Is President Buhari looking for a ‘Yes Man’ or a ‘Legacy Builder’?

Who could Buhari’s candidate possibly be? Will APC members like and accept the candidate? Will Nigerians vote for the candidate? Will Buhari win and APC lose? Will Buhari win and Nigeria loses? Will Buhari’s choice be Nigeria’s choice? If Nigerians do not like Buhari’s choice, will Buhari allow Nigerians' choice to prevail or will he still insist on choosing his successor?

By Nnanke Harry Willie

It is not unusual for every leader to take more than a passing interest in who succeeds him or her. Great legacies have been destroyed and mundane legacies burnished and elevated just on account of who takes over from an out-going leader.

Whether it is in business, politics, or even in social and religious bodies, it is sometimes done in order to sustain a legacy or to cover up some shortfalls and even seek protection for wrongful or illegal actions that might have been perpetrated during the outgoing leader’s tenure.

While President Muhammadu Buhari has not explained why he desires to hand-pick his successor, it is safe to assume that it is this well-worn path of trying to build on his legacy that his conviction and position are hinged on when he told APC governors that he reserves the right to be allowed choose his successor as he has indeed had allowed them to choose theirs. Surely, what is good for the governors should be even better for the president.

Meanwhile, mind you, Buhari did not say he should be allowed to choose the flag-bearer of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) which is what he must have meant to convey to his APC governors and stakeholders but he talked about his successor as president.  He, therefore, ruffled not a few feathers even outside his own party. In the APC, there has been an eerie silence and angst among some candidates and their supporters that they might not be the chosen ones. While the opposition has screamed that the president wants to subvert democracy by attempting to choose and impose his successor.

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However, of more interest to Nigerians would be, what exactly is the president looking for? Is the president looking for a ‘Yes Man’? Someone he can control even while out of office as one former state governor has been famously accused of doing? Is he rather looking for a loyal ‘Buharist’ who would protect his known and unknown interests while building on his perceived legacies?

Could he also be looking for an energetic enabler who can elevate and leverage his signature infrastructural projects, correct his mistakes, and create the desired change he promised Nigerians in 2015 but failed to deliver even after he promised to take us to the next level in 2019?

How long has President Buhari been planning to make this move? Is the person in his government currently? Has he been grooming the person? Does the person have an inkling that he/she is (or could be) the one? Has the person been an APC member before this cycle of primaries? Is the person from the South or the North, man or woman, young or old?

Who could Buhari’s candidate possibly be? Will APC members like and accept the candidate? Will Nigerians vote for the candidate? Will Buhari win and APC lose? Will Buhari win and Nigeria loses? Will Buhari’s choice be Nigeria’s choice? If Nigerians do not like Buhari’s choice, will Buhari allow Nigerians’ choice to prevail or will he still insist on choosing his successor?

Is it something he had planned before now? Or is it something he wants to look at right now from the pool of aspirants in the APC? If he knew he was going to have to more or less impose his choice on his party, and then maybe on the country, why did he allow that Merry-Go-Round of up to 28 aspirants buying presidential APC forms for the party at the staggering price of N100 million?

Posers, posers and more posers!

All indications point to the fact that President Buhari will have his way in the APC. He must be reminded, however, that the greatest legacy he could bequeath to Nigerians after his highly challenging tenure is to give Nigerians free, fair and credible elections to vote for and ultimately choose the next president of Nigeria in an atmosphere of peace and unity, devoid of coercion just like the one that ushered him into office. He must also be reminded that his choice may not be the choice of the people. He will do well to respect the people’s choice when the time comes.

God Bless Nigeria!

NHW

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