President Muhammadu Buhari used the occasion of his trip to Abidjan, capital of Côte d’Ivoire, on Wednesday, to reveal his intention to seek re-election in 2019.
His declaration of interest is coming on the heels of a statement by the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, that the party would follow due process in picking a flag bearer in the 2019 presidential election.
Buhari is attending the 5th European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit.
The president said he insisted on embarking on the trip to Cote d’Ivoire with Governors Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State and Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State so as to appeal to the conscience of Nigerians living in Côte d’Ivoire.
He said he believes that when indigenes from the two states see their governors, they would be happy that he was accompanied by their governors and that might earn him votes in future.
Buhari said this while apologising for keeping guests waiting for an interactive session with the Nigerian community in Abidjan Tuesday night.
“First, I want to apologise 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 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 company 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.”
The hall erupted in laughter and clapping of hands afterwards.
Besides Tinubu, Imo State governor and chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha, had also hinted that he was not averse to Buhari contesting for a second term as he was eminently qualified.
Okorocha said there would not be an automatic ticket for Buhari as he would have to subject himself to party primaries.
These developments followed the recent resignation by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar from the APC for personal reasons.
While Atiku is already consulting with PDP leaders, a number of APC governors have thrown their weight behind Buhari, insisting they have adopted him as their sole presidential candidate come 2019 elections.
As if Buhari was involved in a subtle campaign while in Cote d’Ivoire, he said his support, which later culminated in the emergence of Akinwumi Adesina as president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), was not by surprise.
According to him, despite serving as a minister in a PDP-led government, he threw his weight behind Adesina which confirmed his remarks at his inauguration on May 29, 2015, that he belonged to “everybody and to nobody”.
The president made the comment in reaction to Adesina’s gratitude to his administration for supporting him to get the job.
Buhari 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 emphasised 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 APC, 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 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.”
Adesina, in his remarks, noted that the economy picked up soon after the president’s health did, adding, “So, it seems there is a correlation between the president’s health and the improved economy.”
Buhari Orders Repatriation Of Stranded Nigerians In Libya
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate repatriation of Nigerians stranded in Libya and other parts of the world for rehabilitation.
This declaration was made in Abidjan, according to a statement issued on Wednesday by Garba Shehu, President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity.
According to him, the president made this known in an interactive session with members of the Nigerian community in Cote d’Ivoire.
The president vowed to reduce the number of Nigerians heading for Europe illegally through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea by providing basic social amenities such as education, healthcare, and food security at home, Garba said in the statement.
According to him, the president said that all necessary steps would be taken to stem the tide of illegal migration by Nigerians.
He, however, noted that “it is very difficult to know the origin of the people who died, while attempting the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, because of lack of documentation.
“When it was announced that 26 Nigerians died recently in the Mediterranean, before they proved that they were all Nigerians they buried them.
“The evidence I have from the Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs, (Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa) is that only three of them were identified as Nigerians.
“But I’ll not be surprised if the majority of them were Nigerians.
“For people to cross the Sahara desert and Mediterranean through shanty boats… we will try and keep them at home.
“Anybody who died in the desert and Mediterranean without documents; to prove that he is a Nigerian, there is absolutely nothing we can do.”
On the recent footage on the sale of Africans in Libya, he quotes the president as saying that “it was appalling that some Nigerians (in the footage) were being sold like goats for few dollars in Libya.”
He said, “After 43 years of Gadhafi, why are they recruiting so many people from the Sahel including Nigerians? All they learned was how to shoot and kill. They didn’t learn to be electricians, plumbers or any other trade.”
On domestic issues, President Buhari told Nigerians in the Diaspora that “there is good news from home in the area of security, economy and anti-corruption.
“We are not doing too badly in trying to secure the country, improve the economy and deal with corruption.
“We are doing our best at all levels including security. It is absolute madness for people to blow others up in markets, churches, and mosques.”
According to him, no religion advocates violence, saying that “Justice is the basic thing all religions demand and you can’t go wrong if you do it.”
On food security, the president said that his vision of repositioning Nigeria as a food-secure nation was on course as the “country is on the verge of attaining food security.”
He attributed the development to positive agricultural reform programmes and bumper harvest occasioned by good weather.
According to the president, interventions through the Anchor Borrows Programme of the CBN and the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative, among others, had been very successful in the agricultural reform initiative.
“People have gone back to the farm. We got the CBN, agriculture minister and money was provided at very low interest to farmers and the farmers responded and it was very positive.
“We are lucky that we are in a position to feed ourselves. So we are going to have food security in Nigeria earlier than anybody ever thought,” he noted.
The president advised Nigerians in Cote d’Ivoire to be good ambassadors in their host country, warning that the embassy would not hesitate to repatriate those who tarnish the image of the country abroad.
Buhari Nominates Isa, Nine Others For CCB Jobs
Meanwhile, names of 10 nominees for confirmation as chairman and members of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has been forwarded to the Senate by President Buhari.
According to a letter read on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday by Senate President Bukola Saraki, the CCB is to be headed by Muhammed Isa while the nine others are to serve as members.
The president pleaded with the lawmakers to expedite action on the confirmation of the nominees.
Buhari in the letter read by Saraki noted that “in compliance with section 541 of the 1999 constitution as amended and in pursuant to sections 1(2) and 1(3) of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act LFN 2004, I write to request for the confirmation of the following nominees for appointment as chairman and members of the bureau.
“The curriculum vitae of the nominees are attached herewith. It is my hope that this Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will in their usual expeditious manner consider and confirm the nominees. Please accept Mr. Senate President, my assurances of my highest consideration.”
Isa, who is expected to head the Bureau, hails from Jigawa, North West.
Others are Murtala Kankia – member, Katsina, North West; Emmanuel Attah – member, Cross River, South South; Danjuma Sado, member, Edo, South South; Obolo Opanachi, member, Kogi, North Central; and Ken Madaki Alkali, member Nasarawa, North Central.
Others are S.F. Ogundare, member, Oyo, South West; Ganiyu Hamzat, member, Ogun, South West; Sahad Abubakar, member, Gombe North East; and Vincent Nwanne, member, Ebonyi, South East.