Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha yesterday said President Muhammadu Buhari will continue in office in 2019.
“We don’t have an alternative to President Buhari for now. He will continue. The politics of this nation is no more the politics of money or do-or-die … Anybody who wants to lead this nation must make sacrifices. Buhari has already transformed and changed the image of leadership and that of our leaders in this country both locally and internationally,” he said.
He spoke at the Unity Fountain in Abuja at a rally organised by the Democratic Youth Congress (DYC) to drum support for a second term for the President.
Mustapha was represented at the event by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Political Matters Gideon Sammani.
Although the President has not announced his interest in contesting again, many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and government officials have been urging him to run.
But former President Olusegun Obasanjo in a special press statement last month advised the President not to contest. Former military leader Gen Ibrahim Babangida issues a statement clamouring for “digital leaders” from 2019. Obasanjo has since been galvanising the Coalition of Nigeria Movement, which is expected to transform into a party before the elections.
Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu, after a meeting with the President on January 3 said he was sure Buhari would run. He announced his intention to open the secretariat of a support group for the president’s ambition in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Mustapha, who became the first Presidency’s top official to speak on Buhari and 2019, told the DYC led by Kassim Mohammed Kassim that other aspirants showing interest in the plum job “have nothing to offer.”
He said: “I will present your entire message to him. I congratulate you for your support for President Buhari to run in 2019.
”I am glad you have named some of the aspirants who are interested in leading this nation. If you give them the ticket they will do nothing with it. They have nothing to offer to this nation. You and I are here because we believe in President Buhari and we know he has the capability to lead this nation. Buhari is a man with several qualities of leadership, God sent; his coming is divine, so that he will rescue this nation from the total collapse due to the destruction that has been done to the economy by the past administration.
”We all know that Buhari is transparent, honest. He has come with the change philosophy. He has lived for these to bring change to this nation. Since his military days, he stood to fight corruption, indiscipline. Many people fear him because he does not compromise corruption. And corrupt people are afraid that they will be brought to book. And those who have already looted the treasury of this nation are followed by the security agencies. By the grace of God Buhari will not relent in this fight”.
Kassim said his group was working in the 36 states and Abuja for the actualisation of the President’s continuity beyond 2019.
He explained that they were working with about 15 APC state governors towards actualising their goal.
He said: “We felt there is a need for us to mobilise for the President’s 2019 reelection. We know the role we played when President Muhammadu was away for medical check-up. A lot of people said Buhari will not come back but we kept the hope alive because many lost hope. We have mobilised for a rally in support of Buhari.
”We are calling on Buhari to come out and make a public statement to run in 2019. If this does not happen between now and Monday, we will be forced to go to court and invite him to come and make a public statement. Some of our leaders are misleading the youths in Nigeria that power should be given to the youths. We are not in a hurry, all what we are asking for is that our leaders should involve us in the system; all those who want to contest in other parties are older than Buhari.
”This is an association in support of Buhari. We have almost over 20 governors supporting this movement. We are not saying he should declare but he should make a public statement. This was the same group that mobilised to Imo State and knelt down to Governor Rochas Okorocha not to run for the position of the president then. Buhari has done well and he should be allowed to continue. We are not sponsored by anybody; we are sponsoring ourselves as honourable members.”
DYC unveiled its Abuja secretariat before the rally.