Fred Itua, Abuja
A former senator from Kaduna State and presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, on Tuesday, boasted that he would defeat President Muhammadu Buhari in next year’s presidential election.
Baba-Ahmed welcomed President Buhari’s entrance into the 2019 race and added that the president has taken the support of Nigerians who voted for him in 2015 for granted.
Insisting that he would demystify the power of incumbency if he secures the ticket of his party, Baba-Ahmed said the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees him the right to contest.
According to Baba-Ahmed, “I have never been afraid of incumbency. I am a Nigerian and I am contesting on the same Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Unless they are going to violate it, which we shall challenge.
“Muhammadu Buhari is welcome to contest for the Presidency in 2019 and I think it is a healthy practice to have a gentleman of his age, his mould and people who have been in power for the past 50 years contest. But as for popularity, it is highly argumentative.
“I think the support of many Nigerians has been taken for granted. And I think the average Nigerian has now become more intelligent politically and more aware. That political awareness is what I think leaders who have been in power and think automatically that without people making recourse, they will just endorse them and support them.
“That is the awareness that they are taking for granted. What I have learnt in my few years in this life, not as many as President Buhari, is that never take people for granted.”
He said Buhari will not have a free ride in 2019. He said Buhari only defeated his closest rival, Goodluck Jonathan by 2.5 million votes in 2015.
He argued: “Absolutely, he will not have it easy. Do not forget that President Buhari had contested three elections and lost until a certain action by the PDP made many members to exit the party and go to APC, and made him to win. APC is practically PDP.
“Even Buhari’s best, his very best, he won by only 2.5 million. Now, he is in about his worst, with the economy on its knees, the insecurity, the herdsmen issue that he has not attended to, the educational system and millions of jobs lost, while the people’s awareness is on the increase.”