Prince Kazeem Afegbua, spokesman for former head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida (IBB), sasys if Pres. Buhari was his father, he will tell him not to run in 2019. Read excerpts from the interview below:
Our roads are in bad shape. I have asked the question, what are we going to campaign with? If, for instance, President Buhari decides to run what are we going to be telling our people? The last time we told them for affordable electricity and kerosene, vote for Buhari. Now kerosene is not affordable for the common man, electricity is out of the reach of even the rich; so what are we going to be telling the people this time? Our people will ask the question that the last time we supported him, what did they give to us? The President has not visited Edo in the last three years to say ‘thank you’. So we have cause to agonize, cause to lament, that we have not been cared for in a proper way that justice demands. So when people see me talk, I am like helpless defending this government. I have been a strong defender of this government in my face book wall, my write ups.
Supposing between now and 2019m President Buhari changes his policies to address some of the issues you raised, will you support him?
If President Buhari is my father, I will graciously advise him. I will say, ‘Daddy, it is time to go home and manage the rest of your life. It is time to leave the stage where people will be abusing you’. I will not bring out my dad to be so vilified if I were to be his son. So it is not about changing policies, it is about the fact that this is the age of retirement, this is the age of having more time for yourself and family than committing to public service. When General Babangida clocked 70, I was one of those who prevailed on him to quit partisan politics. I told him, ‘Sir, now you are 70, I do not want any journalist to push you here and there’. We prepared a statement for him; at a public event in Abuja, he announced his retirement from partisan politics. That is the hallmark of a statesman. Now anybody that wants to run for election both in APC and PDP go to him in Minna for advice. So some of us who are saying that President Buhari should not seek re-election are more of his friends than those who are urging him on.
Now the President has told us that his doctors told him to eat more and sleep more. But this country needs a President who will be awake when the country is sleeping. Or who will be awake when the country is awake. India is awake at night, 24 hours because they want to catch up with lost time. We cannot afford the luxury of having a President who will sleep when we have insecurity everywhere, herdsmen here and there. We need a President that has the capacity to go round and preach peace to all the ethnic groups. Nigeria is more sharply divided now more than ever before and that is where some of us expressed huge worry and huge danger. We now look at ourselves as strangers occupying the same geographical mass. It should not be, we should be partners in progress and we should be able to own our country. We are all Nigerians, we need a President that can speak on these issues, understand the intricate logic of the Nigerian federation, the dynamism of the processes and, at the end, take a decision that will be far reaching and that will be seen to be just and fair to all the ethnic configurations of the country. It is not an accident of history that President Obasanjo said this government is nepotistic. There are clear signs; we have seen actions and inactions. We need a President that will speak the language of peace, we don’t want people to be cocooned in the Villa and we are just working with body language; that does not help us as a country.