By Stephanie Miller
As of April 9, President Muhammadu Buhari has announced his decision to seek a second term in office. The announcement comes from Twitter and marks the end of months of speculation as to whether the 75 year-old politician planned to run for reelection. As his first term has been plagued by poor health, Buhari has spent months in the UK seeking medical treatment.
Buhari, who defeated incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 Nigerian election, is the first opposition leader to defeat an incumbent in Nigeria, according to the BBC. He will continue to run under the banner of the ruling All Progressives Congress. The 75-year-old former general and military head of state was voted into power in 2015 on a platform vowing to stamp out the Boko Haram insurgency devastating the country’s northeast. The Independent reports that this year it runs on an anti-corruption and pro-military spending platform, piggy-backing off of its success against the Boko Haram insurgency.
The main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, has not yet announced its candidate. In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP expressed surprise that the president did not conduct any government business in 72 hours, pointing out that it is not clear when he would return. They also reported that Buhari did not transmit a letter to the National Assembly, indicating that he would be away on a week of “vacation” in London. It asserted that Buhari’s inaction is a violation of Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution, and decried Buhari’s non-transmission of power to Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo. The opposition party urged the National Assembly to take urgent steps to address a constitutional crisis that might arise from the failure of the president to transmit power to his deputy, Osinbajo, before he left for London.
The Nigerian Bulletin reports that the PDP recently called on the National Assembly to address the alleged power vacuum created by President Muhammadu Buhari, on account of his frequent trips to the UK. In the past, many have been critical of Buhari’s presidency, accusing him of “aggravating Nigeria’s worst recession in 25 years by introducing a currency peg that spooked investors and depleted foreign reserves.” According to Sahara Reporters, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo told media sources in January that he was disappointed with Mr Buhari’s handling of Nigeria’s ecoomy, which is the largest in Africa. Obasanjo also called on Buhari to not seek re-election because of his age and alleged poor health. Questions have abounded regarding Buhari’s health, particularly after he spent much of 2017 in a London hospital with an undisclosed illness. However, the Daily Post reports that Buhari has kept himself busy while abroad.
Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu disclosed in a public media statement that Buhari will hold discussions with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, upon his next trip, according to the Daily Post. Buhari also set to meet with the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Plc, stating that these consecutive meetings will happen before the President proceeds to Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings that is set to begin on April 18, 2018.