2023: How President Buhari is Keeping Them Guessing. By: Waheed Ogunjobi - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Monday, May 16, 2022

2023: How President Buhari is Keeping Them Guessing. By: Waheed Ogunjobi

When President Muhammadu Buhari made the now popular statement," I am for nobody, but I am for everybody, not many Nigerians understood the impulse of the statement clearly at the first instance. Mr. President on different occasions and at different fora had demonstrated that he meant every word of the statement. And, as much as people continue to doubt his intelligence and capability for the office he has held sway for seven years running, he has continued to keep the people guessing about who he truly is. 

The impulse of that statement had manifested on several instances when even people regarded as not only a member of his chicken cabinet, but dining table cabinet so to say, faced political uncertainties in their respective states and circumstances and he chose to look the other side by maintaining his stand and refused to meddle in  local politics. The list of such incidents is endless.

The recent manifestation of that statement was with the gale of events characterizing the ongoing  build-up towards the 2023 general election. In the face of the ensuing drama, President Buhari was quoted as saying that he would not reveal his preferred Presidential candidate, so that Nigerians would not  eliminate him. I think he has learnt his lessons and has continued to keep his game to his chest. 

As a matter of fact, people have come up with several insinuations and innuendos. Oh!, Amosun is his preferred choice; Baba is going to raise the hand of his Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; Buhari does not want Tinubu to succeed him, yet Tinubu is a constant visitor at Aso Villa, and each time he visits Aso Rock to see  PMB, the outcome of the meetings were not made public. And, this surely heightened the guess- game, and the rumour mills at such instances have always been activated.

According to a Premium Times report,  in January, when the president was asked about his succession plan during an interview with Channels Television, his response was vague. He said: “2023 is not my problem, I don’t care who succeeds me, let the person come, whoever the person is.”

Recalled again that Mr.President had handpicked his preferred choice of a party Chairman leading to the emergence of Abdullahi Adamu. Also, sometimes in the past, the Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai was quoted as saying that Mr. President was reluctant to name a preferred presidential candidate until the APC Governors persuaded him to do so. But, many people are wondering whether PMB has the capacity and the intent of naming a preferred Presidential candidate.

There was also a new twist to the guess-game when former President Goodluck Jonathan was making frequent visits to Aso Rock. The rumour mills also have it that Jonathan is his preferred Presidential candidate. And, when the drama that ensued over how a Northern group purportedly purchased an expression of interest form for Jonathan, played the full script out, the insinuations became intense…

The President's spokesperson, Mr. Femi Adesina has repeatedly issued a press statement and made public statements that his boss has a preferred Presidential candidate and will reveal it at the right time.

At a valedictory session for members of the Federal Executive council who resigned from his cabinet, PMB again dropped this statement "With these and much more, I am happy to note that a significant number of cabinet members have become sufficiently equipped to aspire to higher elective offices, including the Office of the President. This shows the impact of the experience gathered while serving as members of the Federal Executive Council''.

As expected since he made that remark, tongues have continued to wag and many people are already insinuating who among the cabinet members he is referring to as his likely successor.

Perhaps, former Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorochas summed it up in his statement while appearing on national television. "If you know President Muhammadu Buhari, he is a general and you can’t predict him. He is so unpredictable that you can’t predict what he will do. He might pull anybody by surprise.

“That’s the military training that he has but anybody that goes there, I’m sure whatever he says is what he says to be".

As an integral part of the Nigerian state, I admire this unassailable attitude of PMB so much. He has only shown us the stuff he is made of as a Military man. Military men are known for spartan discipline, integrity, tactics, and much more. A man in uniform knows what to do and when to do it.

 is important for people in the military as it brings stability and structure to their day-to-day lives while generating responsibility and respect.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “With self-discipline everything is possible''. With that and several other mottos,  men and women in defense know that no mountain is unclimbable and no wall is unbreachable.

As the game gets more interesting and PMB continues to play Maradona, let us continue to enjoy the fiesta, while it lasts. Interesting times surely are still ahead.

Waheed Ogunjobi, a journalist, writer, public affairs analyst, and author writes from Abeokuta the Ogun State capital and can be reached on 08035004741 or waheedogunjobi@gmail.com

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