As the 2019 political system draws closer, President Muhammadu Buhari has been spending a lot of time in political meetings. One of the main criticisms of the president in the early days of his presidency was his seeming aloofness from the political side of things as APC chieftains felt they were not being carried along in his government.
The president’s alleged lack of interaction with APC leaders was one of the issues highlighted in a leaked memo addressed to him by the governor of Kaduna state, Nasir Elrufai. Elrufai recommended in that memo for Buhari to hold formal and informal meetings with party leaders and governors. It appears that Buhari is finally taking that advise.
Hardly a day passes these days without a meeting between the president and some APC chieftains or APC governors. The latest visitors to the villa on Monday were about 100 APC leaders from the South East led by the minister of science and technology, Ogbonnaya Onu.
And in those meetings, the president frequently makes comments like this one made to the Igbo leaders today: ‘‘I want you to know that I have not forgotten the efforts and sacrifices you have made in the successes I have achieved in my position…”
He made a variant of that statement last week when he hosted some APC party leaders, including former Kano Gov. Rabiu Kwankwaso, at the villa.
Some of the Igbo leaders who visited Buhari on Monday are – former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, Senator Andy Uba, former Ebonyi State Governor, Martin Elechi, former Governor of old Anambra State, Jim Nwobodo, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, former Minister of Labour, Emeka Nwogu, Imo State Deputy Governor Eze Madumere, Senator Nkechi Nwogu, Senator 3. Chris Adigije and Senator Mark Wabara.
‘‘I assure you that whatever I try to do, I will do it with a clear conscience and I’ll do the best I can do for all Nigerians,’’ Buhari said.
The visiting Igbo leaders endorsed Buhari for a second term and asked him to support a candidate from the region at the expiration of his tenure in 2023.
‘‘It is our conviction that four years is not enough for you to complete this worthy journey hence the need for another four years to enable you make Nigeria truly great. We implore Mr President, as a just and fair-minded leader, to make history by supporting the zoning of the office of the President in our great party to the South East at the end of your second tenure in office as President in 2023.’’