Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari would not win in the South-West, South-East, South-South, North-Central.
According to him, Nigerians, through their votes, will send him back to the core North in 2019 because he has completely lost the goodwill with which he rode to power in 2015.
Agbakoba said Nigeria was now broken politically, strategically, morally, and completely bankrupt.
Speaking with Daily Independent in Lagos, Agbakoba, who is the leader of the Nigerian Intervention Movement (NIM), said based on his performance in the last three and half years, nothing qualified President Buhari to continue for another term in office.
According to him, even the president’s wife, Aisha Buhari, was not in support of her husband continuing in office for another term which explained why she criticised the recently concluded primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and also advised Nigerians to vote wisely in 2019.
On the three-pronged promise of the Buhari administration, namely tackling insecurity, revamping the economy, and the war against corruption, Agbakoba said the current administration had not fulfilled any of the promises, insisting that corruption was now rife in the administration.
He said: “I think it misses the point to say that President Buhari is as popular as he was in 2015, because he is not.
“When the PDP ran their presidential primaries, a lot of big Northerners were there; people like Kwankwaso, Lamido, Dankwambo, Tambuwal, Makarfi, and others.
“In any case, President Buhari will not expect to win the North-West and become Nigeria’s president because he has taken part in four elections, this will be his fifth.
“The only time he won was when (Bola) Tinubu made the foolish mistake of bringing him to the South. Now, what will happen is that we will send him back to the North. The North alone can’t make him president; he has to have national appeal.
“So, I can tell you for free that President Buhari is not going to win the North-Central. He is not going to win the South-West; he is not going to win the South-East, and he is not going to win the South-South. So, I don’t know where his votes will come from. If it is going to come from the North-West, that is fine.
“Completely, President Buhari has no goodwill left. All the euphoria that was felt, I didn’t feel it because I have always known his background.
“There was a huge euphoria of change that former President Goodluck Jonathan had not done well; that he presided over a highly corrupt government, and Buhari was the Mr. Clean, Mr. Integrity, and he will fix things. But that has not happened.
“On the contrary, Nigeria is broken politically, strategically, morally, and a completely bankrupt country. Poverty level has grown, 85 million Nigerians are extremely poor, we have now become the poverty capital of the world.
“So, the euphoria of 2015 is certainly not the euphoria of 2019, and that is why, personally, I am unable to support his campaign to remain in office.
“To support the campaign to remain in office for me is to look back at what he has done, the campaign promises on corruption, security, and the economy. These are the three big campaign issues, nothing has been fulfilled.
“In spite of all the monies borrowed, we are now pushing to over $30 billion borrowed money unaccountable, infrastructures all in pieces, corruption is rife”.
“You remember the case of his SGF, Babachir Lawal; you also remember the case of Abdulrasheed Maina, and so on. So, there is nothing that stands him out as qualified to continue.
“Even Buhari’s wife has criticised the primary election that the APC held, so that will tell you that even in the other room in his house, he doesn’t have support.
“Why would I be supporting a man whose own wife does not even support him? For me, he is history. I just hope that we can have a new president.”
Giving a detailed projection of what may play out in the 2019 presidential election, Agbakoba, who blamed Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State, for forming an alliance with Buhari in 2015, said Buhari contested four times between 2003 and 2011 but couldn’t achieve success because he didn’t enjoy the support of the South.
Agbakoba, who said former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s endorsement carried a lot of weight based on the strong followership he enjoys across the country, said anyone saying Obasanjo was irrelevant as far as the 2019 presidential election was concerned, would be making a huge mistake.
“There is no way he can discountenance the influence of Obasanjo, you will be doing so at your peril because he has a strong followership.
“Obasanjo has strong followership in the South-West, Afenifere is on his side because they all believe in restructuring.
“The South-East cultural, traditional systems are on the side of Atiku because he believes in restructuring. The South-East has felt marginalised and excluded and he (Atiku) now comes and said I will bring you in.”
On the chances of Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019, Agbakoba said the presidential election was a two-horse race between the APC and PDP and argued that the claim by Buhari’s loyalists that Atiku was corrupt did not matter.
He said what mattered was his ability to turn around the fortunes of the country like US President Donald Trump is doing despite the many negative stories about his personality.
“I am not interested in whether he is a thief. Jesus Christ cannot be the president of Nigeria. Donald Trump is not an angel but he is the most effective president in a long time.
“In the United States now, unemployment rates are down, the economy is booming, and everything is working.
“The fact that he has girlfriends and does all those bad things doesn’t mean that he is not effective.
“Yes, Atiku may not be an angel but I am not interested in that. I am tired of having a bad government. It is almost like the Jonathan-Buhari thing.
“When people said they were tired of Jonathan and brought in Buhari, so the same way now, people are tired of Buhari, and it is my hope that Atiku, if he does win, will learn lessons and move forward to do the right thing,” he said.