THE Presidency has said the 2011 one term statement of President Muhammadu Buhari that he would only be president for one term was not applicable anymore.
President Buhari had, on Monday, shortly before he left for London, the United Kingdom, declared his intention to run for a second term in 2019.
Mr Buhari had in 2011 in the lead story of a newspaper of February 6, 2011 captioned “2011: Why I’II Serve for Only One Term” gave reasons he would not spend more than four years in office if elected president of the country.
He cited age which will limit his performance, saying, “I’m not getting younger. If I succeed and do one term, I will be 73 years old.”
Twenty days after swearing-in, precisely 17 June 2015, Buhari told Nigerians resident in South Africa, after taking part in the 25th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Johannesburg, that his performance would be limited by old age.
“I wish I became Head of State when I was a governor, just a few years as a young man. Now at 72, there is a limit to what I can do,” he said.
But yesterday, Femi Adesina, the spokesman of President Buhari on a programme aired on Channels Television, said his principal entertained pleas for him to be president for the past one year before declaring his intention.
“The other one of running one term was in 2011. When he was running in 2011 he said yes he will be a president for only one term but did he win in that year? No. The victory came in 2015. So that being quoted from 2011 is not applicable again,” Adesina said.
The president’s spokesman said the declaration would not affect governance. “I think the president had just picked the right time to make his intention known, whether it will affect governance or not depends on the personality of who is the president.
“Don’t forget that under Obasanjo when the process was affecting governance, he read a riot act and said let’s concentrate on governance. President Buhari is just somebody like that, he will never allow politicking to affect governance.”
He said the president may be re-elected on his achievements in security, reviving the economy and fighting corruption.
“There are certain things that he set out to do. Normally they come up under three broad umbrellas. One is secure the country, two is fight corruption, three is revive the economy and I have said it in all three areas.
“There are successes in all three of these areas. Except anybody is willfully blind. The willfully blind will never see, even if you put the thing right in front of his eyes. We are not talking to the willfully blind or deaf,” Adesina said.
A human rights lawyer, Dr. Femi Aborisade, said the 2011 declaration made by Buhari in 2011 was personal to him and has nothing to do with his constitutional right to seek reelection.
“One would have expected Mr. President to tread the part of honour by respecting what he said in 2011 but since he decided not to tread on that path, the responsibility is now left to the Nigerian electorate whether they want to reelect a failure or not,” the Guardian Newspaper quoted Aborisade to have said.
The possibility of a smooth sail of another four-year administration is, however, under serious doubt due to his health condition. The president has embarked on at least three medical vacations abroad.
The first was on February 5, 2016 when he went on a six-day vacation to the United Kingdom. Four months after, on June 6, 2016, he embarked on another 10-day vacation to attend to what the presidency described as “persistent ear infection.”
The third time was when Buhari left for medical treatment abroad and stayed away for months, during which Vice President Yemi Osinbajo became the acting president.