•Says he should support younger candidate
BY SULE ADAMSON in Jos•
President Muhammadu Buhari should convince his cronies that in national interest, he would support the emergence of a younger person than seek second term in the 2019 Presidential election, a radical priest, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, has said.
According to him, it is obvious that many Nigerians may not vote for Buhari, not because of his religion or tribe “but because it is perceived that people are hiding in his government to promote a regional and religious agenda.”
“Assuming his confidence to run is not in the ability of state apparatus to conjure results and he truly loses, shall there be peace ? What if, despite the fact that the two major parties put forward Northern Muslims as presidential candidates and Nigerians revolt and vote someone in from a totally unknown party because of the amendment to the Electoral Act reordering the order of elections and because of the high political consciousness now, shall there be peace?”, he asked.
Buhari, he advised, should at his age and with his present state of health “be thinking of having a well deserved rest.”
Bassey, International Director of Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria and Executi¬ve Secretary, Justice Development and Peace Commission, two agencies of the Catholic Church, said these in a statement obtained by Journalists in Jos.
He queried when people would start seeing everyone first as a Nigerian, and evaluate things objectively devoid of regional, religious and ethnic sentiments. According to reports, Bassey had last year, called on Buhari not to contest the 2019 elections, followed by Arewa youths other individuals and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“What would happen if Mr. Buhari insists on contesting and loses at the polls? Ordinarily, President Buhari at his age and his state of health should be thinking of having a well deserved rest.
“At a certain age neuro-scientists tell us that brain neurons begin to degenerate, which is why older people are more susceptible to Alzheimer’s.
“As we get older it is more difficult to have fresh ideas and be innovative, we rely more on residual knowledge and skills we acquired over the years.
“At an official age of 75 and his undisclosed health issues, President Buhari should know that except there are ulterior interests to be served, his putting himself forward cannot be altruistic.
“It will behove him therefore to talk sense to his very restive support base, that for everyone’s good, he would rather support the emergence of a younger person than put himself forward, and that his restive support base should take things easy and accept the results whatever the outcome. After all everything is God’s will.
“I am emphasising this because when Buhari lost in 2011, many innocent people died because of protests; and now that Fulani herdsmen are scattered all over the nooks and cranny of Nigeria well armed, and the security forces are helpless, shall there not be an eruption of killings all over the country if President Buhari loses.”
Bassey said If Nigeria was to remain as one nation, the citizens have to start sowing the seeds of mutual acceptance and respect. According to him, it might be more difficult for religions and denominations that teach their adherents from youth to see themselves as superior and other religions or denominations as inferior, adding however that “it is a task we owe to humanity.”
“Now that it is obvious that a great many people especially Nigerian living in the south may not vote for Buhari, not because he is a Muslim and a northerner, but because it is perceived that people are hiding in his government to promote a regional and religious agenda; now that it is obvious that many youths all over the country may not vote for Buhari not because he is not a Southerner and not because he is not a Christian but because many families are still in recession, even when it is reported that the country has moved out of recession; and now that even the lives of rural dwellers are not guaranteed because Fulani herdsmen are omnipresent and omnipotent and government is all-powerless but would rather justify their acts, what would happen if Buhari insists on seeking reelection and loses?”