PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s state of health will determine whether or not he runs for next year’s presidential election, the Presidency has affirmed.
It has also poured cold water on the report that Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had been reappointed as the Director General of the Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign, saying that such appointment cannot be made until the president emerges as his party’s presidential candidate.
Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, who made these assertions in an interview, however, said the president is doing well health-wise and has the final say on the issue of re-contesting the position.
Asked what role the president’s health challenges would play in his decision to re-contest the post, the presidential spokesman said: “Yes. Health is wealth. Health is wealth. The president is not a frivolous person. If he thinks that his health cannot carry anything, he will not do it.
“So, of course, his health will matter a lot. It will be very important but we need to give the glory to God for the way he is now.
“Every day you see the president, you see a glow about him, you see a freshness about him. I think he’s even in a better state than when he came in 2015. It’s all to the glory of God.
“So, once he assesses that his health can carry it, there’s nothing wrong if he steps into the fray. But he had the final decision.”
He said the president is however intent on bequeathing to Nigeria a culture of free and fair elections.
Adesina cited the outcomes of some of the elections conducted under the present administration so far, saying that many had been won by parties other than the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
According to him, if the APC wanted to apply the federal might to win all the electron, it could have done so.
He said: “About election, the president has always said, he said it publicly before but those of us who are his aides when we talk, we reiterate it that if it is the only thing he does, he wants to give free and fair elections to the country, elections that are acceptable.
“And you would have noticed that since this government came, there have been elections APC didn’t have to win.
“It was not like that in the past when a certain party was in power. They won all the elections that were held in states.
“But you saw Anambra. Just this weekend, you saw a senatorial election there. Some months ago, in November, you saw the governorship election. If APC had wanted to overrun Anambra using federal might, it would do and it would win the election.
“Election had held in Bayelsa under this administration, APC didn’t do it. Ondo, APC won fair and square. Kogi, it won fair and square. Where APC wins, it wins. Where it loses, it loses. That’s the attitude of the president. Your party doesn’t have to win by hook or crook.
“So, he says if it is the last thing he does, he will leave free and fair elections for Nigeria. So, he will bequeath free and fair election to Nigeria and that is happening.
“Then, talking of his own personal ambition or lack of it, we have to wait until he blows the whistle. You can’t start a race until the whistle is blown. So, when he blows the whistle and says ‘yes, this is my ambition,’ then, the race start.
“So, for now, we just say that we keep waiting for him to tell us what direction to go.”
For those who advocate the Mandela Option of one term only for the president, the presidential aide posited that such people are entitled to their own opinion in a democracy just as the president is entitled to run.
“Of course, this is a democracy. People will always have a right to their opinion. You know one thing about democracy is that there is a multiplicity of opinion. So, those who believe in the Mandela option, it is their right. And it is also the right of the president to run or not to run. So, you don’t abridge the right of anybody under a democracy,” he declared.
The Presidency pointed out that Buhari has done enough to earn himself a second tenure to consolidate on what he has achieved.
Adesina stated: “I believe that if the president wants to run, he can run. I will support him. I will always support him any day.
“Then, has he done enough? More than enough. In fact, a second term will give him chance to consolidate on what he has done.
“The things he has done are apparent: security, despite the challenges of the moment, you can’t rule out what he has done in security. Economy: economy went into recession, stayed there just for one year, it has come out and the indices are good.
“Even the World Bank has projected 2.5% growth for Nigeria this year. So, in the economy, the government is doing well. The economy is like a plane with its nose up. As long as you have a plane with its nose up when it’s taking off, it’s good news.
“Anti-corruption, no friend, no foe. That goes on.
“So, those three things he appointed for himself, one, to secure the country, two, to fight corruption, three, to revive the economy, they are going well.”
On the reported appointment of Amaechi as DG Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign, he said that such appointment can only happen only if the president decides to join the fray and emerges as the party candidate which he has yet to do.
“Well, me I believe that things like DG will come when you have become a candidate. If the president steps into the fray now, he’s an aspirant just like any other aspirant. Having a DG comes when you become a candidate of the party,” the presidential spokesman said.