A poll conducted by SUNDAY PUNCH has revealed that many Nigerians will not vote for President Muhammadu Buhari if he decides to seek re-election in 2019.
The poll with the title, “Will you vote for Buhari in 2019?” was conducted on The PUNCH website, www.punchng.com.
It gauged the opinions of Nigerians using three options for participants.
Those who want to vote again for the President in 2019 answered by clicking ‘YES’ while those with a contrary opinion clicked the ‘NO’ button. The last option was for those who were indifferent to Buhari’s choice.
The poll went live on Thursday, 5.48pm.
As of 11pm on Saturday, out of the 9,524 participants who took part in the poll, 58 per cent (5,519 respondents) said they would not vote for Buhari in 2019.
Up to 3,588 people, amounting to 38 per cent, said ‘YES’ to the poll while four per cent (417 votes) were indifferent to Buhari’s 2019 re-election bid.
The poll, which has been read over 10,000 times, confirmed that many Nigerians are not happy with the performance of the President.
Although Buhari has not officially declared his intention ahead of 2019, there are strong indications that he will seek a second term.
Confirming the speculation that Buhari might seek a second term in office, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, had last week said although the President had not made up his mind on the 2019 presidential election, he must seek re-election because he had “done well so far.”
Shittu stated this in an interview with State House correspondents shortly after a meeting he had with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking specifically on whether the President will contest, Shittu said, “It goes without saying. I mean if you have a child who goes to primary school and he does well, he proceeds to secondary school and he does well, and you keep asking if he will be going to university. It goes without saying.
“By the grace of God, we, his (Buhari’s) ardent supporters, who appreciate his worth on behalf of millions of Nigerians, would urge him to recontest. I know he has not made up his mind but I can say that some of us can assist him in making up his mind.”
Several chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, including Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, have also expressed their support for the President’s re-election.
On Wednesday, Buhari was reported to have reappointed the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, as the Director General of his 2019 election campaign.
Buhari himself, twice last year, hinted that he would seek re-election in 2019. He gave the hint in Cote d’Ivoire during a summit on counter-terrorism and also during his recent visit to Kano State.
On Saturday, many organisations, including the Arewa Youth Forum, comprising the northern youths; the Campaign for Democracy; and the Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria, kicked against President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid.
The groups, in separate interviews with Saturday PUNCH, hinged their rejection of Buhari’s second-term bid on the incessant killings in the country, particularly by Fulani herdsmen.
They said the clamour for a second term, amidst attacks by herdsmen and fuel scarcity in the country, was a demonstration of the insensitivity of the President and his aides to the plight of Nigerians.
It will be recalled that last week, a Catholic priest and Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministries, Enugu, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, warned President Buhari that Nigerians will ‘change’ him in 2019 if he does not change his style of leadership.
The priest advised Buhari against seeking a second term, and warned that the President risks being ‘blown away shamefully’ by the wind of change, which he set off when he defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
Mbaka, who had been one of Buhari’s most vocal supporters, spoke during a special New Year’s Eve service at the Adoration Ground, in Emene, Enugu.
He had said, “Mr. President, wake up, sit up. God said you are toying with the privilege given to you. There is no time. Nigerians are dying in your hands. People are not happy with your system.
“Change or you will be changed – God said that Buhari is in trouble. Buhari is hypnotised. Buhari is in a horrible bondage. Buhari’s mantra has been cannibalised.”
The results of the PUNCH poll, which ran on The PUNCH website for three days, indicated that many Nigerians no longer prefer Buhari.
Those who opposed the President’s alleged re-election bid in the poll justified their decision with the state of the economy, poor power supply, in security, especially the herdsmen attacks which has led to loss of lives, alleged lopsidedness in the anti-corruption war and appointments, as well as many other indices of national development.
PUNCH readers took turns in sharing their opinions. A reader, identified as Ebony Dollars, stated that Buhari had lost public sympathy and, therefore, should not run for the 2019 election.
The respondent, who said he would not vote for the President in 2019, expressed disapproval with the way the Buhari-led Federal Government had handled the herdsmen attacks in different parts of the country.
He said, “He should not contest (election) in 2019. If Buhari does not declare the Miyetti Allah group as a terrorist group and arrest their leaders for prosecution, he should forget 2019. If the President does not have the guts to query the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; and the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, and reshuffle his cabinet, he should forget 2019.
“It is restructuring that we need. The 2019 election cannot solve the problem. Regional autonomy is what we need and that is what the public is clamouring for right now. Can you imagine his (Buhari’s) attitude towards the killing of innocent people by the herdsmen? He is too sick to be proactive and address issues of national concerns.”
