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Analysis: Buhari’s Plan To Seek Re-election In 2019 | The Precision

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Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari on Monday confirmed  he would be seeking re-election in elections next year.

This has put an end to months of speculation about
his future after fighting with ill health in most of 2017.

Buhari said he
would seek his party’s presidential ticket to contest elections in
February 2019 during a closed door meeting of the national executive
committee of his All Progressives Congress (APC) party. He then flew to
Britain for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May a few hours later. 

Buhari took office in May 2015
after vowing to improve security and crackdown on endemic corruption, however Nigeria entered into its first recession in 25 years
in 2016, largely caused by low crude prices and militant attacks in the
Niger Delta, and its recovery remains fragile. 
After spending
five months in Britain last year being treated for an undisclosed
ailment, opposition groups in Nigeria and other
critics said he was unfit for office and his administration was beset by
inertia. 
If
Buhari is selected to contest the presidential election, it is not
clear whom he would face. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which
prior to the former general’s 2015 victory had held power since Nigeria
returned to civilian rule in 1999, has yet to select a candidate.

INCUMBENCY FACTOR 

 

“The
president said he was responding to the clamour by Nigerians to
recontest in 2019, adding that he wanted to give NEC the honour of
notifying them first,” Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu said in an emailed
statement. 
Antony Goldman, of Nigeria-focused PM Consulting,
said although Buhari’s party – a broad coalition of groups which largely
united to oust the PDP – was riven by divisions, it was nevertheless
likely that he would become the APC candidate. 

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“With the PDP weak
and still discredited, incumbency is still a powerful factor,” said
Goldman. “It would be a huge surprise if he was not the APC’s candidate
and the candidate to beat in 2019,” Goldman added. 
Atiku
Abubakar, a former vice president and erstwhile Buhari ally, quit the
APC in November and rejoined the PDP. He is the most high profile figure
to say he is prepared to run in 2019. 
The PDP, in a statement, described the president’s announcement as an internal affair within the ruling party. 
“Until
he becomes the candidate of the APC, we will not spend precious time on
his mere show of interest,” said spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan. 
Nigeria’s political parties must select their presidential election candidates by Oct. 7. 
Buhari
led a short-lived military regime that was overthrown in a coup in
1985. His election victory three years ago was in large part due to his
military credentials and his vow to end the militant Boko Haram
insurgency. 

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The insurgents have lost most of the
territory the size of Belgium that they held in northeast Nigeria in
late 2014 but continue suicide bomb attacks and kidnappings in the
northeast. 
Other security challenges – militant attacks in the
Niger Delta oil production heartland as well as communal violence
between nomadic herdsmen and settled farmers, plus a resurgence of
separatist sentiments, have flared up during his tenure. (Reuters)

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