President Muhammadu Buhari has hinted that he may run again.
Buhari dropped the hint jokingly while interacting with the Nigerian community in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, even though he did not say if he would run in 2019 when the next presidential election is due.
The President is in Abidjan for the 5th European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit.
Apologising for keeping those that came for the interactive session waiting, Buhari said he insisted on Governors Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom State) and Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi State) being present, so that Nigerians in Côte d’Ivoire from the two states would be happy that he was accompanied by their governors and that might earn him votes in future.
He said: “First, I want to apologise for keeping you for too long, sitting; this is because I insisted on the governors attending this meeting. This is why I came along with them so that when we are going to meet you, when you are going to meet the rest of Nigerians, if you tell them that their governors were in the company of the President, I think that will be another vote for me in future. I’m very pleased that they were able to turn up.”
The hall immediately erupted in laughter and clapping.
The President also said that his support for African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina, despite serving as minister in a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration was to further confirm his remarks at his inauguration on May 29th, 2015, that he belongs to everybody and nobody in particular.
The President was reacting to Adesina’s gratitude to his administration for supporting him to get the job. He is the first Nigerian to head the continental bank since it was set up in 1964.
He said: “The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) forgot to mention that he was serving in the PDP government as minister but all the same I picked him and recommended him for AfDB. I think it emphasised what I said during my swearing in that I’m for everybody, I’m for nobody. As long as you are a Nigerian be prepared to be on the receiving end from me.”
President Buhari thanked All Progressive Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for bringing him a beautiful piece of information which he was not aware of until now. He did not disclose the information, but promised to discuss it with Tinubu.
He said: “I also thank our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has brought me a very beautiful piece of information which I was not aware of until I sat down and read it this evening (Tuesday night). Thank you very much for your hardwork and I will discuss that paper with you.”
Adesina noted that the economy picked up soon after the President’s health got sound, “so it seems there is a correlation between the President’s health and the improved economy”.
On security, Adesina said the bank had released $250 million for the construction and rehabilitation of the Northeast, which was destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents.
He also told the President that the AfDB had constructed a big building behind the Yar’Adua Centre. It was started in 2016.
He said it was the first of such buildings by AfDB outside its Abidjan headquarters. He insisted that Buhari would inaugurate it.
Adesina said: “I want to thank you immensely. I want to thank God for your health because I must say that for all of us, that has been a big concern. But seeing you fit as a fiddle and seeing you back in action, we thank God for that and may God continue to give you great strength.
“Mr. President, as you must have noticed, there is a very strong correlation between your health and the economy and when you came back, the economy picked up after that. So we wish you great health so that the the economy can continue to pick.
“I also want to congratulate you for the economic growth and recovery plan that you have put in place and the incredible plan that you have put in place to bring the economy out of recession and also in terms of the fact that Nigeria has moved up in the World Bank ease of doing business index. It is to your leadership, vision and commitment that we want to commend you, Mr. President and to assure you of our strong support behind you and your government for the efforts to try and move Nigeria forward. We are solidly behind you, you can count on that.”
Adesina added: “I also want to thank you for your leadership on the Boko Haram issue because to draw investments into Nigeria, you absolutely have to have security. I think that securing our borders are very important – thanks to your leadership for that. I also thank you for all the efforts you have made in the Lake Chad Basin Area.
“I was with you in Paris where you led the efforts in reviving the Lake Chad Basin. As you know, Mr. President, the bank is very strongly behind that.”