By Mark A. Upaa
As a result of his sagacity, political ‘midas touch’, no-retreat-no-surrender attitude, as well as the exigencies of goverance President Mohamed Buharc has handed over his presidential re-election campaign to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Jagaban), the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to President Buhari; This action is to enable him concentrate on governance. The president said that despite the commencement of political campaign for his second term bid, he would not sacrifice state affairs for his re-election bid. Buhari spoke yesterday at the inauguration of the APC presidential campaign council at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. He further said: “Even though we have only 40 days, this campaign is going to tax us all, because we intend to touch all corners of our great and vast country.”
Buhari continued: “Let us engage our citizens on issues and ask for reflection on the comparative difference between 2015 and 2019 on security, economy and corruption and abuse by those entrusted with leadership in Nigeria. “As we embark on the campaign to secure mandate for the next level, I want to acknowledge the sacrifices and contributions of all stakeholders who have endeavoured to keep our party united, and our governance successful. “I urge members of this formidable team to always keep their eyes on the ball, which is the success of our party at the polls. “I wish to appeal to all members to be guided by the enduring vision behind the formation and sustenance of our party, which is anchored on sacrifice and imperative to salvage and stabilise our great and promising nation,” the president said.
Buhari further appealed to all APC members, especially those in the campaign council, to unite and ensure a smooth operation. He thanked Nigerians for their hard work, long suffering, yet resolutely committed for the continued investment of their trust in his administration’s commitment and competence to redirect the country and its governance towards sustainable and wholesome development. According to him, “a victory for APC is a victory for all well-meaning Nigerians, who are committed to “change” from an inglorious past; where those in positions of public trust willfully took for themselves what belongs to us all; where the security of our citizens was second place to their acquisition of unwholesome wealth; where our economic growth was sacrificed for the fleeting ease of import dependency.” The president noted that his government had in the last three years and six months reversed the downward slide that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took the nation in its 16 years of misrule.
“We have restored the territorial integrity of our nation, thanks to our gallant men and women in the armed forces. We are systematically engaged in all the remaining corridors of insurgency, kidnappings, robberies, herdsmen and farmers clashes. “We have reset our national values: corruption is no longer condoned and is no longer seen as normal for public officeholders. The agencies of government are no longer equivocal in dealing with anyone who flouts our laws.”
Buhari said that under the APC-led government, the high and low are receiving jail terms, loots are being recovered, and Nigerians are increasingly displaying the “timeless values of honesty, honour and decency.” He, therefore, congratulated every Nigerian for making these changes possible. “Our economy has become a prudently managed enterprise. Our resources are now working for us, as we ensure the delivery of key national infrastructure, which were left unattended over these past years 15, The direct impact of our policies on improvements in roads, railways, and power supply are evident. “There is greater evidence of economic diversification seen in growing local production of agricultural produce and solid minerals. “Our government has succeeded in the last four years in halting national drift, removing the shadow of insecurity and fear dominating our life and reviving our economy from decline to stability and growth.
The macroeconomic health of our economy, indicated by several measurable factors such as a stable exchange rate, lower inflation, growing foreign reserves, have been applauded by independent local and international rating agencies. In addition, the quality of elections since 2015 had continued to improve with declining levels of problems that had defined elections in the past. Free, fair and credible elections are the foundation of political stability and peace in any nation, Buhari said, adding that “we have insisted that votes must count and have maintained a policy of non-interference in elections.”. According to him, INEC has since 2015 conducted fair and credible elections in 195 constituencies nationwide, which have been attested nationwide to be qualitatively better than previous elections.
Buhari also reiterated his commitment to free and fair elections, saying “If there is one legacy I want to leave is the enthronement of democracy as a system of government.” He added that for democracy to be enthroned, elections must be free and fair where citizens have the right to vote for candidates of their choice without intimidation in any form. “I have warned INEC and security agencies to that effect,” he said. Buhari restated that he would keep insisting that votes must count and assured Nigerians that the campaigns would be anchored on his performance in the last four years. “There is no doubt that our party has succeeded in taking Nigeria to a new level of enduring peace, economic growth, political stability, justice and progress. This is the new level we are promising Nigerians, the details of which we will take to Nigerians as we embark on our campaigns,” the president stated. PDP Won’t Have Peace Without Returning Looted Funds.
Apparently, a bid to manage the chaos this announcment would undoubtedly in his campaign head quarters, especially among the lower cadre of operatives, Buhari defined the job of the director-general of the Presidential Campaign Council, Rotimi Amaechi, as having overall responsibility for all aspects of the campaign, including field operations while the secretariate for his re-election campaign would take charge of administrative and treasury-related activities of the council. He therefore admonished the leadership and members of APC “to resist being provoked, remain focused and civil in your campaigns.”
Some political pundits however see this unprecedented move by the President as a nutering of the influence and power of the erstwhile DG of his Campaign Organization, the Honourable Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Chubuike Amechi. Claiming that the timing of the announcement, which coincided with the leaking of an audio message alleged to be of some high ranking members of the APC, who are privy to his re-election team lambasting the President and his current campaign strategy, while voicing their sceptisim of his ability to win re-election. Others have countered saying, this shake-up is normal and is just a bid to inject new ideas and blood into a campaign that has seemed to lack urgency and initiative as the elections loom iminently and campaigning enters into the home stretch.