Nigeria’s Presidency, on Tuesday, dismissed insinuations about President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision-making process, saying the president is in charge, and has been responsible for all decisions taken by his administration in the last seven years without interference from any third party or cabal. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, stated this in a release.
Shehu made reference to the recent presidential primary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), stressing that Buhari refused to act as a dictator; instead, he ensured a level playing field for all participants.
He emphasised that contrary to swirling misgivings in some quarters, the president had never relied on the opinions of third party elements, but had always taken his decisions without the backup of the so-called cabals or back-up boys.
The presidential aide said those still assailing the APC and the president, expounding conspiracy theories, and making all manner of speculations needed to understand those important points about the country’s leader.
Shehu said the strong leader myth had lasted for far too long in the country, with people assuming that a leader must dominate everything, and even determine electoral outcomes.
The statement said, “Luckily, for Nigeria, President Buhari does not suffer from such constraints. He refuses to act as the elected autocrat. The president had a clear purpose leading up to the primary: to ensure a transparent, free and fair process that will bring back people’s faith in democracy by taking good governance up to the grassroots level.
“By this alone, people’s faith and that of the international community in our democracy has received a major boost since the completion of the APC nomination. The flag-bearer has been chosen. He has the president’s unwavering support. The journey to victory continues.”
The presidential spokesman, however, clarified that the speculations in the media about the president’s favourite candidate ahead of the APC primary were expected, especially, in a situation where the opportunity to choose a presidential candidate came once in eight years.
According to him, the successful conduct of the convention and the eventual emergence of the party’s standard-bearer must have been a disappointment for those who assembled to witness a catastrophe.
Shehu stated, “No intrigue, no division, no disagreement, no defeated candidates rejecting the result, no splits, no third-party runs. Only determination to rally around the chosen flag-bearer to deliver victory and an APC third term in February 2023. The opposition reaction to this successful nomination convention has come by way of a counter offensive, so that we do not go on the offensive.”
He alleged that there was clear evidence of a conspiracy to destabilise the governing party and defame the president, as the media were inundated with made up stories and speculating about the role of the president in the contest: whether he had a favoured candidate, and whether manoeuvres were made to install him; whether the chosen flag-bearer was the president’s choice, or another.
The presidential aide further stated, “Speculation is easy. But facts are simple. The president always said he had a favoured candidate. He said that candidate was whoever was chosen by the APC in a democratic primary to lead the party at the election.”