The chairman of the Buhari Vanguard and a member of the Advisory Board, Mr Jasper Azuatalam, has described the former Nigerian Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, as a devoted Muslim and not a fundamentalist.
He said that describing Buhari as a fundamentalist was a wrong perception about the former leader, whom he said had good intentions for Nigerians.
While answering questions on Monday about the race for the All Progressives Congress’ presidential candidate that is at the moment between Bhuari, a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and the Governor of kano State, Kwkwanso, Mr Azuatalam further described General Buhari as a man with the qualities of a good leader.
“I have never seen the image of Buhari with any top Islamic or in Mecca.”
General Buhari had, in 2011 said it was his last time in the race for the Presidency, when he contested under the CPC in that years election. But he has not only declared his interest to contest in the 2015 election, he has bought the nomination form of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Asked why he is contesting again, his spokesman said he was part of the persons that convinced Buhari to contest again.
“I told him that if it was for the interest of Nigerians that he was contesting, he should come back and contest again. Buhari is not a materialistic person and the only reason he is contesting is because of Nigerians.
“There is use for it now. He has ran for the presidency for three times. He has almost ran as an independent candidate in all the three appearances,” he said.
An Opposition With National Spread
Mr Azuatalam explained why he thought General Buhari would win the Presidential election if given an opportunity, but emphasised that paramount in the APC’s agenda was not any particular candidate but one that will bring change to Nigerians.
“There are two reasons why the APC will win now.
“Now we have an opposition for the first time in Nigeria with a national spread even more than the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
“If Buhari will contest under the APC there is no doubt that he will overwhelmingly win.
“Whether it is a consensus candidate of a primary, there is nobody among these presidential candidates that will leave the party. They will all remain. All of them have one goal and the goal is to rescue Nigeria.
“All the candidates are prepared for the position. I have no doubt that they can all perform as presidents.
“What we need most that has made General Buhari unique is that he intends to tackle indiscipline that has bred corruption in Nigeria. We need a president who has enough influence and respect.
“One of the problems that President Jonathan has been having is that he gives orders and some of his subordinates flaunt his orders including his ministers. But there is high respect for Buhari when he gives an order,” he stressed.
There have been mixed reactions over the age of the aspirants and the need for the younger persons to be given a chance to rule the nation with fresh ideas, but Mr Azuatalam said that a younger person would not do well as a leader , considering the existence of different cabals that would stand against him
“If we bring someone that is young and good, the cabal in the country will not let him succeed. Buhari has high respect and leadership quality.”
He also said he had observed a rise in popularity of Buhari in the south-east and south-south region of Nigeria, citing cheers that Buhari received from the crowd at a rally organised by Governor Chibuike Amaechi in Rivers state to mark his seventh year in office.
However, in Nigeria, the crowd at a rally does not translated to the number of votes that a candidate gets, due to lack of trust for the people in government.
The APC National Executive Council has suggested an indirect primary for the selection of the presidential candidate, but the constitution did not make provision for such indirect primaries in line with the Electoral Act.
At a convention that will hold on 29 October, the APC will be looking to address the discrepancies between the APC constitution and the Act as it concerns selection of the presidential candidate through an indirect means.