Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Major General of the Nigerian Army and a former military ruler of Nigeria between 1983 and 1985, declares that he will seek the ticket of his party to contest the February 2015 presidential election. It will be the fourth time since he made his first attempt in 2003.
Legit.ng brings you a review of Buhari's previous presidential attempts and assesses his chances in the upcoming presidential race.
The history of Buhari's presidential attempts.
In 2003, Buhari contested the presidential election as the candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP). He was defeated by President Olusegun Obasanjo. There was some allegations of fraud which were proven in the courts. The conducting of the election was also criticized by the Commonwealth Observer Group. The consensus among Nigerians was that Buhari should not waste his time in court as he did not have the necessary resources to "buy" justice.
Eventually, the same court also decided that the level of proven electoral fraud was not sufficient to affect the outcome of the election and to warrant the cancellation of the whole Presidential election.
On December 18, 2006, Buhari was nominated as the consensus candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party. And this time his main challenger in the April polls was the popular PDP candidate, Umaru Yar'Adua.
As the result, Buhari officially took 18% of votes against 70% for Yar'Adua. However, Buhari rejected these results. Yar'Adua took the office despite such a rejection. The ANPP agreed to join his government, but Buhari denounced this agreement.
Finally, in March 2010, Buhari left the ANPP and joined the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the party that he had helped to found. According to Buhari, he supported foundation of the CPC as a solution to the debilitating ethical and ideological conflicts in the former party.
Buhari was a Presidential candidate on the Congress for Progressive Change platform in the April 16, 2011, general election. He was running against the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Ibrahim Shekarau of the ANPP.
On December 9, 2010, while formally declaring his intention to run for president in the 2011 election, the former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, said he would not contest the result of the election in court if he lost.
"Even though we disagreed with the rulings, we accepted them as a decision of the highest court of the land so that people do not lose faith in the overall democratic system. This time we are not going to court. Once bitten ..but in our own case twice bitten."
His political programme included such aspects as struggling against corruption and removing immunity protection from government officials. He also gave support to enforcement of Sharia law in Nigeria's northern states, which had previously caused him political difficulties among Christian voters in the country's south.
Gen. Buhari promised that the 2011 presidential contest would be his last one.
"This campaign is the third and last one for me. I will not offer myself again for election into the office of president," he said.
However, he remains a "folk hero" to some for his vocal opposition to corruption. Buhari won 12,214,853 votes, coming second to the incumbent president, who polled 22,495,187 votes and was declared the winner.
2015 Presidential Race
Despite his 2011 statement, Buhari changed his mind and joined the 2015 presidential race. He explained that he decided to contest again because he was concerned about the nation’s deteriorating economy and security situation, which he would want to fix if elected.
READ ALSO: 2015: Open Letter To Muhammadu Buhari
Mr. Buhari said:“Just before the 2011 elections, which I contested, I said publicly, in a fit of pique, that this was my last outing as a presidential candidate. Days after that statement torrents of delegations, starting with one from Niger State led by Alhaji Umar Shu’aibu, then chairman of CPC, including a serving senator, three members of each House of Representatives and Niger Sate Assembly expressing strong opposition to my intentions.”
According to PremiumTimes, the APC leader also came under pressure from his supporters to join the race. Buhari Vanguard, a group of his supporters, organised a rally in Lagos and urged him to run. The leader of the group, Jasper Azuatalam, described Buhari as the only aspirant who could make a promise and keep it. According to him, the former head of state does not have oil and is therefore not corrupt.
The main aspirants of the main opposition force, the All Progressives Congress, with whom Buhari would contest are Atiku Abubakar (a former vice president), Rabi’u Kwankwaso (Kano State Governor) and Sam Nda-Isaiah (Publisher of Leadership Newspaper), among others.
1. Buhari’s financial status might be another obstacle in realizing his ambition. He does not have the financial muscle to lobby delegates, who, when they attend the convention, must be settled, accommodated and given pocket money.
“We may be the most underfunded 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…,” Buhari said.
2. Some members of the party think that Buhari is too old to carry the banner of the opposition party. The retired general is the oldest among APC presidential contenders.
3. Besides, Buhari had run for the office consecutively on three previous occasions. This to some of the party faithfuls, is a minus for him. On the other hand, none of the aspirants can match the former head of state’s popularity across the country. He is believed to have a cult-like followership in the North. The followers are ready to vote Mr. Buhari without being influenced with money.
1. Many of APC members say it is payback time for a man who played crucial role in the merger of three opposition parties and a section of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
2. Another factor that might be Buhari’s advantage is his alleged discreet backing by another leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, who is not only being suspected to be positioning himself as his (Buhari) running mate, but also aiding him financially to block Atiku Abubakar.
Whatever be the election results, what is certain is that Gen. Buhari might be too old to run again in 2019.