From: BillyGraham Abel, Yola
An All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart and the vice chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Sen. Abubakar Girei hasnsaid that President Muhammadu Buhari remains the most formidable and credible candidate to win the 2019 elections with a landslide explaining that his qualities of integrity, honesty and accountability which makes him the preferred choice for most Nigerians in 2015, are still the factors that distinguishes him from those indicating interest to run in 2019.
Sen. Girei made the remarks, on Sunday, in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
Girei said, at the onset of Buhari’s government he promised Nigerians three principal things, “To deal with the Security challenges the country was facing then, to wage a war on endemic corruption killing the country and to address the economic challenges in the country, those were his key focus.
“Everyone can testify that corruption has been faught in a way that it has never been done in a very long time in this country.
“Huge amount of money stolen by public officials have been recovered and institutional measures have been put in place to stem the tide of government corruption and to discourage it at all levels.
“Secondly, the fact that we are sitting here in Yola having this interview is a strong statement to the progress that has been made in the terms of security.
“But I am not surprised that he has not done well in the area of economy largely because it is not his area of expertise and the people he saddled with the responsibility to handle it have unfortunately failed him.
“It is necessary that he should reshuffle his cabinet to address that weakness in his leadership.
“But that been said, Buhari has done credibly well and if elections should be held today, Buhari will record a landslide win and all the other candidates combined would not score up to 20% of the votes Nationwide.”
“Adamawa in particular and north east in general, if elections were to hold, Buhari would score more than 80% of the votes.
“The same can be said of the south west, where recent sagacious political move of the president which has created goodwill in the area will also guarantee him a landslide Victory and the same can be said of the south east, only the south south would be said is still held by the PDP but even there, for lack of credible candidate with integrity, Buhari may still win by far.
“This is because, Buhari has created that reputation for himself as a man who would not steal and would not allow the people he appointed into office to abuse their office and loot public funds, that is something you cannot say about the rest of the aspirants.”
The ACF leader explained that, “The so-called discontentment by Nigerians is not meted against Buhari as a person but against the entire political class and the elite class in the country that have mismanaged Nigeria’s economy for the past sixteen years and since independence.
“Nigerians are tired of people with questionable characters running their affairs, that is why Buthari still remains the most credible candidate among all those vying for the presidency in 2019, it is not that Buhari is perfect but I have not yet seen anyone with his pedigree among those indicating interest for 2019.
“My argument is simple, find someone with Buhari’s qualities or someone better than President Buhari, then he would defeat him but those indicating interest to run in 2019 are not even close.”
Speaking on whether Atiku’s defection to PDP would pose a threat to Buhari’s 2019 ambition, Sen. Girei said, “Atiku may likely not run in 2019 because so far he has not been making the necessary consultations he used to make or reaching out to the relevant political power blocs and stakeholders he used to.
Responding to the question on whether the APC and Buhari have met Nigerians expectations in their over two years in office, Girei said, “Agreed, Buhari may not have measured up to the expectations of most Nigerians including myself, first of all, it took him too much time to set up his cabinet which was a negative for him and after appointing them into office, they were not measuring up to the expectations of Nigerians and after two and a half years, most of them are still wobbling and he has not taken a decisive step to replace them.
“But he is a human being and these are just a little short coming but he remains the most honourable person to salvage this country from the destructive effects of corruption.
The APC stalwart said, “Buhari need to do some basic cleaning of some rough edges so as to reposition his government to serve the Nigerian people.
“First of all, he needs to reset the machinery of the party to function properly and to deliver on his goals and objectives and secondly he needs to reinvigorate his government by overhauling his cabinet and bringing in people who can deliver on his objectives.
“But, we are saying this against the background that this is the Buhari that came in and fell ill for about three months but thank God he is back and better and we look forward to some proactive measures from him.”
Speaking on the calls for restructuring in the country he said, “The concept of restructuring is a line of discussion championed by those who have lost out in the current political exchange and are trying to cause confusion.
“Restructuring is the job of the national Assembly and it is inappropriate for someone to be saying he wants the president to restructure the nation.
The senator lamented the backwardness of the Nigerian political environment which he says contributes to the decay in the polity as political candidates are still not assessed based on their competence, merit and agenda but on cheap sentiments.
He said, “We have to shift out focus to politicians who are focused on the development of the human capital.
“That is where leaders especially in the entire north are getting it wrong. If they would make education the number one agenda, the north would be a better place.”