How OBJ unofficially launched Buhari’s re-election bid

The former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo is hellbent on staying in the political scene.

He’s made it a point of call to comment on almost everything, after all, he is ‘Baba’.

The latest in this unending series is his endorsement of President Buhari for a stab at the 2019 elections. This will not be unusual. In fact, what will be unusual in Nigeria is if the President chooses not to contest.

Obasanjo’s endorsement

On Sunday, Kehinde Akinyemi, the former presient’s media aide issued a statement condemning an earlier statement by another media aide to former President Olusegun, Alex Nwokedi, in which the latter had ‘on behalf of Olusegun Obasanjo’, asked the sitting President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.

The former President’s approved statement by Kehinde Akinyemi reads:

“My belief is that democracy allowed for anybody including President Buhari for that matter to contest any election and it is the prerogative rights of Nigerians to vote or not to vote for them.”

Condemning the story that necessitated his response, “in the most highest manner …and those behind it”, the former President assured that he could never give Buhari such advice. He added  that those behind it are simply enemies of democracy and freedom of expression.

Alex Nwokedi

This is not the first time some “enemies of democracy” or “detractors” have attributed a false statement to the former President to necessiatate and immediate response from him where he not only clears the airs but actually makes his positions known.

A little digging revealed that Alex Nwokedi did make the statements advising Buhari not to contest in 2019.

In an online publication dated September 3, Daily Post reports that:

“Former Chief Press Secretary to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, when he was Military Head of State, Alex Nwokedi, has admonished President Muhammadu Buhari against contesting in 2019.”

Nwokedi, who is the immediate past Chairman, Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers, however, urged Nigerians to support to the President to complete his current tenure.

The report was made against the background of an interview Nwokedi granted to Vanguard where the traditional ruler said that “President Buhari has no programme.

He had only one ambition. He wanted to be President and by the grace of God he is now the President.”

He further said that “the economy is very bad and Buhari should give way for somebody who has plan to come and take care of the economy.”

2019 elections

The 2019 elections may seem far away but in Nigeria where sitting Presidents sometimes promise to only need a term in office but turn around to contest with convictions that betray years of planning, it won’t be a bad idea to already start talking about 2019 elections.

The Buhari case is very peculiar though. He has his age and what a lot of people might consider, a frail health, working against a re-election bid. There is also the waning trust in his administration’s ‘Change’ agenda.

A lot of Nigerians are at the end of their patience with the turn things have taken. If there is not turnaround before his last year in office, it might not be a good idea to contest again.

Again, this is Nigeria and it does not usually matter how much a government has failed on promises and policies, a second term is almost always certain barring death as in the case of Umaru Yar’adua or whatever caused former President Jonathan’s loss at the last elections.

And since we are talking about Obasanjo, sometimes even a 3rd term bid may not be completely off the table.

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