Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina has described as a `misquote’ the report that President Muhammadu Buhari had pledged only one term presidency and will never seek re-election in view of his age status.
President Buhari, 75, had on Monday, April 9, 2018, shortly before he left for London, declared his intention to run for presidential election in 2019.
Adesina, who is the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity and currently on the entourage of the president to London, was reacting to a contributor on Channel television programme via Skype, on Tuesday.
Yemi Akinbode, who contributed to the programme, said he was not surprised by the president’s declaration in spite of his pledge in 2014 not to seek re-election.
“No, that’s misquote, he was never, never quoted that way.”
“If there is anything on record like that is a misquote because I was with him in South Africa when that issue came when he said, oh, he wished he had become president at the time he was a military governor that he would have done a lot for Nigeria.”
“And the other happened in 2011. When he was running in 2011 he said, yes he would be a president for one term. But did he win in that year, no.”
“The victory came in 2015. So, that being quoted in 2011 is not applicable again because he did not win that year.’’
Akinbode said: “It didn’t come as a surprise to me. We have seen indications that the president was going to run a long time ago.”
“The president in 2014 said that he was only going to run for one term because of his age.’’
But the presidential aide maintained that it was not on record that Buhari had told the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) or any member of the party that he would do only one term in office.
On the purported vote of no confidence allegedly passed on the President by Northern Elders Forum and the Council for Shariah, Adesina said the two groups had the constitutional right to support anybody vying for political office in the country.
He cited an example of a former president of the country who equally failed to secure the votes in his state and region but ended up winning the presidential election twice.
On whether the president had obtained the support of his doctors before making his declaration on Monday, Adesina said Buhari was a responsible man who would never go against the advice of his medical personnel.
He said: “The President is a very responsible man. If there had been any warning, any red light from his doctor, you know, he wouldn’t have ventured into it, unless you are telling me there is something you know that I don’t know.”
“But I know the President, as a very, very responsible man. If there was any warning he wouldn’t do it.’’
Adesina, who said that the president took him and other presidential aides unaware when he announced his intention to run for re-election in 2019.
He said the president’s declaration was in reaction to appeals by millions of Nigerians.
“Yes, there had been a lot of appeals. I have served in different meetings with different interest groups and all of them want him to run for second term in office.”
“And do you know that whenever the president reacted to these groups he would speak on all other points they raised except the issue of second term.”
“It has been like this in the past one year even before he went for medical vacation, these calls had started coming but Mr President would not say a word and that reinforced my opinion that for him it was not a matter of do-or-die.”
“It is just a matter of serving the country and If he feels that he has done it with the best of his ability that is just it,’’ he said.