Fiery Islamic scholar, Sheik Gumi, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.
The Kaduna-based cleric, who told the source in an exclusive interview that Nigerians will reject Buhari in the 2019 presidential election because of poor performance, however, said the president’s electoral fortune will depend on who he contests against.
Noting that the President is not in charge, Gumi revealed that the power sharing arrangement Buhari entered into with South-West political leaders, who brought him to power in 2015 has seen him being caged.
He said: “If Buhari decides to contest, he is going to find it very tough, not like before, because the people are going to judge him by his performance and the record is not good.
“As Muslims, we don’t predict because we don’t know the future. Only God knows the future, but from my observation of what I am seeing and hearing from people, it would be very difficult for him (Buhari) to win.
“Along the line, he has made many enemies. Within his party, many people are now contending with how they were used and thrown away. So, all these people have gathered against him.
“Also, most of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors are not popular because of how they treat people. Most of them are not popular in their states. And because of lack of economic plan, foresight and the unintentional action of the President in trying to curb corruption, the economy has been killed.”
He further insisted that the anti-corruption war, which Buhari sees as his selling point, will turn out to be his undoing.
“Wherever Buhari goes, he would say corruption, but he is fighting corruption in a crude way. The way he is doing it is what actually put the economy on its knees,” he said.
On the pact between Buhari and South-West leaders, Gumi said the President was used by some political leaders in the zone to grab power in 2015, when they fell out with then President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to him, when Jonathan refused to play ball, the South-West leaders reasoned that Buhari, who is popular in the North could be used as a front to get power.
His words: “When I heard the Buhari was going to contest in 2015, I advised him not to because he retired from politics at a time. But, who brought him out again? They were the political forces in the South-West. Their political leadership wanted a revenge on Jonathan.
“When the South-West political leadership, which supported Jonathan in 2011, realised that he was not ready to share the cake with them as it was supposed to be; that he was only enriching his own people, South-South and South-East, they said, let us bring that man that has the support of the talakawas (ordinary people) and team up with him to take power.
“But the issue is that the talakawa just wanted somebody to liberate him. He was not concerned about Buhari; he wanted to be liberated because he wants to see good things and food on his table.
“When Buhari is not making the dream come true, he would say it is a struggle, he is fighting those people, second year he is still fighting them. But the third year, they are saying this man cannot do it. So, 2019 is going to be a different story.”
On his claim that the President is caged, he said: “I saw it coming and I told him (Buhari) in black and white that they want to use you as an umbrella to get power; you don’t have the same principle with these people.
“The South-West used Buhari to get power and he is sharing power with them, if not, how can you explain one minister with three big ministries? It is an agreement because Buhari alone cannot get those votes, so what they did because they are politically civilized, they put conditions.
“So, he is not really ruling alone. But, during Jonathan, he was doing it alone. Even the talakawas need someone who is really in charge. President Buhari is constrained by many things because the people who put him there are not on the same wavelength with him.”
Warning the President against allowing himself to be used again in 2019, Gumi alleged plot by the South-East to also use Buhari to ride to power in 2013.
“The South-East wants Buhari to continue so that after his second tenure, it will be their turn. They are day dreaming because the people will just move from APC to another party. The Igbo should be cautious; the PDP is good for them because the traditional northern alliance is with the Igbo.
“This alliance has always been good for the country. They should maintain it and get leaders, who will embrace restructuring, sit down on the table, give and take and remain in one country,” he said.
The cleric also stressed the need for a new generation of politicians, saying: “Right from inception, I am one of the few that told Nigerians that if you want the country to be better, you have to bring on board, a completely different people, you have to bring people who have clean heart, clean mind.”
He added: “If you bring an old politician, definitely he is going to fragment the nation because he would have a lot of supporters and a lot of enemies. But, if you bring a politician who is new and educated, he won’t have fanatical followers or enemies. So, everybody will be willing to work with him.
“But, if we continue to recycle old politicians, who have developed friends and enemies, once they come to power, Nigeria will be divided like during the last election.
“The difference between the two leading parties was two million votes, which means we are a divided nation. With these two million votes difference, you don’t have the mandate of Nigerians to embark on things that would structurally change Nigeria because it is not a landslide victory.
“Nigeria is divided and unfortunately when it is divided, it is done along the fault lines of regionalism and energy division. So, who on earth can rule a divided nation? Nobody!”
Full interview on pages 11 & 12