Saturday, 5 August 2017

2019 Elections: Babangida, Obasanjo Shortlist Buhari Replacement- Report

2019 Elections: Babangida, Obasanjo Shortlist Buhari Replacement- Report

With President Buhari absent from the country since May of this year there has been a lot of uncertainty on the political terrain, none more so than who will handle the country come 2019.

With 2017 careening towards a conclusion, the idea of the 2019 elections looms ever larger and there are scrambles to sort out allegiances and so on.

According to a report by the Sun, the top political players in the country are of the opinion that President Buhari has no plans to run in 2019 and are therefore looking for who to place in power.

Central to this plot is General Ibrahim Babangida who was reported to have met with fellow political players ex-National Security Adviser, General Aliyu Gusau and former head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar.

It is reported that Abubakar in the meeting was hoping to be endorsed by IBB and Gusau and is hopeful for their support. It was also reported that Abubakar and Gusau are on a shortlist to be successors to Buhari.

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A big stumbling block, however, is former President Olusegun Obasanjo who has been quoted as saying his former deputy would never be president when he is alive.

There’s also the issue of age, as it has been reported that the kingmakers want a President below the age of 70 which will disqualify Abubakar who will be 71 in November.

Atiku’s spokesman, Paul Ibe, however, denied knowledge of any objection to the candidacy of his boss on account of his age by former President Obasanjo.

He said, “honestly I have no idea about Obasanjo objecting to the support of my boss on account of age.” He added, “I know that, naturally, there are moves, alignments and realignments. Those things are expected in politics.”

Another meeting said to have been held on the 2nd of May, 2017 at the insistence of Obasanjo featured talks on who a new candidate would be. According to the Sun, It was agreed that the next president must be under 70, must be a pan-Nigeria personality from any part of the country. Ethnicity and religion must also not be a barrier.

Also candidates were considered among which were; Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (60); current governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (51); former Cross River governor, Donald Duke (55) and the immediate past governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomhole (65), all of who are of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, stock.

Speaking on these assertions, Kassim Afegbua who acts as his spokesman and special adviser said, “First of all, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as a politician with an ambition has the right to reach out to anyone who he thinks can add value to his aspiration.

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It is true that he, Atiku has reached out to General IBB and also General Aliyu Gusau, the same way other presidential aspirants have been reaching out too. What is not true is to state that he has been endorsed by the duo.

“On the other hand, Chief Obasanjo has a right to own his opinion on any aspirant, but in the life of any aspirant, no man can play God. General IBB’s doors are open to any aspirant who feels he, IBB can add value to his aspiration.

General IBB has left partisan politics six years ago when he clocked 70. As an elder statesman, he remains committed to the ideals of the founding fathers of Nigeria and its unity.

“He will continue to welcome Nigerians of all shades to his Minna home in furthering the narrative of one indivisible Nigeria. When it is time for election, in line with his inalienable right to vote, he will identify with anyone whom he thinks can represent the country and preside over her affairs beyond 2019. For now, it is not a time for endorsement. It is a time for sober reflections”

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