ABUJA, Nigeria – The Spokesperson of Abubakar Atiku 2019 Presidential Campaign Organisation, Segun Showunmi, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to reach out to his closest rival in the last election for an end to the many Nigerian problems.
Showunmi said this in his congratulatory message to President Buhari as he clocked 78.
Recall that former Vice President Atiku contested the 2019 presidential election under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the incumbent President Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a statement made available in Abeokuta on Wednesday, Showunmi examined the administration of Buhari, giving advice and making recommendations.
“Mr President, it is time for you to expand the dragnet of where you get inspiration by reaching out to other critical stakeholders in the country, especially Atiku Abubakar.
“For whatever it is worth, he contested the last election with you. I believe the greater good of the country will be served if you both work together to get our country out of the financial mess we are in,” Showunmi suggested.
He opined that ideological differences need not be elevated to enmity within brothers, sometimes.
In his words, the Egba-born politician applauded Buhari for the infrastructural development in Nigeria.
“Mr President, I give you credit for the effort at infrastructural development in the country, the ongoing rail modernisation projects, the second Niger bridge, the Mambila hydroelectric project, and the Siemens power project to mention a few. I commend you for this. May the projects all come together for the benefit of our people,” it was said.
However, he stated that the President was not doing as well as he would have liked with communicating and connecting with people, saying “I want you to work on this for a misunderstood leader can cause grave consequences, especially in a multi-ethnic country like ours.”
He told the President to start planning his succession, which he said did not mean “power transfer” within the APC.
By asking Buhari to start planning succession, Showunmi said he meant “looking at the country and determining who and those that must take the reign because the work to be done is serious.”
The public affairs analyst maintained that Nigeria cannot sustain its future on the supposed generosity of other countries in the West, China or the Arab world, saying “we must become reasonably self-sufficient people.”
To do this, he suggested to the President that “we need far more honest leaders whose hearts beat for our country and its progress. I dare say it will be most unfortunate to narrow your searchlight only to those around you. Look broader, farther and more deliberately.”
He expressed worry about Buhari legacy, stressing that those around him are not as mindful as they ought to be.
“I am a little worried about your legacy. Often, I find that deep in my heart, I get a sense that those around you are not as mindful of their actions as they ought to be. Given the huge sacrifice I suspect you are making, it is way too difficult to find a positive narrative about our country these days that one is bound to ask: is the president not bothered about how things are?” Showunmi added.
On the anti-terrorism war, the Ogun indigene wondered why Buhari has refused to sack the service chiefs as he asked if the officers indispensable to the extent that no one within the system can do their jobs.
While congratulating Buhari on his birthday, Showunmi advised him to rejig his cabinet to energise his process towards a wrap-up and a passing of the baton.