The Presidential spokesperson has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration of the intention to seek re-election saying those who work closely with him never knew Mr President will give it a ‘second shot.’
Femi Adesina, who spoke as a guest on Channels Television Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday, when asked why the President had to wait for the APC NEC meeting to declare his intention to run after months of speculations, said they never had an inkling that the President will seek re-election.
“If anybody says that they knew it was going to happen is just a matter of surmising or conjecture. For those of us who work closely with the President, we didn’t have that feeling. We didn’t at all. Nobody could say for sure that Mr President was going to take a second shot,” he said.
Reacting to criticisms that have trailed the President’s declaration of interest in the 2019 elections, Adesina said everyone is entitled to their opinion as Nigeria is a country with the population of over 180 million and everyone has the right to express themselves.
President Buhari in May 2017 left Nigeria for the United Kingdom, London to seek medical treatment abroad. This was after he handed over power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who functioned as Acting President then. He spent 103 days in London and returned in August 2017. This has left many Nigerians wondering about the health status of the President.
When asked if Nigerians still have the need to bother about the President’s health, now that he is seeking re-election, Adesina said Mr President is a man of integrity and would have yielded to warnings if his doctor deems him unfit.
“What his doctor says is between him and his doctor. Unless you know it, it doesn’t have to bother you. The president is a very responsible man and if there was any warning from his doctor, he wouldn’t have ventured into this,” he said.
Mr Adesina also clarified that the President was misquoted when he said he will not run for a second term because of his age. He added that concerning the President’s statement in 2011 when he said will do just one term, it is no longer ‘applicable.’
“That’s a misquote. If there is anything on record like that, it is a misquote. I was with him in South Africa when he said he wished he had become president at a he was a military governor that he would have done a lot more for Nigeria.
“The other one about doing one term was when he was running in 2011. But did he win in that year? No, the victory came in 2015. So that being quoted in 2011 is not applicable again.”