The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has asked supporters of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) not to entertain fears that former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other ex-military leaders may block President Muhammadu Buhari’s chance of coming back.
Mr Shittu, who made the remarks on Tuesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said since the former Nigerian leaders “are not God, there should be no apprehension.”
Mr Buhari had on Monday declared his intention to seek re-election at the closed-door meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party in Abuja.
Mr Buhari said he was responding to the clamour by Nigerians to re-contest in 2019, adding that he wanted to give NEC the honour of notifying them first.
However, Obasanjo and former military president, Ibrahim Babangida (IBB), had advised the president not to run in the 2019 poll, asking Nigerians to vote him out should he decide otherwise.
While reacting to Buhari’s declaration, the minister, who in January floated a campaign organisation “Muhammadu Buhari/Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group” for the re-election of Mr Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the president’s decision to run again was a welcome development.
“Who is OBJ? OBJ is not God. IBB is not God. Obasanjo was president here, he wanted a third term and he didn’t get it.
“What Mr President did yesterday (Monday), we had done that much back on his behalf; that is the Mohammadu Buhari/Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group.
“So what he did yesterday was just a follow-up to what we had done about three months ago.
“And I want to assure you is that by the grace of God, Mohammadu Buhari will become president the second time,” he said.
He said the president had distinguished himself as his achievement in three years had surpassed what the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Nigeria in 16 years.
“For instance in the area of job creation for youths, no government has ever in one day employed 200, 000 graduates. It has never happened but under Buhari N-Power it happened.
“Through this, he has provided jobs for 200, 000 families spread across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
“Government is still processing the employment of 300, 000 more graduates to make it 500, 000, this has never happened.
“In the areas of transport, works and housing, the last budget of the PDP government was less than N20 billion and most of these monies were stolen; diverted to private pockets.
“In 2017 alone, the Buhari government spent N255 billion on those subject matters; transport, works and housing. So how do you compare?
“Today, government is also building new roads across the South East states with 100 million dollars SUKUK loan; non interest loan from Islamic Development Bank.
“For the first time, government is building new railway from Lagos to Kano, from Kano to Maiduguri, from Maiduguri to Calabar and from Calabar to Lagos. So the records are there,” he said.