Temidayo Akinsuyi, Lagos
Pressure is currently on President Muhammadu Buhari to bow out of the 2019 presidential race, Daily Independent has reliably gathered.
The president is currently on a 10-day vacation in the United Kingdom (UK) and findings indicate that the holiday may be extended for another 11 days.
Credible sources said the pressure on the president not to seek re-election has been on for a while and comes mostly from the international community led by the European Union, the United States, the UK, and Saudi Arabia.
Aside from the issue of his health, which has greatly hampered his performance in the last three years, Daily Independent gathered that those against a second term for Buhari also harped on the current divisions in the country which, according to them, may worsen if he seeks re-election.
According to our source, “From the feelers we are getting, President Buhari may opt out of the 2019 presidential election. There is serious pressure on him from the international community, especially the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom (UK), and even Saudi Arabia.
It would be recalled that shortly before his departure to the UK, the president had appealed to his supporters across the nation to suspend campaigns for his re-election in compliance with the electoral law, saying it had come to the realisation of the presidency that his supporters had started campaigns through advocacies and placement of advertisements in the media.
A member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NWC), who also confirmed the development, said there was a possibility that the president might not seek re-election.
According to him, that was why loyalists of the president were considering Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, who served as Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) from 2007 to 2008 under the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, as a possible alternative.
“Yes, I am aware of the development though it is not something that is being discussed at the party level for now.
“For now, it is not a serious issue because one, the president has not made up his mind whether to continue with his re-election plans or do a single term or bow out.
Two, the party, for now, is trying to put its house in order, given the gale of defections among parties and issues surrounding the Senate Presidency.
“Once these are settled, we will now shift our focus on issues surrounding the 2019 presidential election.
“But one thing I know is that ever since the president announced his desire to seek re-election at the party’s NEC meeting in April, there has been serious pressure on him, especially from the international community, to rescind his decision and that is why some power brokers in the presidency are already considering Babagana Kingibe as an alternative if the president decides not to run.”
Also speaking, a close ally of the president said he was considering Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Aviation, as his choice but added that his loyalists are afraid that Sirika is too immature for the job.