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As 2019 general election drawing closer, a serving General in the Nigerian army has reportedly mulling to drop his khaki to join the Presidential race, News Punch understands. 

According to Nigerian Tribune, barring any twist in the current calculations by some major political forces within the Northern political establishment one of the serving top military brass, might throw his hat into the ring.

The unnamed Army General formed part of ten 10 high-profile politicians from the North who are already scrambling for the 2019 presidency following the seeming uncertainty surrounding the health status of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The president, who left the country on May 7, 2017, is said to be currently recuperating from the medical treatment he underwent in the United Kingdom.

Apart from the serving Army General who hails from one of the states in the troubled North-Eastern part of the country, the list of the presidential hopefuls who have begun nationwide consultations include serving and former state governors, as well as serving senators, former ministers, Senate presidents and former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar.

The governors include Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State; Mallam Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna); Kashim Shettima (Borno); Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), while the former governors are Rabiu Kwankwaso, who is a serving Senator from Kano State; Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Dalhatu Bafarawa (Sokoto);  Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), and current Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who served as the governors of Kwara State from 1999 to 2007.

Also said to be jostling for the presidential seat are a former Senate President, Senator David Mark and former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana.

Findings in parts of the North, however, showed that six of the touted names, who appeared to be dominating the political space, include the Army General, Atiku, Tambuwal, Shettima, el-Rufai and Senator Kwankwaso.


Atiku has floated the Atiku Care Foundation, with the full complement of interim officials who are currently mobilising support for him in the three zones in the North.

It was gathered that the serving General was enjoying the backing of some prominent northern elders and a powerful power bloc at the federal level in the current political dispensation.

On his part, Tambuwal is said to be having the backing of two former Nigerian leaders as well as some former Army Generals from the North because of their belief that he could leverage on his background and experience as a former Speaker of the House of Representatives to clinch the presidency in 2019.

Shettima, it was gathered, has the backing of the North-East caucus of the political establishment, whose members felt the lot should fall on the North-East to produce the next president in case Buhari does not seek another four-year term.

According to them, it is the only veritable way to appreciate the enormous sacrifice the people of the North-East have had to make as a result of the activities of Boko Haram in the area.

It was also said a stalwart of the governing the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the South-West is throwing his weight behind the Borno governor.

As for el-Rufai, in spite of his letter to the president, in which he expressed serious indignation about the Buhari administration, a source claimed that the Kaduna governor is still enjoying the support of a number of core loyalists of the president.

El-Rufai is said to be one of the few northerners believed to understand the ongoing power game across the country, coupled with what his promoters described as his connection in the international community.

Investigations also showed that Senator Kwankwaso, who is the leader of the Kwankwassiya Movement, has the backing of some northern leaders, including a former president of the country.

According to sources, a lot of ordinary party members of APC see him as somebody that can unite the region and indeed the entire country.

However, some leaders from the Middle Belt are insisting that the region, rather than the core North, should produce the next president.

One of them, Senator Joseph Waku, who leads the Middle Belt Forum, said the zone had produced great men and women that could lead the country.

A chieftain of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), who craved anonymity, said it was an incontrovertible fact that the North would produce the next president in 2019.

“It is the still our turn to have the next president. But we are very careful on how to handle the situation. The president is still from the region. We are not very sure whether he will still like to continue or not.

“Be that as it may, whoever among the presidential hopefuls that will emerge will have the support of the Northern elders,” he stressed.

Nigerian Tribune
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