- Chief of staff to Senate president Bukola Saraki, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed said in November 2017 that his boss would not contest against President Buhari in 2019
- He said his boss would not run against next year out of respect
- But nine month after, Saraki today, Thursday, August 30, declared to run for presidency under the platform of PDP
Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the chief of staff to Senate president Bukola Saraki, in November 2017, said his boss would not contest against President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.
Premium Times reports that nine months later, Saraki on Thursday, August 30, declared to run for the office under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
NAIJ.com gathered that at the time his aide made the statement last year, Saraki was a chieftain of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC).
Saraki recently defected from the ruling party to the PDP from where he had moved to the APC in 2014.
Baba-Ahmed in July himself quit the APC after accusing the the party of gross incompetence. Before his defection, he was with a group in the party that had a prolonged conflict with the governor of his home Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai.
It was gathered that at the time Baba-Ahmed opted out of the APC, Saraki dissociated himself from the development, saying it should not be taken as an indication of his own plan.
According to Premium Times, Baba-Ahmed had last year November on a weekly Hausa radio programme and as reported by Daily Trust newspaper, said if Buhari decides to seek reelection, Saraki would not contest.
He said the reason was because the senate president “sees and respect President Buhari as a father” and would rather work with the president than contest against him.
Baba-Ahmed had said: “There is no way Senator Bukola Saraki will contest for president in 2019 as long as President Buhari will contest. This I know very well because I work with him and I should know that.”
“But if President Buhari says he will not re-contest the position, that is a different case. The Senate president will not contest against President Buhari because he sees and respected him as a father.”
“The same thing happened in 2011 and 2015 if you remember. Saraki declined to contest against him; instead, he joined others to work for the success of the President in the 2015 elections,” he said.
However, should Saraki emerge the PDP candidate, he would not only contest against Buhari, he would be the major opposition candidate.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previously reported that Nigeria's Senate president Abubakar Bukola Saraki, officially declared his intention to seek the office of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria. Saraki made the declaration on Thursday, August 30.
The Senate president made this declaration at Sheraton hotel where he met with young aspirants of the PDP.
In a statement made available to NAIJ.com, Saraki that the choice Nigerians face in the forthcoming election is either to keep things as they are, or make a radical departure from the old ways.
Nigeria Election 2019: What are Bukola Saraki’s chances against President Buhari - on NAIJ.com TV