2019: Increased Pressures On Buhari Not To Run causes intrigues, Confusion

Reverberations of the circumstances that led to the sack of the former DSS boss, Lawan Daura, still continue to echo throughout the corridors of power. Since President Muhammadu Buhari returned, according to information reaching this magazine, he has been under intense pressure to recall the former Directorate of State Security,DSS strong man. Prominent among those who wants him recalled is Buhari’s cousin, Mamman Daura, who was said to be irked by the way he was removed.

It will be recalled that Daura lost his job in the wake of the siege on the National Assembly by the DSS. It was said that the Vice President was watching the siege on television aghast, until he received a call from the APC leader, Bola Tinubu, who asked what is happening at the National Assembly. Osinbajo said he was as shocked as anyone else. He then summoned the Inspector General of Police, IG, Muhamed Idris, and the DSS boss, to get a brief of what was going on. The DSS boss is said to have rebuffed him, telling him that he is only answerable to Buhari who hired him and not to any other person. Angered by such audacity, Osinbajo was said to have called Buhari to inform him that if nothing is done about the arrogance with which Daura treats him and his office, he will be forced to call a CNN interview and resign in the presence of international media. This has very unsavory implications. If that was allowed to happen, Buhari being outside the country, the next in command that would have taken over was Bukola Saraki, the embattled Senate President that they are trying to remove in the first place. So Buhari was torn between the devil and the deep sea. According to sources, he told Osinbajo to “do what he thinks is necessary”, and switched off. Attempts by Daura and others to reach him as not possible at that time.

This Magazine gathered that many of those who were saddened by the removal took nichodemous trips to London to try to convince him. They presented the scenario that Daura is the arrowhead of the 2019 election grand plan. Suddenly, news filtered in that thousands of PVCs were discovered in his house, with huge amounts of money in various foreign currencies. Though this has been denied by the new DSS boss, Mathew Seiyefa, who said that investigations are not yet concluded, it has become one of those information that got stuck in the National Psyhe.

The Argument of the Bring-back-Daura group is that if he should go, then the two other persons, the NSA, Babagana Mungono, and the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, should also go. They pointed out that the loyalty of the new boss may not be total since he allegedly “is not one of us”, a source said. He is from Bayelsa state, and his immediate deputy is said to be from Delta state. He is said to be retiring before the end of the year, and that there is a possibility that he may not be confirmed. Fortunately, Buhari was not disposed towards the sack of both gentlemen.

Meanwhile, the rumor that President Buhari may not contest the 2019 presidency has been gaining ground. Though there have been no independent confirmations of these rumors, happenings around the presidency seem to suggest such.  Femi Fani-kayode, a former Aviation Minister, had alleged that Buhari’s trip to London has been in the instance of the international community who told him in no uncertain terms that they are not comfortable with his second term bid, citing age and health as reasons. He was said to have pleaded with them to give him the chance, and that; in any case, he needed to consult his people before taking a decision. They also complained about his anti corruption war, which they claimed was lopsided. According to Fani-Kayode, he was told to first probe his close allies, including Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the National leader of APC, Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transport, and Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power.  He was said to promise to do that during his second coming after the 2019 elections.

It appears the international pressures are increasing, unwittingly confirming Fani-Kayode’s tale. Within a space of two weeks, there have been diplomatic hints about what may be in the offing. First, a closet conversation between the United states President, Donald Trump, and his staff was conveniently leaked to the Financial Times. In the wake of a visit by Uhuru Kenyata of Kenya to the White House, he was said to have complained that he does not want to meet a lifeless person Like Buhari in his life again. This was in contrast to the warm reception accorded Kenyatta.

The comment has put the presidency in a diplomatic dilemma. Sources indicate the presidency was mulling inviting the American Ambassador to Nigeria for an explanation- a bad diplomatic move since this is a mere newspaper report. It is not a government policy statement.

Still reeling from the impact of the trump bombshell, Theresa May, the British Prime minister, who is doing a tour of African countries in a diplomatic shuttle to maneuver the fallout of Brexit, dropped another bombshell in South Africa: Nigeria has the highest concentration of poor people in the world. This was said in South Africa, where she visited en route Nigeria. That she chose to make the statement in South Africa Before coming to Nigeria speaks volumes. Within the same period, the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel is also billed to visit the country. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, has already visited, and topped his visit by going to the shrine of the Afrobeat Maestro, Femi Anikulapo Kuti. Merkel has not yet dropped her own bombshell.

Besides international pressures, there have been local pressures as well. The Pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, for example, has also officially told Buhari not to run. Yinka Odumakin, the spokesperson of the group, was reported to have said that Nigerians do not need Trump to tell her the truth that everybody knows. “Nigerian presidency is one of the most demanding in the world, and one of the most powerful presidents in the world and therefore, he needs to be extra fit, both physically and mentally to be able to cope with the demands of the office. If the health of our President is in such a state for the President of America to make such comments about his health, it shows clearly that if there is love for the country, the president should at the end of this four years, retire to his home and go and take care of his health and wanting to inflict another four years on this nation,” he said.

Meanwhile it seems contingency measures are being put in place in case Buhari buckles under pressure. The vocal Senator from Kaduna state, Shehu Sanni, appears to have got the nod as alternative to el-Rufai who is seriously angling for the top job-a reason, analysts believe was responsible for his foot-dragging in the decamping to the PDP. But sources also indicate the Babagana Kingibe is lurking in the wings, in a twist that might see the revitalization of June 12, and INEC told to do the needful: Officially declare MKO as the winner of June 12 presidential election. In order to right the wrongs, Kingibe may then be allowed to take over as interim president.

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