily cases of kidnapping and ransom demands like a script in a Latin American Hollywood movie while the security agencies stand aside to mourn with the rest of us.
Communal crises, Herders/Farmers clashes, armed criminal activities particularly in Zamfara State and environs consumed more lives since 2015 than the collective casualties of Boko Haram terror during the same period. High rise of poverty, unemployment, youths restiveness and sorts have increased to an alarming and deadly rate.
It is an established fact that the APC government under President Buhari has failed to meet the basic requirements of leadership as well as the yearnings of the people, particularly in the critical areas of human development and security. It is even more worrying that the President has done virtually nothing in checking the excesses of the powerful Cabals, whose capitalist activities has undermined his administration in no small measure.
The masses, who are the worst affected by President Buhari’s perceived outdated economic policies and covered administrative corrupt activities, are by all indications determined to overlook his shortcomings and weaknesses as a president, and intend to re-elect him for a second and final term.
There is no doubt that the support President Buhari still enjoys particularly amongst the masses is cult-like and one that will intimidate any opposition party or opposition candidate. With the incumbency advantage on his side, the APC governors and other rich appointees that are ready to use the resources of their ministries, agencies and parastatals to ensure his return for their own interest is no doubt a big yardstick for a return come 2019.
In Nigeria today, it is a well known fact with those close to the masses (who constitutes the largest number of voters) that as long as President Buhari will contest perhaps even on a sick bed, they are ready and prepared to use their bloods, if that is what it takes, to ensure his re-election. While it is true, that his popularity has drastically reduced in view of the seeming failure of his administration; its selective war on corruption, failed economic policies that have crippled businesses especially in Northern Nigeria as well as the misdemeanors of Cabals that surround him to mention a few – these and more his die-hard supporters are too blind and subjective to accept.
It is the view of many political analysts and other keen political observers that the number of those that withdrew support for Buhari and opted not to vote for him is so negligible and that despite the gale of defections that almost consumed the APC, it is still not enough to stop him from a second term, even though they acknowledged that because of the failure of the party to deliver its campaign promises in most of the APC States, it will be difficult in a free and fair election for most of the Party’s Governors and Lawmakers to retain their seats in 2019.
In an open and elaborate survey conducted by DESERT HERALD, it is gathered that despite the recent defections of political heavyweights like Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Former Kano State Governor, Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso and Governors Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, AbdulFatah Ahmed and Samuel Ortom to PDP – President Buhari still remains the candidate to beat.
Even though majority of the voters in Nigeria, despite their hardship, are not enlighten enough to appreciate the movement to boot a government that has so many skeletons in it’s closet or support the emergence of a largely young leaders with fresh ideas like we have seen recently in France and many other developed countries – it is also worthy of note that the oppositions especially the PDP also seems not to be doing much to investigate and bring out the many excesses and failures of Buhari’s administration for the purpose of convincing voters for the need for a more vibrant, incisive, innovative and healthy leadership come 2019.
Certainly, President Buhari’s health is fragile. Nigeria or the North needs not to engage in such an unnecessary gamble. Those that are close to the President certainly have a lot to benefit from his ill-health as they have done many times in the past. Having known the fragility of his health, some world leaders had expected before his official pronouncement for a second term that he will instead bring up a younger, healthier northerner in the interest of the nation but the Cabals that inflicted so much harm to the country and its economy under his rule won’t allow that.
To be continued…