Divergent reactions, knocks and kudos, have trailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement of his 2019 re-election bid in 2019.
While many Nigerians are glad that the president will seek re-election in 2019 and express readiness to support him, others are of the opinion that the president should not have sought re-election, saying that he will be defeated just like his predecessor.
Is it possible for President Buhari to be voted out of power, just like ex-President Goodluck Jonathan? Nothing is impossible. However, so many factors point to the contrary.
In this piece, Legit.ng highlights seven major reasons why President Buhari may be successfully re-elected in 2019.
1. Anti- Boko Haram operations
The promise to conquer the Boko Haram insurgency was one of the cardinal reasons why President Buhari was elected in 2015. Three years into his presidency, many will argue that the president is winning the anti-insurgency war.
Though the insurgency has not been completely defeated, the insurgents have been displaced and most of the territories they took over have been regained by the Nigerian army.
Also, the president has secured the release of some of the Chibok girls abducted by the Boko Haram and he promised that the remaining girls, and others in Boko Haram’s captivity, will regain their freedom soon.
Despite the controversies that surrounded the abduction and release of the Dapchi schoolgirls, many still commended the president’s prompt response and release of the girls.
2. Anti-corruption war
President Buhari’s commitment to fighting corruption is applauded by many Nigerians, home and abroad.
In the fight against corruption, many are of the opinion that no previous administration has performed better than President Buhari.
Also, the anti-corruption crusade is yielding result as Nigeria recently rose 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, and earned a place on the list of top 10 reformers in the world.
3. External reserves
Another cardinal promise made by President Buhari during the buildup to the 2015 presidential election is economic revamp.
While the Buhari-led administration is still facing series of economic challenges, owing largely to the reduction in global oil price, the administration has continued to build the foreign reserves up to an unprecedented level.
Recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that the foreign reserves have grown steadily, rising by more than 19% in three months period.
While the previous administration allegedly left foreign reserves of $29. 6 in 2015, some argued it was not up to that, the Buhari-led administration has almost doubled the amount in less than three years. The foreign reserves now reportedly stand at $46.554 billion.
President Buhari, upon resuming office in 2015, announced an initiative tagged Social Investment Scheme (SIP) which aims at providing easy-to-access jobs for the unemployed, feeding for school children and N5,000 monthly handouts to some of the nation’s poorest people. N-power, specifically meant for unemployed graduates, is a component of the scheme.
The N-Power is aimed at engaging unemployed Nigerians with a monthly stipend of N30,000. It started out in December 2016.
Currently, 200,000 volunteers have been recruited nationwide while another set of 300,000 graduate volunteers have been pre-selected for the next round of the programme.
The Buhari-led government also revealed that more than 7.4 million primary school pupils in 22 states have been fed, while almost 300,000 poor Nigerians are also receiving N5000 monthly cash transfer.
According to the government, almost 300,000 Nigerians benefited from micro-credit loans of between N10, 000 to N100,000.
5. Agricultural revolution
The economy is now being truly diversified as Agriculture is now reportedly the second biggest thing after oil. The Buhari-led administration's agricultural revolution is based on two programmes - the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) and the Anchor Borrowers Programme (financed by the CBN).
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the number of Nigerians facing food insecurity in the northeast dropped by half under the present administration.
Also, Femi Adesina, the president’s special adviser on media and publicity, said: “Nigeria saw bumper food harvests, especially in rice, whose local production continues to rise significantly (States like Ebonyi, Kebbi, Kano leading the pack, with Ogun joining at the end of 2017). The price of a 50kg bag of rice – a staple in the country – has fallen by about 30% since the beginning of 2017, as local production has gone up.”
6. Impressive increase in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)
Under President Buhari, the Nigeria Customs Service recorded its highest-ever revenue collection, crossing the One Trillion Naira (N1,000,000,000) mark.
Also, the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), under the new management appointed by President Buhari in 2016, remitted N7.8 billion to the coffers of the federal government.
The total amount remitted by JAMB between 2010 and 2016 was reportedly N 51 million.
7. Mr Integrity (large followership)
Many Nigerians strongly believe that there is no Nigerian politician that has an ‘iota’ of integrity. However, an impressive percentage of the Nigerian populace exempts President Buhari from the list of the politicians with no integrity.
His records, they say, as the country’s military head of state and petroleum minister speak for him. The integrity has earned him quite an impressive followership base which is the number one requirement needed to win an election in the present democratic system.
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In spite of the challenges the current administration is battling with, President Buhari still has a large followership base that is ready to fight it out with other presidential candidates in the 2019 elections and keep him in power till 2023.
Nevertheless, just as President Buhari has so many factors that could make his re-election bid successful in 2019, there are equally some negative dynamics that could work against his re-election bid.
Another article by Legit.ng highlights seven factors that may work against Buhari in the 2019 presidential election. One of the factors listed that could negatively affect the president is the economic recession.
Right under President Buhari, Nigeria slipped into recession in August 2016. According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the second quarter of 2016 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined by -2.06%.
Many economists attributed the recession to poor economic planning and inadequate concrete implementation of economic planning, high inflation rate; high interest rate, high taxation, and policy conflict.
Most significantly, it was attributed to the over dependent of Nigeria government on oil for over 60% of its total revenues and the country for over 90% of her foreign exchange earnings.
Nigerians were thrown into hardship during this period of recession as prices of commodities in the market skyrocketed.
Even though the NBS announced in September 2017 that Nigerian economy was out of recession, the people of Nigeria are yet to feel the difference between the period the country slipped into recession and when it emerged from recession.
In an earlier report by Legit.ng, President Buhari said he decided to announce his re-election bid due to the clamour by Nigerians asking to re-contest in 2019.
The president made the declaration at a closed-door meeting of the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja.
Should President Buhari seek re-election in 2019? (Nigerian Street Interview) - on Legit.ng TV