Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has responded to the call by Senior Pastor of Latter a rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to sustain his legacy by picking a successor before 2023.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina who was a guest on a live television talk programme, yesterday, said Buhari will not handpick his successor nor handover to those who will take the country back and erased the successes of his administration on the fight against corruption.
Adesina said like anyone in position of authority, his principal has his exit plan.
“By May 2023 God willing he would have finished his second term as president, he would not have stood for another term and he will be exiting. So, he has that at the back of his mind. Pastor Bakare said he should be interested in who succeeds him, yes I’m sure the president will be interested in who succeeds him but he will not manipulate the process, to pick a successor.
“The president will not pick a successor we know him, he is not somebody like that. Will he be interested in the process? Yes he will. He will ensure that there is a free, fair and credible election; that nobody will come to use money and resources to bamboozle his way into the leadership of the country. It will not happen. The president will ensure free, fair and credible process but to hand pick a successor? No, he will not do that.”
On if President Buhari was listening to the advise by his friend, Pastor Bakare, Adesina said: “The president will ensure that Nigeria is in safe hands. There is no point having worked, having made gains, having made advances since 2015-2023, to hand Nigeria over to those who will take her back or hand Nigeria over to looters once again or you allow looters to allow stolen funds to work for them to seize power. No, that will not happen.
“The President will be interested that much in who succeeds him but he is not going to impose anybody. Rather, he is going to create a free and fair process and Nigerians are then going to determine who the next president should be.”
On Bakare’s allegation of the enemies of the nation being in the three tiers of government and arrogating state resources for personal use and the Buhari’s response, the Presidential Spokesman said, “Well, the president respects the principles of federalism. There are certain things that the president will not dabble into but whatever role that the law allows him to look into that, sure he will do. The anti-corruption agencies are empowered to look at things happening in the state and they will. But the president interfering or intervening directly where the law does not permit him, no he will not.”
On if the president will act on the electoral Act amendment early enough though he said he is committed to reforming the electoral process, Adesina said: “Well, it depends on how you define early enough. One thing that is clear is that the President will do whatever is needful before the next set of general elections. Early enough is relative but the president will do whatever is needful.”
“The property was never an old people’s home, nor was it residential; nobody lived there. The property has always been a security risk. No fewer than 97 people, mostly women, have died in mysterious stampedes in that facility as they scampered for handouts. There were yearly mass deaths in the said property in November 2010, June 2011, and October 2013. A google search will instantly reveal these sordid facts which were widely published in the media.
“Contrary to the claims by the opposition, the physical reclamation of the property by the government on 2 January 2020 was without any incident. Nobody was met on the property. It was never a place where people lived in, so the question of ejecting, maltreating or deploying violence against anyone did not arise. No court process has been served on the government.
“Without any legal basis to claim the property, the opposition later that morning (2 January) mobilised some women to stage a protest in which they portrayed the government as attacking old people who were quartered there.