Former Abia State governor, Orji Kalu, says the All Progressives Congress (APC) will force President Muhammadu Buhari recontest election in 2019.
The former governor, who said this during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, was of the opinion that it was the President’s entitlement to run for a second term.
“President Buhari will run for re-election, not a must but he is going to run. He has to run (and if he says he is not running), we will force him to run,” he said.
Amid speculations whether the President would declare his intention for a re-election, Kalu insisted that it was irrelevant.
He said that former presidents before his administration all re-contested elections, adding that Buhari’s case would not be an exception.
He said: “Whether he declares or not, it is immaterial. All I know is that APC will have a lot of candidates in 2019 and President Buhari will be running for re-election.
“He has to run; he is the President of Nigeria and he is healthy, what will stop him not to run? He is a capable man, so he will be running with the other candidates who want to run in the APC.”
The former governor also faulted rumours that the President would be imposed on other party members who might be aspiring to contest the presidential election.
He said he was very sure that President Buhari would never support such decision or move, adding that he is a man who would want to test his popularity.
The APC chieftain said, “Even President Buhari himself will reject an automatic ticket, he’s a Democrat to the heart. He will like to see his popularity being tested.
“He’s not afraid of any candidate coming to run, he is willing to challenge any candidate to challenge him in the primaries. I believe he is still the presidential candidate who has 10 million people behind him and he is not threatened.
“So if you conduct the election tomorrow, 10 million voters will follow him unasked for and he will make a good show in all parts of the South East.”
Although the President is yet to announce whether he would seek a re-election or not, Kalu is on the same page with other leaders of the party who said President Buhari would not support the imposition of candidates in the party.
APC national leader Bola Tinubu, who was among such leaders, had said that the Buhari he knew would gladly go through the normal process to emerge the party’s flagbearer.
Addressing reporters in Akure on Wednesday last week, Tinubu, however, said the APC might decide to endorse the President as its sole candidate.
“If the national body of the party, the NEC, and all of us as members, now get together and endorse him as our single candidate, we will not be violating INEC regulations; we will not be violating our own constitution,” he had said.