President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday that he will not allow those vying for the presidency in 2023 to use his name to force themselves on Nigerians. He said anyone craving to occupy a political office must work hard to achieve his goal by convincing the electorate instead of dropping his name.
Buhari stated this yesterday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja while fielding questions from journalists at a brief event to mark his 77th birthday, assuring that he would guarantee an atmosphere for free and fair elections in 2023.
Many politicians have used Buhari’s popularity and name to win elections. And most recently, the tussle for the presidency has begun in earnest as politicians from both North and South are scheming to have an edge ahead of party primaries and the general elections. While responding to enquiries on the development, Buhari did not mention any politician(s) planning to use his name to run in 2023, but assured that he will not give them room to achieve ulterior motive.
“What I want to promise Nigerians is that I will work very hard on free and fair elections,” the president said. “All those that are going to succeed in the National Assembly and the presidency, they better work very hard because I will make sure, using the law enforcement agencies, that elections are free and fair. That nobody uses his office or resources to force himself on his constituency,” he said. When asked of his message to corrupt elements and economic saboteurs, Buhari said, “Well, like I said, I have learned the hard way.
When I came in uniform, I collected those who were leading, took them to Kirikiri and told them they were guilty until they could prove themselves innocent. I put in place, in almost all the geopolitical zones, committees to investigate them. “Those that were found to have lived beyond their means, the balance was taken and were given to the states. But I, myself, was arrested and detained. “But they (corrupt politicians) gave back what they had stolen.
So, under this system, which is supposed to be more accountable, it is too slow for my liking but I have to follow it.” While speaking on his birthday gift to Nigerians, Buhari urged them to exhibit high sense of patience and patriotism in order to bequeath a worthwhile legacy to future generations. “What we see as rule, nobody can have his own way.
We better accept the truth that we are one… God has blessed us with land, people and resources. We must have the patience to exploit them and leave something for our future generations,” he said. Asked to express his feeling at 77, the president said, “I feel well at 77. A lot of others at 77 are on crutches and I am walking on my two feet.
“I think I have come to accept the realities of leadership in Nigeria; you can only try. It is a terrific country, no matter what you do, there are people on daily basis that look for your faults and go to the press. So, you have to learn to live with that.” Scramble for 2023 Daily Trust reports that many incumbent and former governors, senators and other influential people in both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are reportedly already holding nocturnal meetings ahead of 2023.
Reports have it that in APC, the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, as well as some serving and former governors from the North and South are all trying to curry favour from Buhari. In PDP, ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State are all gearing up for the presidency. Agitation by ethnic champions from the six geopolitical zones to produce the president is equally heating up the polity.
It was reported last week that Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum obstructed a move by governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa) and Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) to convince President Buhari to remove Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as APC national chairman. The move was reportedly part of the elaborate plan to pave way for one of them to replace the president in 2023. A credible source with knowledge of what happened during the governors’ meeting with Buhari confirmed the development last night when contacted by one of our correspondents. He said it was true that some politicians were planning to remove Oshiomhole not for altruistic purpose but for personal gain.
“It is all part of the post-Buhari era and the president must watch very carefully,” he said. “It is all about 2023…Besides those that want to change some equations in the APC, there are some people who are not bothered about some salient issues…In fact, left to them the issue of zoning, demographic balancing and other considerations should be forgotten simply because they want power,” he said.