President Muhammadu Buhari has given the clearest hint so far that he will seek re-election in 2019.
He gave the hint in far away Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire where he is attending the 5th European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit.
He was accompanied on the trip by a leader of the governing APC, Bola Tinubu, and governors Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom and Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi states among others.
The president arrived late to an interactive session with the Nigerian community in Cote d’Ivoire Tuesday night and said he had to wait for the two governors to accompany him to the meeting because of their electoral value.
“First I want to apologise for keeping you for too long sitting, this is because I insisted on the governors attending this meeting.
“This is why I came along with them so that when we are going to meet you, when you are going to meet the rest of Nigerians, if you tell them that their governors were in the company of the president, I think that will be another vote for me in the future. I’m very pleased that they were able to turn up,” Mr. Buhari said to thunderous laughter and clapping by the audience.
I AM FOR EVERYBODY
Mr. Buhari had during his inauguration on May 29, 2015 stated that he will be for everybody as well as for nobody.
He reiterated that position on Tuesday, saying that was responsible for his support of Akinwumi Adesina to emerge as the President of African Development Bank, AfDB, despite serving as a minister in a PDP-led administration.
Mr. Buhari was reacting to Mr. Adesina’s remark earlier expressing gratitude for the support he received in his bid to emerge as the AfDB president.
Mr. Buhari had shortly after assumption of office dispatched former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to lobby President Jacob Zuma of South Africa to support the candidature of Mr. Adesina, a move that was key in getting the former Minister of Agriculture the job.
Mr. Adesina is the first Nigerian to head the continental bank since it was set up in 1964.
“The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), who forgot to mention that he was serving in the PDP government as minister but all the same I picked him and recommended him for AfDB.
“I think it emphasised what I said during my swearing in that I am for everybody and I am for nobody. As long as you are a Nigerian, be prepared to be on the receiving end from me,” the president said.
Mr. Buhari also told the audience that he just received “a beautiful piece of information” from Mr. Tinubu which he was never aware of. He thanked the APC leader for the information.
He however, did not disclose what the information was.”
“I also thank our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has brought me a very beautiful piece of information, which I was not aware of it until I sat down and read it this evening (Tuesday night). Thank you very much for your hard work and I will discuss that paper with you.”
Mr. Adesina in his remarks noted that the Nigerian economy picked up soon after Mr. Buhari’s health challenges appeared over, adding that “so it seems there is a correlation between the President’s health and the improved economy.”
On security, Mr. Adesina said the bank has released $250 million for the construction and rehabilitation of the North-east, destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents.