A former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday said he would contest the 2015 presidential election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
He said he decided to run because the Peoples Democratic Party-led federal administrations from 1999 till date were purposeless and that there appears not to be a government in place in Nigeria at present.
Mr. Buhari, who disclosed this in Abuja while addressing about 60 different groups urging him to run for the presidency said he would make his declaration formal on October 8.
The APC leader criticised the PDP-led administration since 1999, saying they lacked purpose. He said in the circumstance, it is important for him to step in to seek an opportunity to salvage the situation.
According to him, “Today, we are in the 15th year of purposeless leadership by the PDP and all we have seen is unprecedented deterioration in the security and law and order situation, astronomical rise in the incidence and intensity of corruption, and in the failure of governance.
“And as we reach this last lap of the journey, I would like to request that we concentrate all our effort and energy toward realising and achieving change in how this country is run.
“The only way to meaningful change in this country is to vote the PDP out of power to which it was never legitimately elected, anyway. The task before us today is wide ranging and very great. The first and most important is to take away power from those who have been misusing it.
“Indeed, except for the call of patriotism, public-spiritedness and an abiding love for the people off this country, nothing will today make honest, honourable and sane politician want to be saddled with Nigeria and an economy in trouble and a society in even deeper trouble – with its perilous security situation, with its extensive and almost unmanageable corruption and with its pervasive lawlessness. And a government – is there really a government? – that is not working.”
A former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, had last week declared his intention to contest the presidential election on the same APC platform, Nigeria’s main opposition party.
Mr. Buhari, a retired major general, who will be 72 in December, was Nigeria’s military head of state between 1983 and 1985.
He had contested presidential election on three previous occasions, but lost to the PDP candidates.
The former military leader, who joined politics in 2003, contested that year’s election on the ticket of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, but came second to the incumbent, Olusegun Obasanjo.
In 2007, he ran again on the platform of the same party, but lost to PDP’s Umaru Yar’Adua.
Mr. Buhari quit the ANPP to float the Congress for Progressives Change, CPC, became its standard bearer in the 2011 presidential poll, but was defeated by President Goodluck Jonathan.
PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively reported on Monday that the APC leader had commissioned a study on how he could beat Mr. Jonathan, who may be the PDP candidate, in the coming presidential contest.
“With your support, I intend to offer myself for the position of the president of the republic on the platform of our great party,” Mr. Buhari told his supporters under the aegis of Buhari Support Groups, BSG.
“I intend to make a formal announcement soon (October 8), and I hope I can count on your continuing support and sacrifice.”
The APC leader, however, urged the groups not to limit their support to him alone, saying, “I will like to point out to you that, to be more meaningful, your support must extend beyond my person and always be available to the party and all those the party puts forward; because it is the party that is the platform.”
According to him, the APC is a party with several qualified people for each and all the positions that would be contested, including that of the president.
He said it is the primaries that will determine who eventually represent the party in which capacity, adding “If I get the party nomination, I expect you will redouble your effort and commitment until we clinch the presidency. But in the event that it happens to be one of the other aspirants who wins, I will expect you as good party men to extend to him your total support. We are a united party, and united we shall remain, because our strength lies in our unity.”
Mr. Buhari said he was proud and thankful of his supporters adding that although “we may be the most under-funded project in the history of this country, but by the grace of God and your support, we are the greatest crowd puller in the nation today; and the credit for all this goes to you for being there on the scene of the struggle.”
He however warned all his supporters, volunteers and other well-wishers within the APC and outside the party not to insult or be rude to any other aspirant or party leader on his behalf.
He asked them not to engage in any kind of behaviour or conduct that would tarnish the image of any leader or promote division and rancour within the ranks of the party.
“Whoever does that should know he or she is working for the enemy. At the same time, I would like to appeal and urge you to be good ambassador of the opposition.
“As a body, the opposition is committed to the rule of law; and as members of the parties in the opposition, you must learn to do the same at all times. In particular, you must learnt o be vigilant especially just before, during and immediately after elections, whether these are rigged or not, so that sponsored hoodlums do not commit illegalities that are in the end blamed on you.
“Not only must you not take laws into your hands, no matter the level of provocation, you must be able to expose those planning to do so before they act.”