- A prominent Ijaw political leader, Chief Edwin Clark, advised President Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019
- He said the president should consider rest because of his age and health status
- Clark also said that former president Obasanjo’s recently launched coalition movement will fail
A prominent Ijaw leader and the convener of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Chief Edwin Clark, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to listen to his supporters’ advice and pressure to seek re-election in 2019.
In an interview with Punch, the Ijaw leader said even though the president has good intentions to govern Nigeria, he should consider his age and health status and leave the position in 2019.
He said: "I was shocked that the man had barely arrived in Nigeria when those promoting him decided to launch his second-term campaign. Nigerians don’t even know if Buhari is completely healthy for the great task of governance yet.
"We don’t even know his ailment. I think that it is too early in the day for anybody to think of President Buhari being returned for a second term. I think he (Buhari) has to take care of his health first.
"Nigerians are also talking about his age whether 74 or 75. If he is 75, it means that by 2019 he would be 76 or 77. The man at the moment does not look healthy. He’s a fine man but I do not think that at the age of 80 or 77 he is still strong enough to become the President of Nigeria.
"Those of them who are saying they want Buhari are not sincere with him. We are not talking about being competent or not. I have always supported his anti-corruption crusade, his sincerity, and honesty of propose.
"But these are not enough to rule a big country like Nigeria. Nigeria requires a mobile president – a president who can be moving from place to place. For the period he (Buhari) was away, Niger Delta was boiling, but the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo was able to go to the area to meet with the people of the region including the various leadership and youths.
"If President Buhari were a younger person or somebody who is very healthy, he would have visited Benue State over the killings by herdsmen to have an on-the-spot-assessment. In this case, you can’t blame or fault him because you don’t know the state of his health. There are a lot of things that Obasanjo mentioned in his special statement.
"I will advise that President Buhari should not listen to those people clamouring for a second term for him. He should examine his state of health and his ability to do the work. These are things he has to consider. Nigeria first before him. I know he has the interest of Nigeria at heart but he must be capable of doing it physically and psychologically and mentally."
NAIJ.com gathered that Clark also spoke about former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s coalition movement and his controversial statement to President Buhari.
He said that even though the points raised by Obasanjo in the statement were genuine, he (Obasanjo) was not qualified to send the message.
"He is not qualified to deliver this kind of message. For instance, he bought many shares in Transcorp Hilton, and Governor Nasir el-Rufai in his book said he and Ribadu advised Obasanjo not to buy the shares but that he refused and became a major shareholder there.
"Why did he sell the legislative quarters in Apo, Abuja to the lawmakers when he knew that another set will replace them? Now, federal legislators are renting houses.
"A Presidential Library is a project that should be executed through the goodwill of the President. He should not have forced people to donate money to build a Presidential Library as he did. So, Nigerians are very wise now. When he issued that statement, many people thanked him for his courage because we knew he would still fall out with Buhari."
Clark further stated that the former president’ coalition movement is bound to fail.
“We knew that his support for Buhari was temporary. He (Obasanjo) understands the problem of Nigeria but he never identified himself with the solutions to the problems. So, as far as I am concerned, his idea of a group (of political men and women) coming together as a third force, is nothing but nonsensical.
"He assembled people like former Governor (Olagunsoye) Oyinlola of Osun State, who does not have an outstanding record within the PDP. He became the secretary of PDP and later went away. What good record does he have?
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"Ahmadu Ali’s wife has gone to the APC. Ahmadu Ali and Obasanjo were responsible for the destruction of the PDP when they started to deregister people especially when you don’t agree with them. They forced people out of the PDP. These are the people who destroyed the PDP.
"What type of group do they want to form? Ahmadu Ali was the campaign manager of former President Goodluck Jonathan, but did he campaign anywhere? He did not. Since Donald Duke left office as governor of Cross River State, what position has he occupied? What has he been doing? He has been jumping from one party to another. What are they trying to achieve? These are disgruntled elements from the PDP. Their (coalition) group is dead on arrival. It will fail,” he said.
NAIJ.com previously reported that Alhaji Danladi Pasali, national coordinator, Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO), said that the organisation will compel President Buhari to re-contest in 2019.
Pasali said this in Bauchi on Saturday, February 17, while inaugurating BCO northeast zonal secretariat and officials that would run the affairs of the secretariat.
He said that the organisation would use all media platforms and billboards to highlight details of Buhari’s achievements in order to mobilise support for the re-election of the president in all the 36 states of the country.
2019 reelection bid: Should President Buhari heed Obasanjo's advice? on Street Gist