Recently Aisha Alhassan, minister of women affairs in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, stirred the hornets nest when she gleefully pronounced Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President as Nigeria’s president come 2019. Abubakar, a chieftain of the same party as the president ran for the ticket with Buhari ahead the 2015 election. Now the All Progressives Congress, APC , the ruling party had to query Alhassan over a statement that presupposed that the president who is also the leader of the party might have dropped the hint that he would not run for second term in office. There was uproar within and outside the party as some party leaders even called for the minister’s resignation. She had to apologise to the party. But long before Alhassan made that statement, there were speculations that President Buhari would probably finish the four-year tenure and leave the stage. The reason often given for this belief is the president’s health. And from the recent experiences, the the president had had to travel abroad for undisclosed health challenge, the assumption is that he would probably decide to step down in 2019, to attend to his health. Perhaps that sounds logical, since President Buhari had offered a similar advice to late Umaru Yar’Adua.
But those who claim that Buhari will not run at the next general election and the minister, who did a subtle campaign for Abubakar, are wrong about Buhari’s ambition. He is running for second term. And that is official!
Sources say he has already appointed a governor from Northwest geo-political zone to head a committee comprising his political associates to canvass for funds for the exercise. The committee is also said to have started consultations with political leaders across party lines. The body was put together by the president shortly after he returned from the United Kingdom with assurances from his doctors.