By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
General Muhammadu Buhari’s tenacity in his  pursuit of the presidency has become a lesson in political folklore and patience for many Nigerians. It was, however, not as if the retired general was immune to weariness after three repeated failures in 2003, 2007 and 2011.

Just before the 2011 presidential election, Buhari was quoted to have said that he would not contest again after 2011.

“This campaign is the third and last one for me since after it, I will not present myself again for election into the office of the president,” Buhari said.

The story of the defeats the president suffered in 2003, 2007 and 2011 was, however, shaped by different strokes as evidenced by the recent verbal exchange between his media aide, Garba Shehu and long time but now estranged associate, Alhaji Buba Galadima.

Galadima, Alhaji Sule Hamman and a couple of others from the Northern Intelligentsia were at the heart of the Buhari campaigns that failed to project him to victory in the three failed campaigns.

 President Buhari
President Buhari

Though the campaigns were projected through two different political parties, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP (2003 and 2007) and the Congress for Progressives Change (2011), the Buhari elements grouped around the tightly controlled The Buhari Organisation, TBO almost always dictated the pace and pattern of Buhari’s political philosophy. The TBO had Galadima and Hamman as their central drivers.

However, Senator Rufai Hanga, the pioneer chairman of the CPC in the accompanying interview asserts that Buhari’s presidential aspirations had almost always been sabotaged from within. Is he correct?

2003 when Buhari made his initial political foray may have been the time he was less sabotaged by his political associates. That was when he had Chuba Okadigbo as his running mate and a number of rooted politicians from the different geopolitical zones almost consciously supportive of his bid.

In 2007 the internal fractures within the ANPP had become so obvious as some of the second term governors in the party were openly contradicting themselves over the direction of the party. A number of the outgoing governors, perhaps out of jealousy worked at cross purposes to the extent that the only thing they agreed on was that Buhari should get the presidential ticket, but should not win the main election.

It was as such not surprising that the party foisted its national chairman, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke on him as running mate, perhaps to keep a watch on him that he was not let loose.

Not many were shocked when Ume-Ezeoke quickly distanced himself from Buhari’s opposition to the official results of the election. Even the victorious PDP candidate, Umar Musa Yar‘adua was convinced enough that his victory if it was, was bloated and agreed to put machinery to repair the electoral system.

Buhari was so peeved by the conduct of the ANPP officials that he apparently vowed not to use the party’s platform for any more election.

Whatever it was, Buhari opted to leave the APC. Whatever was the fuss with Chief John Odigie-Oyegun who became the deputy national chairman of the party is not exactly known. But it is no secret that the Buhari tendency in the party till now have remained uncomfortable with Odigie-Oyegun, who initially came to national attention during Buhari’s first stint as head of state when he served as a Federal Permanent Secretary.

Others say that Buhari felt peeved that Odigie-Oyegun betrayed him by aligning with Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau in the 2011 presidential election as running mate just as Buhari moved out to form the CPC.

Even in the CPC, the political demons that had followed him seemed not to have given up. The internal crisis in the CPC as demonstrated in the repeated changes of the party’s 2011 National Assembly candidates for Katsina State underlined the challenges set against Buhari.

Senator Hanga in this interview makes allusions that Buhari’s core supporters were more mindful of their own interests than actualising his presidential bid before 2015.

BUHARI BETWEEN 2003 AND 2015

2003

Olusegun Obasanjo   PDP    24,456,140      61.94%

Muhammadu Buhari  ANPP 12,710,022      32.19 %

2007

Musa Yar‘adua             PDP   24,638,063      69.82 %

Muhammadu Buhari  ANPP 6,605,299        18.72 %

2011

Goodluck Jonathan    PDP     22,495,187      58.89 %

Muhammadu Buhari  CPC    12,214,853      31.98 %

2015

Muhammadu Buhari  APC     15,424,921      53.96%

Goodluck Jonathan    PDP     12,853,162      44.96 %

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