Statement, a clarion call for PDP — Ojougboh
Babatope, Mohammed, Opara kick
By Clifford Ndujihe, Ben Agande, Dapo Akinrefon & Gbenga Oke
ABUJA—Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, has said President Muhammadu Buhari would win the next elections, if he contested it, despite the contention of some Nigerians that the present government has not lived up to expectation.
Buhari, who has two more years in his tenure, has been silent on seeking another term, though some of his allies have been hinting at the President contesting in 2019.
However, the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, saw Adesina’s statement as a wake up call to put its house in order, even as former Transport Minister, Chief Ebenezer Babatope; Second Republic lawmaker, Junaid Mohammed, and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara, condemned the Presidency for the statement.
Adesina, who spoke as guest on Channels Television Sunday Politics programme, said President Buhari had done very well so far.
He said: “The foundation being laid by the government is solid. And nobody, even after the President has finished his eight years, can ever take us back to the pre-2015 days.”
Asked if the President would win election, if he contested today, Adesina said: “That would depend on Nigerians, but if you ask me as an individual, I will say, yes, the President can win and win again and again.”
On the demand of Abdulmumin Jibrin, former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, that the President should step down based on his health condition, Adesina said over 15 million Nigerians voted for Buhari and one man could not ask him to quit.
The presidential spokesman, however, made it clear that Jibrin was entitled to his opinion.
“That rep (Jibrin) has given an opinion. He has a right to his opinion. We don’t begrudge him that, no one should begrudge him. But his opinion is just his opinion, it’s not the gospel,” he said.
Adesina defended the current pace of the President, saying it was not expected of Buhari to “charge in like a bull” into his normal schedule.
Statement, clarion call for PDP —Ojougboh
However, Deputy National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, said, yesterday, that the assertion by Femi Adesina was a clarion call on the PDP to put its house in order and prepare for the next election.
Reacting to the claim in an interview with Vanguard, Ojuogboh said the ultimate decision on who becomes the president of Nigeria rested with the electorate.
According to him, what Mr Adeshina said is a “wish any employee would wish for his principal; there is nothing untoward or unorthodox about it.
“But ultimately, the decision on who becomes the president of Nigeria rests with the Nigerian people. If the electorate believe that President Muhammadu Buhari has discharged his mandate creditably and deserves to be given another chance, so be it.
“Now is the time for leaders of the PDP to put aside their differences and reposition the party so that we can be in contention for 2019. It is now time to let go of ego and place the party where it rightly belongs.”
Babatope, Mohammed, Opara kick
In his remarks, former Minister for Transportation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope took a swipe at the Presidency for raising such issues.
Babatope said: “I do not want to comment on issues that are not important. How can Buhari be talking of the 2019 elections with what is happening in the country? I know the PDP is fully prepared for the 2019 general elcetions and I am sure we will win.”
In his reaction, second republic lawmaker, Dr Junaid Mohammed, said making such statement when Nigerians are suffering is stupid.
In his reaction, former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara said some of the presidential aides are planning to draft Buhari into contesting again when he hardly done anything with the present term in office.