Akin Osuntokun, Director of Media and Public Communications, Coalition for Nigeria Movement, says President Muhammadu Buhari cannot change his ways of doing things even if re-elected in 2019.
“Any Nigerian who says today that he thinks that Buhari will be better will be deceiving himself because he will even be worse than he was before (if he is re-elected),” Osuntokun said in an interview with The Punch.
He argued that “anybody who supports him to get re-elected will be doubly disappointed and jeopardised than the first time, if he gets it”.
Osuntokun, a one-time presidential adviser, now a Deputy Chairman of the Nigeria Intervention Movement, said the President is set in his ways, noting that some of the anomalies noticed in his government were not mistakes.
According to him, Buhari has been acting deliberately and couldn’t have been making mistakes all the time with some of his decisions.
His words: “He is set in his ways. Prof. Soyinka called the things he has done unforced errors. Those are not mistakes, this is Buhari acting deliberately.
“You cannot make a mistake with the kind of appointments he made in such a lopsided manner. That cannot be a mistake; it is a deliberate act. And this is reinforced by the position he has taken on this Fulani herdsmen crisis.
“What Taraba, Benue and the states in the Middle Belt are experiencing and the response of his government today has reinforced the kind of personality he has. Any Nigerian who says today that he thinks that Buhari will be better will be deceiving himself because he will even be worse than he was before [if he is re-elected].”
He also accused the President of polarizing the country more than anyone before him, warning that his re-election in 2019 would further deepen the division in the country.
“All those who supported him, from their testimonies today, have been given cause to regret. Everybody is saying now that Nigeria is divided now more than ever before. Why is it so? It has to do with the personality of the leader.
“I heard there was jubilation in Kano and don’t know of any other place where there was jubilation but you can all see this kind of division among Nigerians. His candidature is so polarising, almost to the extreme. So if Nigerians are saying that the country has never been this divided, so how will his seeking reelection help that?
“He wants to further deepen the division in the country. But all we are saying wouldn’t have mattered if attention had been paid to revising the constitutional structure of the country. The reason it has become such an issue and why we are so divided and bitter with one another is that nobody likes being oppressed.
“That is what it boils down to. We have a government at the centre that is oppressive. If we had a good nationalist and a detribalised leader, we wouldn’t feel it as such but if we had a divisive leader, the effects would become unbearable.
“So that is the problem. So since you cannot guarantee that we are going to have a pan-Nigerian nationalist as President, the most enduring solution is to take away what makes the government at the centre such a dysfunction.
“And that is devolution and decentralisation back to the regions and the states or whatever people have been talking about so that these problems don’t keep on recurring and becoming an issue until such a time that it would explode. The way things are going, the race to that centre is the most devastating, destabilising factor in Nigeria and it is going to remain so as long as this kind of oppressive power is there.”