2019: Buhari hints on contesting again
…Explains his support for Adesina, AfDB President
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – IN what appears to be his subtle way of announcing his willingness to seek re-election in 2019 presidential election, President Muhammadu Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday night explained the reason behind having the governors of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel and that of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar to be present when he (Buhari) addressed the Nigerian community in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
President Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC)
President Buhari specifically said the presence of the two governors during his interactive session with the Nigerian community in the country will be another vote for him when the time comes.
The President is in Abidjan, for the 5th European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit and was accompanied by the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu who was instrumental in Buhari’s emergence in 2015 after three unsuccessful attempts to become civilian president.
While apologizing for keeping some members of Nigerian community in Abidjan who had come for the interactive session waiting, President Buhari explained that he insisted on having governors Emmanuel and Abubakar present so that Nigerians in Côte d’Ivoire from the two states will be happy that he was accompanied by their governors and that might end him votes in future.
He said, “First I want to apologize for keeping you for too long seating, this is because I insisted on the governors attending this meeting. This is why I came along with them so that when we are going to meet you, when you are 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 future. I’m very pleased that they were able to turn up.”
This subtle way of announcing his intentions to contest in the 2019 election attracted laughter and accolades for him.
The President also said that his support for the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, despite serving as minister in a PDP-led government was to further confirm his remarks at his inauguration on May 29th, 2015, that he belonged to everybody and nobody in particular.
The President was reacting to Adesina’s gratitude to his administration for supporting him to get the job, leading to him becoming the first Nigerian to head the continental bank since it was set up in 1964.
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.”
President Buhari also thanked the national leader, of the All Progressive Congress Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for bringing him a beautiful piece of information which he was not aware of until now.
Buhari however did not disclose what piece of information it was but promised to discuss it in detail with Tinubu.
According to him, “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 hardwork and I will discuss that paper with you.”
Adesina in his remarks noted that the economy picked up soon after the President’s health, adding that “so it seems there is a correlation between the President’s health and the improved economy.“
On security, Adesina said the bank has released $250 million for the construction and rehabilitation of the Northeast, destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgents.
He also said that the AfDB has constructed a big building behind the Yar’Adua centre that started in 2016 and completed.
He said it is the first of such building by AfDB outside its Abidjan headquarters which he will want President Buhari to commissioned.
Adesina said, “I want to thank you immensely. I want to thank God for your health because I must say that for all of us that has been a big concern. But seeing you fit as a fiddle and seeing you back in action, we thank God for that and may God continue to give you great strength.
“Mr. President as you must have noticed, there is a very strong correlation between your health and the economy and when you came back the economy picked up after that. So we wish you great health so that the the economy can continue to pick.
“I also want to congratulate you for the economic growth and recovery plan that you have put in place and the incredible plan that you have put in place to bring the economy out of recession and also in terms of the fact that Nigeria has moved up in the World Bank ease of doing business index.
“Is to your leadership, vision and commitment that we want to from the African Development Bank commend you Mr. President and to assure you of our strong support behind you and your government for the efforts to try and move Nigeria forward. We are solidly behind you, you can count on that.
“I also want to thank you for your leadership on the Boko Haram issue because to draw investments into Nigeria, you absolutely have to have security. I think that securing our borders is very very important thanks to your leadership for that. I also thank you for all the efforts you have made in the Lake Chad Basin Area.
“I was with you in Paris where you led the efforts in reviving the Lake Chad Basin. As you know Mr. President, the bank is very strongly behind that. We put in $250 million to support the northeast of Nigeria rebuilding. I know you were criticize for rebuilding but I don’t see anything wrong, if things get destroyed they have to be rebuilt and the African Development Bank has contributed $250 million towards that.”
Governor Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State is of the Peoples Democratic Party, one of the states it was alleged that the ruling APC was interested in winning because of its large deposits of oil.