24 Apr

Buhari Healthy And Will ‘Easily’ Win Nigeria Vote, Minister Says

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is healthy and his policies will “easily” win him re-election in the vote planned for February, Information Minister Lai Mohammed said.

“He is very strong and well,” Mohammed said in an interview on Sunday. “I have never lost sleep over the re-election. Buhari will easily win.”

Buhari, 75, announced this month that he’s seeking re-election, putting an end to speculation on his plans after he spent a total of five months in the U.K last year for treatment of an undisclosed ailment.

That, as well as continuing attacks by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, herdsmen-farmer clashes, the economic slump in 2016, and an anti-corruption crusade critics have called partisan prompted some politicians such as former President Olusegun Obasanjo to urge him not to run again.

Buhari must also rebuild the coalition of the ruling All Progressives Congress that brought him to power in 2015, after some defections to a similarly fractured opposition People’s Democratic Party. He defeated the PDP by tapping into public anger over its record for corruption and mismanagement while governing Nigeria since the end of military rule in 1999.

While the PDP hasn’t announced its candidate for the elections, a likely contender is Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president who defected from Buhari’s party last year. The 71-year-old lost to Buhari in the APC primaries but supported him as the candidate in 2015.

Buhari’s government points to some progress against Boko Haram militants, such as breaking their grip on territory. Still, attacks continue almost daily.

The government is using diplomatic means to convince Boko Haram to cease hostilities that may involve an amnesty for fighters of the group whose nine-year-old insurgency has claimed the lives of millions of people and threatened the northeast with famine.

“We are using third parties, including foreign parties, through back channels,” Mohammed said. “But the challenge is that there are many factions.”

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06 Mar

Buhari Grapples With Widening Crises as Nigerian Vote Looms

Islamist militant attacks, gasoline shortages, worsening violence over grazing land, simmering unrest in the southeast — the crises keep mounting for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari less than a year before general elections.

The most recent setback came on March 1 when suspected Boko Haram Islamist militants killed three United Nations aid workers and eight soldiers in an attack in the northeastern town of Rann, about two weeks after they kidnapped more than 100 schoolgirls aged 11-19 in the same region. The actions have undermined the government’s claim to have “technically defeated” the group.

“There will be consequences politically; it’s a huge blow to soldier morale,” said Cheta Nwanze, an analyst at Lagos-based SBM Intelligence risk advisory. “It just adds to Buhari’s woes.”

While Buhari, 75, hasn’t said whether he will run for re-election, his ruling All Progressives Congress has backed him to do so, and he remains popular in his political base in the mainly Muslim north.

Yet he spent more than five months in London last year being treated for an undisclosed illness, and the coalition that brought him to power shows signs of fraying.

On Monday, Buhari started a visit to five states that have been gripped by violence in recent months, including Yobe, where the girls were kidnapped, his office said in an emailed statement.

The government’s much-vaunted anti-graft war also suffered a blow when Berlin-based Transparency International’s latest global corruption-perception index released last month showed Nigeria had dropped 12 places under Buhari to 148 out of 172 countries.

In his plus column, the main opposition People’s Democratic Party hasn’t recovered from its loss in 2015 and is in disarray.

While gasoline shortages are causing havoc for motorists, the economy of Africa’s top oil producer is also looking brighter, with the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics saying it may expand 2.1 percent this year after growth of 0.8 percent last year and a contraction of 1.6 percent in 2016.

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08 Feb

In Nigerian ‘Cash-and-Carry’ Politics, Ambition Is Only Constant

At recent rallies of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress for next year’s general elections, the list of speakers is often dominated by former members of the opposition People’s Democratic Party who switched sides.

Former ministers, two-term governors and other senior officials who served with the PDP during its 16-year rule take turns to denounce the “corruption and waste” of their erstwhile party while touting the virtues of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling APC.

It’s an illustration of the state of Nigerian politics, where parties are merely a means to power and wealth, with actors propelled neither by ideology nor principle.

Known locally as “cash-and-carry politics,” success is often measured by gaining access to the treasury and dispensing patronage. Fueled by the country’s oil wealth over the past 50 years, the presidency is the supreme prize.

“It’s a capture of state power for personal use rather than service to the people,” said Clement Nwankwo, executive director of Abuja-based Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, who has monitored all Nigerian elections since the end of military rule in 1999.

“When a chosen party is not delivering on those objectives, the average politician will look for what else could be the platform to achieve that.”

Election Victory

Buhari, a former general who overthrew an elected government in 1983, stood as a presidential candidate for three different political parties in elections from 2003 to 2011. It was fourth-time lucky three years ago when his was the first opposition victory since Nigeria gained independence from the U.K. in 1960.

A likely contender in next year’s vote is former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, 71. He defected to the PDP from the APC in December, the second time he returned to the party in a decade after pursuing his presidential ambition elsewhere. Abubakar even has an insurance policy.

If he doesn’t win the PDP nomination this time, his loyalists have already lined up a new party for him — the People’s Democratic Movement.

To read the full article, click here. 

24 Jan

Ex-Nigerian President Asks Buhari Not to Seek Re-Election

Former Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election next year, saying he has failed in his management of Africa’s most populous country.

“I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time,” Obasanjo said on Tuesday in an emailed statement.

“President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward.”

Obasanjo, who served two terms as an elected president from 1999 to 2007, backed Buhari in his 2015 election and defeat of then President Goodluck Jonathan by the All Progressives Congress to effect the first democratic transfer of power in the country of more than 180 million people.

“The situation that made Nigerians to vote massively to get my brother Jonathan off the horse is playing itself out again,” Obasanjo said.

Africa’s top oil producer is scheduled to hold presidential elections in February next year as well as vote for lawmakers and state governors.

While Buhari hasn’t said if he’ll run, his potential candidature remains a subject of much interest after he spent a total of more than five months in London last year receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment.

‘Changed Irrevocably’

“The character of the 2019 election has changed irrevocably, it’s going to be extremely difficult for Buhari now,” Jideofor Adibe, a professor of political science at Nasarawa State University, Keffi, near the capital, Abuja, said by phone.

“This will embolden a number of people to challenge Buhari and it could also set him thinking whether seeking re-election is really worth it.”

After three failed attempts to win the presidency from 2003 to 2011, Buhari mustered a coalition of opposition parties that merged to become the ruling APC party.

That coalition is now in tatters, with many members accusing the president of adopting a non-inclusive style and appointing cronies instead of competent people to key positions.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who was Obasanjo’s number two and backed Buhari in 2015, left the APC last month and rejoined the People’s Democratic Party, accusing Buhari of ignoring senior party members and relying on a core of personal aides to govern. Abubakar is widely seen as a potential presidential candidate in the coming vote.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-23/ex-nigerian-leader-obasanjo-asks-buhari-not-to-seek-re-election