2019: Why Saraki Should Run for President. By Femi Salako

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The 2019 election is already upon us, from the time table released by INEC, the Presidential election is just about 7-months away (February 2019), yet Nigerians seem to still be at a crossroad about who succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari after May 2019. Notwithstanding that Buhari had declared to run for a second term, the voice on the street is singing an elegy in sharp contrast to the eulogy coming from Aso Rock. The elegy has issued a caveat saying the incumbent is not an option.

 

Failure to demonstrate capacity, competence, firmness and leadership traits on crucial issues affecting the people, especially the rampaging Fulani herdsmen that has gruesomely killed thousands across the country and still on a killing spree, corruption involving top members of the government and the APC, and dwindling economic fortune of the nation from the fastest growing economy in 2014 to the world capital of poverty in 2018, and high among many other tragedies of the Buhari government have combined to expose the man who sought the presidency three times, before eventually winning the fourth time in 2015, as grossly incompetent and one not fit to hold a public office for a second term if the first has been admitted as a national error.

 

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The President’s display of clannishness in handling the Fulani herdsmen gruesome killings across the nation occuring almost on a daily basis with no end in sight and his failure to fulfil campaign promises, rising unemployment rate that has left millions jobless between 2015 and 2018, and in the face of all the calamities brought upon the nation by the Buhari government, one would have expected the President to walk the path of honour and go back home in May 2019 at the end of his tenure. No! as common among over-aged African leaders, Buhari wants to come back again. Who bewitched you Nigeria?

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Just like former presidential spokesperson, Dr Doyin Okupe advised on Channels Television breakfast show, Sunrise Daily recently, “APC would be doing themselves a favour if they do not allow the president to run. Buhari’s government and the APC are presently at the lowest ebb of popularity. The saying that Buhari has 12million votes in the North is delusional, the northerners are also affected by the economic problem Nigeria is facing, and a larger percentage of the goodwill and popularity Buhari enjoyed before the 2015 elections have diminished because the people are not happy.

 

“Take for instance, Buhari had about two million votes from the Middle belt, now 80 percent of that is gone. Any vote Buhari and the APC lose in the North cannot be recovered anywhere else.” Okupe, who can be regarded as a general in the Nigerian political warfront advised, but like a Yoruba adage, a dog destined to be lost does not hear the hunter’s whistle, so is the case of the APC presently.

 

The APC will be fielding Buhari as its candidate in 2019, that Buhari will not be re-elected again in 2019 due to his abysmal performance is not a fallacy, its a fact. But sadly it is too late for Buhari and the APC to make any tangible amend that could sway for the APC, the sympathy of the masses angered and impoverished by the unprecedented incompetemce of the Buhari administration.

 

In all of these, there is an urgent need for a new branch to spring forth, notwithstanding from the APC’s root, a branch that has the wherewithal to challenge the tyrancy and incompetence that has become the by-word of the Buhari government. One with a quick understanding and major player in the not too distant past and the present, who can stand to salvage and recover the Nigerian economy already in comatose in the last three years leading to unprecedented impoverishing of the Nigerian masses.

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As it presently stand, to lead this new movement, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki appropriately fits into the characteristic of the branch needed at this time to confront the tyranical Buhari government of poverty multiplication. Saraki should stop boxing himself into being just President of the Senate, this is the appropriate time for him to take a shot at the Presidency. He cannot afford to ignore the voice of reasoning. The Supreme Court acquittal of Saraki from corruption charges last week have further amplified this call and need for him to run for President.

 

Talk of a leader with empathy, good understanding of the Nigerian political and economic landscape, competence in handling legislative and other national issues as displayed in the last three years of the APC, Saraki surely stands out among others, why wouldn’t he want to contest in 2019?

 

Okupe described Saraki as “the next most visible and most notable politician in Nigeria today, after Buhari, and he would do himself a great favour if he steps into the ring and run for president, because he has the pedigree.

 

“Saraki had the required exposure and experience from being a Special Assistant to the president to being a two-term governor, and now the Senate president. He has been through different stages of leadership and this makes him stand out among many other aspirants who have indicated interest to become president.”

A pro-democracy group coordinator, Comrade Salisu Usman in his call on the Senate President to run for president said “in the last three years, Saraki stands out as the only top member of the APC government who has shown more concern and empathy and also taken effective action to the sensitive issues in the country.

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“Look at his intervention which ended the 6-weeld-old Joint Health Workers (JOHESU) strike, while Buhari travelled out of the country to seek medical care, among many other national issues where he has demonstrated true leadership qualities has distinguished him and justified the calls by Nigerians for him to contest 2019 presidential election, he would be doing hiimself and the nation a great disservice if he fails to heed to this call”

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