The Director-General/National Coordinator, Buhari/Osinbajo Will Rule Again (BOWRA), Hon Faith Oniuwherin, in this interview, says the goodwill President Muhammadu Buhari enjoyed prior to the 2015 presidential election has tripled as 2019 approaches, and that the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the PDP presidential candidate is not a threat to the victory of President Buhari in 2019.
Daily Trust: What’s your interest in the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari?
Hon Faith Oniuwherin: When you are presented with two colours like white and black, you should be able to choose white. As a matter of fact, we had been in the dark, which is the best way to describe the previous administration, before President Buhari came and rescued us. Our support for him is due to the agenda he has for the nation and we have put in our energy to ensure that his drive, ambition, and vision in the Nigerian Project succeeds.
DT: How do you see his re-election bid so far, particularly being the sole candidate of the APC in a democratic process?
Oniuwherin: That is the beauty of democracy. It was as a result of the competence of this administration in trying to ensure that things are done properly, in trying to ensure that Nigeria moves to the next level, that the party deemed it fit to handpick him as the sole candidate. And you saw how the process went. It went smoothly in all the states until he was finally affirmed during the last national convention.
DT: President Buhari has been said to have squandered the goodwill he had prior to the 2015 general election and that it is not going to be same for him in the next election. What’s your take on that?
Oniuwherin: That’s just the view of a few persons. I can assure you that the support the president enjoyed in the last election has tripled as at today. Majority of the people who have said one or two negative things about the president are those that are against our advancement as a nation. Looking at the antecedents of the president internationally and within the country, you can testify to the fact that he has performed credibly well.
DT: Some also believe this administration has only benefitted a few, particularly from the north.
Oniuwherin: I think it boils down to individual opinion. Most of them who have said that may be saying it from one point of view. But generally, the activities of this government have been bringing Nigerians together in all ramifications.
DT: What would you say to complaints that the anti-corruption war of the administration is selective?
Oniuwherin: Again, it boils down to how they see it. You know there is freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Among these persons said to be persecuted or tried by the courts, are there not All Progressives Congress (APC) members? Of course, we have many APC members. If you can recall the president’s speech during his inauguration, he said he is for everybody and for nobody. So, you will agree with me that it is not selective.
DT: Which areas do you think are the selling points of President Buhari for his 2019 re-election?
Oniuwherin: There are so many areas. For instance, Nigerians have seen that within this period of his being in office, issues of corruption have reduced drastically and that is why you see most people saying there is no food and that they are hungry. The loopholes have been blocked and things are being done orderly and accurately compared to the past. Another important area is the ease of doing business. It has improved in the sense that you have the presidential order that has just been released last week where you now have a reduction in getting a business registration done with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) with the sum of N5,000, all as a way of encouraging and creating a space to empower those group of persons, Nigerians who are doing one little business or another.
DT: President Buhari’s running mate in 2011, Pastor Tunde Bakare, said the 2019 presidential contest will be between two eagles (referring to Atiku and Buhari). What does this portend to your camp?
Oniuwherin: It is good to know that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is being considered as an eagle but I want to assure you that the bigger eagle is in charge. As a matter of fact, he is not just in charge; he has the support of Nigerians.
DT: So, you don’t see Atiku defeating Buhari?
Oniuwherin: He is never a threat to this administration.