Another PUNCH reader, Oghale Ralph, asked why the President was considering a re-election despite the state of the country.
“After everything, Buhari still has the mind to say he wants to contest again. People are wicked,” he wrote in the comment section of the poll.
Also responding to the poll, Tony Ezeifedi reviewed the state of the country’s economy and scored Buhari low, adding that he would not vote for him if he decides to contest in 2019.
Citing millions of job losses in Nigeria between 2016 and 2017 as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics, Ezeifidi described the Buhari government as the worst in the country’s history.
“This is the worst performance by any ruler in Nigeria since 1914,” he said.
Another PUNCH reader, identified simply as Izonkeme, said the failure of the APC-led Federal Government to tackle the menace of herdsmen killings was unacceptable.
Izonkeme described Buhari as a “disaster,” adding that he would lose if he decides to contest the poll.
He wrote, “Buhari has destroyed Nigeria and he took us 50 years backwards within two years. Do you know how many lives the Fulani have taken since Buhari got into office yet he has not made any condemnation of their grotesque farming activities? As far as the majority of Nigerians are concerned, PMB is a disaster to Nigeria.”
Also responding to the poll, a PUNCH reader identified as Langa Langa wrote, “Vote Buhari again in 2019? I can’t do that even if I’ve gone insane. God forbid!”
Commenting with the pseudonym, Bluethroat101, another respondent listed five reasons why he won’t vote for Buhari.
He said he was not satisfied with the way Buhari had handled national security, the anti-corruption war, economy and infrastructure.
He drew an analogy between the way the President treated the herdsmen crisis and the way he reacted to the Biafran agitation by the Indigenous People of Biafra, adding that the president was biased.
He wrote, “I was among those who praised Buhari for flushing out IPOB because I thought he would also use similar measures to end the Fulani herdsmen killings. Buhari is also biased with this anti-corruption campaign. If not for the Nigerian Senate, we won’t have seen people like the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, face partial justice.
“I call it partial justice because Lawal is still walking freely. The infrastructure situation in the country is still very poor. There is no stable power supply and people rarely have access to water. The economy is in bad shape because of his bad policies and measures. Look at how he implemented the Treasury Single Account Policy. Look at the number of jobs that were lost in banks. May God deliver us from this mess.”
Another respondent, identified as Ify simply wrote, “No, I won’t vote for Buhari. He lacks a clue to do anything well. He is so archaic to be a leader in this computer age. He is disconnected from his subjects and specialises in divide-and-rule (tactics). He is the President of the North, not the President of Nigeria.”
While many openly condemned the President and his policies, others praised Buhari, saying they would be proud to vote for him in 2019.
Many ardent supporters of the President took turns to share their reasons for preferring him above others for a second term in 2019.
One of them, identified as El Patron, attributed Nigeria’s woes to the Peoples Democratic Party’s tenure, arguing that though Buhari had disappointed some people, he remains the best candidate in 2019.
Patron wrote, “I hate PDP so much. They are the cause of 99 per cent of our problems since we commenced democracy. This (poll) is a tough question; I will either stay away in 2019 or hold my breath and vote Buhari. Although he has disappointed many, he has some good sides.”
A similar view was expressed by another Buhari supporter, Leke, who wrote, “I will vote him anytime, any day.”
Another commentator, Ibrahim Dauda, claimed that Buhari’s outing in the PUNCH poll was low but would be different in 2019 when the real election would be conducted.
Dauda said, “Buhari will win with more votes in 36 states of Nigeria. Where are the credible candidates without a political party? The so-called credible ones are not in politics; the credible ones in our political parties are waiting for their turn.
“We shouldn’t judge Buhari until after his second term in office. APC and Buhari will rule for 16 solid years before we can complain. Where are the party and the people to contest against him? Is it the PDP or which party? PDP is dead and can’t win any national election in this country again, even in the South-South and South-East.”
According to Alhassan Adamu, another PUNCH reader who reacted to the poll, there is no candidate in Nigeria that is as credible as Buhari.
Responding to the poll, he said, “Yes, I will vote PMB again. There is no credible candidate other than him. The North will finish eight years and return power to the South-West.”
Another supporter of Buhari, Femi, wrote, “Victory is sure, where are the opponents? Can somebody mention just one? Sai Baba.”
Olawale Jacob Rasheed said he would vote for Buhari because “I know when a new party comes into power, the first tenure is not always easy because this is Africa. I will give him a second chance.”
Yaqub Muktar wrote, “Yes! I am 100 per cent in support of Buhari, I voted for him in 2015 and by God’s grace, I will be ready to do the same thing in 2019.”