On Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari announced that he will be seeking a second term in office.
He made the public declaration while meeting with the national executive committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja.
The president said he is seeking re-election because of the “clamour by Nigerians”.
Prior to the public declaration, some Nigerians publicly canvassed against the president’s re-election bid.
Here are five of the figures who left no stone unturned in driving home their message against Buhari’s presidency come 2019.
The former president could have been instrumental to the election of Buhari in 2015 through his unbridled endorsement, but that has not stopped him from wielding his lethal letter writing skills against the president.
On January 23, Obasanjo wrote a strongly-worded letter to Buhari, asking him to forget about the 2019 election. In the ‘letter bomb’, the Owu chief said the president had performed below expectation.
He wrote, “The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed – if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today.”
Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, is a foremost critic of Buhari and he would never hold back his emotions when it comes to criticising the president. Some see him as the strongest voice of the opposition.
While reacting to Obasanjo’s letter to Buhari, Fayose described the letter writer and its recipient as “expired” leaders and that both leaders have “outlived their usefulness” to Nigeria. At another time, he said those who voted for the president in the 2015 general election ought to beg God for forgiveness.
Fani-Kayode, former aviation minister, has written a myriad of letters and articles to lampoon the Buhari presidency. Recently, he claimed that the $1bn approved by the president for the procurement of security equipment to fight Boko Haram insurgency will be used to fund his 2019 re-election campaign. He appealed to Nigerians to vote against Buhari.
The former military president asked Nigerians to co-operate with President Buhari until his tenure ends — but vote for a new generation of leaders in 2019. On February 4, in a statement titled “Towards a national rebirth”, he said the 2019 elections offer “a unique opportunity for Nigerians.”
Babangida, who overthrew Buhari in 1985 and ruled till 1993, said: “In the fullness of our present realities, we need to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his term of office on May 29th, 2019 and collectively prepare the way for new generation leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country. While offering this advice, I speak as a stakeholder, former president, concerned Nigerian and a patriot who desires to see new paradigms in our shared commitment to get this country running.
Abdullahi, spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum, has described as corrupt act the recent endorsement of the president for a second term by the APC governors.
On March 24, he led a coalition of northern groups to pass a vote of no confidence on President Buhari and other northern politicians, saying they have failed the region.
In January, the archbishop emeritus of the Catholic archdiocese of Lagos, advised Buhari to respect himself and retire quietly.
The fiery cleric who has rated the current administration low said it is an insult to Nigerians for the president to be talking about 2019 election. He advised Buhari to be thinking of finding solutions to the problems confronting Nigerians.
“What has he done in the years he had been in the saddle? He has performed woefully; that’s the verdict of Nigerians,” Okogiehad said.
“Let the president respect himself and retire quietly. Coming out to talk of 2019 is insulting not only to those who voted him to power but to all Nigerians. There are so many problems confronting the people and he should be thinking of what to do about them. For second term, he must be a joker.”