President Muhammadu Buhari says the opposition will sabotage Nigeria for one year if he declares his intention for the 2019 presidential election now.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said this in an interview in Abuja at the weekend.
Adesina said the president could not speak on the election which is still about one year away because he knows the consequences.
He said: “You know the peculiarity of Nigeria particularly now. If the president speaks too early, it’s a problem. There is a lot of sabotage in the country.
“You have also heard so many have said ‘don’t run.’ Because they know that if the president runs, others people should just run a way because they don’t have the foggiest chance in hell to beat him.
“So, they want to discourage him from running.
“Now, if he tells you ‘I’m going to run,’ and elections are still one year away, it gives them one year to sabotage the entire country from all fronts – politically, socially, economically – they would throw everything at him just to dissuade him from running.
“So, when you know that, why then do you speak early?
“I think it makes a lot of sense for you then to keep things close to your chest till it is time for you to then say, ‘ok, I’m running’ by which time they can do less damage.”
Adesina also explained the president’s proposed visit to Rivers state which Governor Nyesom Wike had alleged was based on a wrong premise.
The Presidency had listed Rivers among the states the president would visit over killings in parts of the country most of which is blamed on herdsmen.
When told that the the governor does not understand why the president is basing the Rivers visit on crisis, presidential spokesman said Buhari wants to condole with the families of those affected by various killings in the state.
He recalled the Omoku killings and the beheading of other victims whose heads were taken away by their assailants.
According to Adesina, “If he (Wike) doesn’t understand, the rest of the country understands. We understand, other Nigerians understand. Even people in Rivers state understand because on New Year/New Year Day, a minimum of 24 people were killed in Omoku.
“So, is that not crisis? And can you count the number of people that have been beheaded in Rivers state in recent times?
“People will be killed and heads will be cut off and the assailants will go away with the heads. So, can anybody say that there is no security issue in that kind of place?
“It’s left to the governor. He’s the chief security officer. If he says there’s no security crisis in his state, good luck to him.”
On what will become of the trip if the governor does not welcome it, the presidential aide stated: “I’m sure he will be formally informed of s date. So, if he now says he doesn’t want the visit, it’s left to him and the federal government to decide the next step.
“But the president is visiting so that he can condole with people who lost their loved ones, 24 people minimum, were killed in Omoku.
“So, those people are the reason. Those people and the many beheaded; relations of those beheaded and their heads taken away, are the reason why the president is visiting the state.”