(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) -Nigerians were shell shocked Monday when the presidency disclaimed the news making the rounds that former governor of Rivers State and Nigeria’s Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has been re-appointed as Director General of President Muhmmadu Buhari’s 2019 re-election campaign.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen on Sunday, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adeshina, explained that the appointment of Director General of the 2019 campaign of the All Progressives Congress could only be made after a candidate had emerged.
“I believe that things like the DG will come when you have become a candidate. If the President steps into the fray now, he is an aspirant just like any other aspirant. Having a DG comes when you become a candidate of the party,” he said.
While the minister of transportation is eminently qualified for the appointment, having played the same role successfully in 2015, we are however bothered by what seems like a desperate move which amounts to putting the cart before the horse.
To the best of our knowledge, untill the time of this writing, President Buhari is yet to tell Nigerians that he is re-contesting. While governors elected on the platform of All Progressives Congress are said to have given him the nod to run, other stakeholders within and outside the party who are openly opposed to his re-election over health, age and performance considerations are speaking out. It is only after the president has weighed all these opinions on the balance of his conscience and the socio-political realities in Nigeria, and come out with a position, no one can say for sure his next line of action.
Those who sponsored the news of appointment of a Director General of Buhari’s re-election campaign when the party is yet to decide on who will fly its presidential flag in 2019 might have acted presumptuously, but it appears that, they did not take into consideration that the context of the 2019 election will be different from that of 2015 in many respects, especially as the Peoples Democratic Party is presenting a candidate from the same zone of the country as the president.
Although President Buhari has performed according to his ability in the last close to three years, opinions of citizens vary on his performance. While many are angry that he has failed to live up to expectation vis-a-vis his electoral promises, there are also Nigerians who see his re—election as a welcome development.
In all, the message that one can take away from the rebuttal from the presidency is that, President Buhari is undecided on re-election, and until he decides, all desperate political schemes remain speculative and therefore unreliable.
However, it is expected that President Buhari will take all factors into consideration before arriving at a decision on whether or not he is seeking a re-election. There is no doubt that the decision of who leads Nigeria in 2019 is not only of interest to Nigerians at home and abroad, it is also of great interest to the international community, especially against the background of the ceaseless killings with impunity of unarmed citizens in their homes and farms byFulani herdsmen.
The greatest threat to the unity of Nigeria is that the assailants are never arrested: from Plateau State, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Benue, Enugu, spreading to other parts of the country, fueling
speculations of a conspiracy in the security circles to continuously shield the angels of death from being brought to face justice.
Besides, Nigeria has been more divided than ever on tribal and religious lines because of skewed appointments into strategic public offices in favour of Muslims and relations of the president, thereby denying Nigerians from other religious persuasions and parts of the country a sense of belonging.
With the blood of hundreds of innocent Nigerians unlawfully killed at different times by rampaging herdsmen crying for vengeance, and anger in the land, we can only urge key stakeholders in the Nigerian project to look beyond parochial interests and be guided by what will best serve the interest of the vast majority. That way we can have a country that we can all be proud of, and a future that is assured.