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Northern leaders shop for Buhari's replacement

06 December 2016, 12:05

Abuja - Top northern politicians and powerful political blocs are reportedly shopping for replacement  for President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the next general elections, Today reports.

Spokesman for the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, pointed out that the forum only supported the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 election because it fielded General Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential candidate “who happens to be a northerner.”

Different interest groups in the North were said to be putting machineries in place to get an appropriate candidate to replace Buhari in 2019.

It was further learnt that different groups from the North have sent emissaries to possible candidates, such as Atiku Abubakar, Ibrahim Dankwanbo (Gombe governor), Rabiu Kwankwaso, Sule Lamido, Ibrahim Shekarau, among others on the need to replace the president in the 2019 election.

It was gathered that among the grouse of many in the region is the mass hunger and poverty that has attended the Buhari presidency. A source with one of the presidential hopeful told a correspondent last night that: “More than in 2015, we are receiving requests from different interest groups who are telling us that they want to work with us. I can tell you that most of the groups are from the North. Their complaints are the same – the economy.

They are telling us that there must be another change in 2019. The mood generally in the North is dampened. Buhari is not as popular as he was in 2015 now.”

An aide to another presidential hopeful simply said that the North has “donated Buhari to Nigerians who wanted change.”

“In 2019, we are going to take him out of that seat for sure.

We are consulting now and trying to fix the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). If we get that right, then, we are ready to sack Buhari. At least, it is clear to Nigerians now that the man has failed. He is unelectable.”

But it was learnt that the president’s men are already plotting his reelection in 2019. Sources said Buhari’s nephew and confidant, Malam Mamman Daura; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal, and former SGF, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe as well as some state governors are the drivers of the president’s second term agenda. Buhari’s anchormen, including ministers, have been holding series of meetings on the president’s re-election.

“At appropriate time, we will dispel this noise of non-performance. The president has been faithful to his promises. Though we are in a challenging time,president has done well in governance,” one of the ministers told a reporter last night. Abdullahi, who ruled out a blind support for Buhari in case he runs for a second term, said that if other northerners indicate interest in the presidency, “we will put all the cards on the table and evaluate all the candidates and see what they have in store for the north.”

He, however, said that the north has so far been short changed by the present administration because the ministerial appointments that it got are not commensurate with the votes that APC received in the last election from the region.

The former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, however, said that it is rather too early to say that the north is shopping for Buhari’s replacement, “but when the time comes, we will tell our people which way to go.”

This is happening a few days after the President was reported to be planning to replace Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as his running mate in the 2019 presidential election according to News24.

Buhari is said to be planning to replace Osinbajo with a politician from the South-east.

Buhari plans to woo a former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu, as a possible replacement for Osinbajo.

- News 24

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