Special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina on Monday described those who asked his principal not to seek a second term in office as “voodoo priests”.
Some prominent Nigerians, including ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and former military President Ibrahim Babangida, had asked President Muhammadu Buhari to step down in 2019 and give the younger generation a go at the presidency.
But on Monday, Buhari announced his intention for a second term, while meeting with the national executive committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Commenting on the announcement, Adesina said those against Buhari staying in office beyond 2019 were acting like “they had become emergency referees”.
He said they wanted to stop Buhari from becoming the greatest leader in the country’s history.
“And then, some voodoo priests came: don’t run for a second term. Give way to younger people. Take a well-deserved rest. Blah blah blah. As if they were the beginning and end of democracy,” Adesina said.
“The motive was simple: we must dissuade this man from running so that he wouldn’t become the greatest ever Nigerian leader. He must not become the authentic national hero.
“All types of cards were being flashed, yellow, green, red, purple, as if they had become emergency referees. But President Buhari kept his peace. No abuse for abuse, no railing for railing. When you are in the marketplace, you concentrate on the person you are transacting a deal with, and ignore the noise of the market.”
He asked other contenders interested in the presidential race to “run away”, saying “the cat has returned from a journey, let the rats scamper for safety.”
Adesina, who pledged his support to Buhari, added that the election will be free and fair, devoid of “wuru-wuru or mago-mago”.
“I have always said it privately and in public. If President Muhammadu Buhari decides to run for a second term in 2019, I would support him,” he said.
“There will be no doomsday, as the election will be free and fair. No wuru-wuru or mago-mago under Buhari’s watch, no matter what. A man that swears to his own hurt.
“Nigerians will decide early next year. The greater the challenge, the sweeter the victory.”