Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said yesterday that his principal’s 2011 statement that he would be president for one term was not applicable anymore.
Speaking on ‘Sunrise Daily’, a Channels Television programme, Adesina said Buhari entertained pleas to re-contest as president for the past one year before declaring his intention.
He said: “The other one of running one term was in 2011. When he was running in 2011, he said, yes, he would be a president for only one term but did he win in that year? No. The victory came in 2015. So what is being quoted from 2011 is not applicable again.
“There were a lot of convincing and appeals. I sat in different meetings with different groups involving the President and the reason all of them came was that they wanted him to run for a second term in office.
“Do you know that whenever the President reacted to these groups, he will speak on every other thing but on the issue of a second term; he will not say a word and that has been in the past one year. These calls have started coming and he didn’t say a word. That reinforced my opinion that for him, it is not a do-or-die affair, it is just a matter of serving the country.”
Noting that the President’s declaration for a second term would not affect governance, Adesina said: “I think the President had just picked the right time to make his intentions known, whether it will affect governance or not depends on the personality of who is the president.
“Don’t forget that under Obasanjo, when the process was affecting governance, he read a riot act and said let’s concentrate on governance. President Buhari is just somebody like that, he will never allow politicking to affect governance.”
He said the President may be re-elected based on his achievements in security, reviving the economy and fighting corruption.
“There are certain things that he set out to do. Normally, it comes up under three broad umbrellas. One is securing the country, two is fighting corruption, three is reviving the economy and I have said it in all three areas, there are successes. The willfully blind will never see, even if you put the thing right in front of his eyes. We are not talking to the willfully blind or deaf,” Adesina said.
Mr Adesina’s comments immediately drew reactions from some politicians, who said it was immaterial to the 2019 election.
Reacting to the comments of the Presidency, the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, urged the presidency to read the mood of Nigerians.
“They should read or check the reactions and inclinations of Nigerians to President Buhari ’s declaration to go for second term. I won’t say more than this,” he said.