Although some Nigerians believe the current administration has lived below expectation, Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, is confident that President Muhammadu Buhari will win if he contests another election.
Buhari, who has two more years in his tenure, has been silent on seeking another term.
But some of his allies have been hinting at the president contesting in 2019. In February, Babachir Lawal, secretary to the government of the federation, said Buhari would spend eight years in office.
“The foundation being laid by the government is solid. And nobody, even after the president has finished his eight years can ever take us back to the pre-2015 days,” he had told crowd of supporters in Abuja.
Speaking as a guest on Sunday Politics, a programme on Channels Television, Adesina said his principal had done very well.
Seun Okinbaloye, anchor of the programme, had asked, “Do you think if President Muhammadu Buhari goes to the poll today, he can win an election?” Responding, Adesina said: “That would depend on Nigerians, but if you ask me as an individual, I will say, yes, the president can win and win again and again.”
On the demand of Abdulmumin Jibrin, former chairman of the house of representatives committee on appropriation, that the president should step down based on his health condition, Adesina said over 15 million Nigerians voted for Buhari and one man cannot ask the president to quit.
The presidential spokesman however made it clear that Jibrin was entitled to his opinion.
“That rep (Jibrin) has given an opinion. He has a right to his opinion. We don’t begrudge him that, no one should begrudge him. But his opinion is just his opinion, it’s not the gospel,” he said.
“So, if he thinks the president can’t do the job, it is just his opinion. One vote didn’t bring the president to power. Over 15 million Nigerians voted for the president into office, so one person cannot say he should quit.
“So what he has said is his opinion and he has a right to it.”
Adesina defended the current pace of the president, saying it is not expected of Buhari to “charge in like a bull” into his normal schedule.
Jibrin had said Nigerians do not need a part time president, giving the impression that Buhari is still trying to adapt after his longest medical vacation.
“You need to be alive before you can govern. It’s only natural that if a president falls sick, he should seek medical attention,” Adesina said.
“If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t even rule. So, it is just natural that the president went away when he needed it. And when you have been ill, to quote him, he said he had never been that sick in his life.
“So, when you come back you don’t go charging in like a bull into your normal schedule. You work yourself gradually into it, and that is what the president has been doing, and he is doing it effectively.
“When the president came back on March 10 and he addressed Nigerians. He said after some weeks, he will go back for a review. I think that is just laying the cards on the table. I think he should be commended, not some people wanting to make it an albatross around his neck. He should rather be commended for being forthright with Nigerians.
“In a matter of weeks, I will be going back for review, the president said that, and for now there is no cause for us to say he will not go back, but whenever he is going, he will make Nigerians know.”