Nsukka, NIGERIA – When incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari declared his intention to seek reelection next year, the news did not go down well with some Nigerians.
“I feel sad for Nigeria,” said Victor Onuorah, a student at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka. “And most of all, I feel like our tomorrow is not going to get better because he would try to win the election at all cost.”Onuorah, 24, said he felt infuriated when news of Buhari’s plans filtered in through the media.
“I remember that he said he was only running for a term in 2015,” said Onuorah. “But what I cannot still believe is the fact that he had the spunk to open his mouth and said he would run for the second time.”
According to Professor Nicholas Akwanya, who leads the department of History and International Studies at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, the Buhari-led administration has failed to address fundamental issues facing the country.
Akwanya said the current administration – elected to a four-year-term in 2015 – hasn’t addressed the rising wave of insurgency or the demands for self-government by some Nigerians who want to form a separate nation of Biafra.
“There continues to be tension in the country, following renewed attacks by Insurgents, especially the kidnap of girls who want to acquire western education and all this administration does is to reach negotiations with them,” the professor said. “These are people who want to destroy the country.”
For Israel Njoku, also a student at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, no Nigerian who means well for the country would take the president’s re-election plans as good news.
“If Buhari himself means well for the country, he would have recognized how much of a bad idea it is,” said Njoku. “But I am not surprised. It is on character with all we have come to know about our president. That he is clueless is as apparent as his power hunger.”
Before he defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan, Buhari, who is now 75, said he was only going to run for one term in order to clean up the mess left by the previous government. He promised to go after the terrorist group Boko Haram, which remains a vicious and active problem for Nigeria. Since his election, Buhari has left the country several times to seek medical attention.
Onuorah said Buhari is just selfish and insensitive to the plight of Nigerians who pinned their hopes on him by voting him into power to address the many issues affecting the growth of the country.
“The only second chance he deserves is the one that takes him to rehab” Onuorah said, adding that the president has one chance to act like the good leader he claims to be.
The Nigerian election is in February 2019.
Gideon Arinze Chijioke is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.