- I haven’t endorsed, condemned any aspirant-Obasanjo
- Court wants speedy decision on Jonathan, Sambo’s eligibility
From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin with agency reports
The former Head of State and Presidential aspirant under the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari(rtd) has said he would secure and efficiently manage Nigeria if elected in the 2015 general elections, just as he said that he didn’t beg Dr. Bukola Saraki, the immediate past Governor of Kwara state, to step down for him to actualise his ambition in the party.
Buhari who stated this when he visited Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed at government house in Ilorin on Monday said, he had contested three times and lost stressing that he would not be deterred.
“I contested three times and I lost three times and I ended up in Supreme Court three times. We thank God the constitution did not limit how many times you can contest at which ever stage once you are 18 years and above and it did not put age limit as well.
“I have tried ruling this country before in a different system, and from 1999 till now, I am sure you know what happened or what has been happening. I believe what Nigeria needs now is to be secured and efficiently managed. This is the APC stand and I will like to use this opportunity through my part and the system to secure and efficiently manage Nigeria. Of course Nigeria is not well managed, you know it.”
On consensus candidate for APC primaries, General Buhari said “it is up to the party and up to the people. We need a fair play ground for everybody. Let Nigerians be given the opportunity and let them believe that they do matter. All these efforts to salvage the nation are for them and for the country.
“If there is a consensus agreement, it is not forced on the people, and it will save time and resources. But even if whatever zones should present themselves, let the people decide; it is well and good.
On the immediate past Governor of Kwara State,Dr Bukola Saraki stepping down for him, General Buhari said, “I read it in the papers. I went there and saw him. I did not beg him to leave it for me. But it is his own decision, he has been a governor here twice, he knows the politics of the country. He is known throughout the country. His father worked extremely hard and virtually established a dynasty, voluntarily supported by the people of the state.”
Meanwhile, ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo has denied endorsing President Goodluck Jonathan, his former vice, Atiku Abubakar, Buhari, and others for the 2015 presidential race.
Obasanjo debunked reports that he has endorsed an aspirant jostling for the office of the president in February 2015 election.
Speaking through one of his allies, Oyewole Fasawe, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Monday, the former president said he had neither endorsed nor condemned any of the aspirants running on the platform of any of the political parties.
Mr. Fasawe said in a statement that Mr. Obasanjo sees the current gladiators in all the parties as his political children and associates; hence he would not endorse one over the other no matter the amount of pressure from any quarter.
“Baba has not endorsed anyone and has not condemned anyone. A statesman of his stature and pedigree can only pray and work towards peace and progress in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. Those trying to exploit his friendliness to gain political advantage over other contenders are being unfair and doing so without Obasanjo’s approval,” he said.
This is even as a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday granted an accelerated hearing of a suit challenging the eligibility of President Goodluck Jonathan and his vice, Namadi Sambo, to seek reelection in the 2015 presidential election.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed in his ruling on the ex parte application by the plaintiffs held that the matter would be heard on weekly basis.
Though he adjourned the matter till November 12, he held that the order of accelerated hearing would be effective from when the 30 days within which the respondents were bound to respond to the suit would elapse.
Justice Mohammed held that alternatively the ruling could take effect earlier if the respondents joined issues with the plaintiffs sooner.
Mr. Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), who appeared along with other SANs, moved the ex parte application for accelerated hearing.
The respondents in the suit are the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN).
Owonikoko had urged the court to fix the matter for “the earliest possible date” in line with the Supreme Court’s practice direction which directs a quick determination of election-related cases.
The plaintiffs, who are both politicians, Adejumo Ajagbe and Olatoye Wahab, are seeking an order restraining the INEC and the AGF from allowing Jonathan and Sambo to seek re-election for their respective offices in 2015.