Though President Muhammadu Buhari has not officially declined to run for a second term in office, his long absence and health challenges may have prompted an early search for his successor in 2019 by the nation’s power brokers and kingmakers.
Nigeria’s political gladiators have virtually concluded that Buhari who is expected back in the country soon, all the other things being equal, may have lost interest in a second term. He has been away in London on medical vacation since May. As a result, the political terrain has been busy with consultations, meetings, alignments and realignments, more often away from public view and knowledge.
Central to all of these is the Hilltop home of former military president, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida in Minna, Niger state, which has hosted a number of such consultations and meetings. One of such is a meeting between former vice president, Atiku Abubakar and Gen. Babangida as well as an ex-National Security Adviser, General Aliyu Gusau in the second week of February at the Hilltop mansion.
Saturday Sun gathered that prior to that, Atiku had spent two nights with Babangida in search of realignments. But in the meeting with IBB and Gusau in February, the former VP who is gunning to succeed Buhari in 2019 specifically met the duo to seek their support and endorsement for the race.
While a source close to Atiku hinted that the two Generals who are top on the list of Nigeria’s kingmakers agreed to support the former number two citizen, Babangida’s spokesman, Prince Kassim Afegbua told Saturday Sun that, that was not a true reflection of the outcome of the meeting.
Sun, August 5, 2017
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