The Presidency has disagreed with President Muhammadu Buhari’s former running-mate in 2011 presidential poll and Senior Pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare, who urged him to sustain his legacy by picking a successor before 2023.
Not taking kindly to such advice, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said on Monday that Buhari would neither handpick his successor nor handover to those who will rewind the anti-corruption successes of his administration.
Adesina, who was guest of a politics programme on Channels Television, said Buhari had an exit plan for 2023 and would honorably stick to it.
According to him: “By May 2023, God willing, he would have finished his second term as president, he would not have stood for another term and he will be exiting. So, he has that at the back of his mind.
“Pastor Bakare said he should be interested in who succeeds him. Yes, I’m sure the president will be interested in who succeeds him but he will not manipulate the process, to pick a successor.
“The president will not pick a successor. We know him, he is not somebody like that. Will he be interested in the process? Yes he will.
“He will ensure that there is a free, fair and credible election; that nobody will come to use money and resources to bamboozle his way into the leadership of the country. It will not happen.
“The president will ensure free, fair and credible process but to handpick a successor? No, he will not do that.
“The President will ensure that Nigeria is in safe hands. There is no point having worked, having made gains, having made advances since 2015-2023, to hand Nigeria over to those who will take her back or hand Nigeria over to looters once again or you allow looters to allow stolen funds to work for them to seize power. No, that will not happen.
“The President will be interested that much in who succeeds him but he is not going to impose anybody. Rather, he is going to create a free and fair process and Nigerians are then going to determine who the next president should be.”
Asked to respond to Bakare’s allegation that enemies of the nation were in the three tiers of government and arrogating state resources for personal use, Adesina said that “the president respects the principles of federalism. There are certain things that the president will not dabble into but whatever role that the law allows him to look into that, sure he will do.
“The anti-corruption agencies are empowered to look at things happening in the state and they will. But the president interfering or intervening directly where the law does not permit him, no he will not.”
On if the president will act on the Electoral Act amendment early enough having said he was committed to reforming the electoral process, the presidential aide replied that “it depends on how you define early enough.
“One thing that is clear is that the President will do whatever is needful before the next set of general elections. Early enough is relative but the president will do whatever is needful.”