The presidency yesterday said President Muhammadu Buhari would continue keeping his intentions towards the 2019 election close to his chest because those opposed to his re-election could exploit his declaration to sabotage the country.
Speaking with select State House correspondents, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina stated that if Buhari declared his ambition about a year to the next election such saboteurs would have a lot of time to sabotage the country economically and politically, among others.
“You know the peculiarity of Nigeria, particularly now. If the president speaks too early, it’s a problem. There is a lot of sabotage in the country.
“You have also heard so many have said, ‘don’t run,’ because they know that if the president runs, other people would just run away because they don’t have the foggiest chance in hell of beating him. So, they want to discourage him from running.
“Now, if he tells you, ‘I’m going to run,’ and elections are still one year away, it gives them one year to sabotage the entire country from all fronts – politically, socially, economically – they would throw everything at him just to dissuade him from running.
“So, when you know that, why then speak early? I think it makes a lot of sense for you to keep things close to your chest till it is time for you to then say, ‘ok, I’m running’ by which time they can do less damage,” Adesina explained.
The presidential spokesman went on to explain why the President is visiting Rivers state after claims by the state governor, Nyesom Wike that he is not aware that Buhari will visit his state.
Adesina said, “If he (Wike) doesn’t understand, the rest of the country understands. We understand, other Nigerians understand. Even people in Rivers State understand because on New Year Day, a minimum of 24 people were killed in Omoku.
“So, is that not crisis? And can you count the number of people that have been beheaded in Rivers State in recent times? People will be killed and heads will be cut off and the assailants will go away with the heads, can anybody say that there is no security issue in that kind of place? It’s left to the governor. He’s the chief security officer. If he says there’s no security crisis in his state, good luck to him.”
On what will become of the trip if the governor does not welcome it, he added: “I’m sure he will be formally informed of a date. So, if he now says he doesn’t want the visit, it’s left to him and the federal government to decide the next step.
“But the president is visiting so that he can condole with people who lost their loved ones. 24 people, minimum, were killed in Omoku. So, these people are the reasons. Those people and the many beheaded, relations of those beheaded and their heads taken away, are the reason why the president is visiting the state.”