President Muhammadu Buhari hasn’t formally announced that he’ll be seeking re-election ahead of the 2019 election. However, he’s been dropping hints all over the place.
Here are the 7 men Buhari will be counting on when he finally declares for a second term:
1. Bola Tinubu
The Jagaban Borgu has been extracting firm commitments from Aso Rock lately with President Buhari willing to yield to his demands and politics.
There was a time when Tinubu was dispatched to the fringes as Buhari went about the task of putting his team together after a fierce 2015 election contest.
Some of Tinubu’s men have found their way to the Villa, President Buhari refused to extend the tenure of APC Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun because Tinubu wanted it that way; and Tinubu was asked by Buhari to reunite the APC.
Buhari recently visited Lagos to honour Tinubu on his birthday; a sign that their once frosty relationship is thawing fast.
As 2019 draws ever so close, Buhari is forging even closer ties with the Asiwaju.
Like 2015, Buhari knows that Tinubu’s support will be invaluable when the chips go down.
2. Adams Oshiomhole
The grapevine says this former Governor of Edo State has been penciled to become the next Chairman of the APC as John Odigie-Oyegun exits with his tail between his legs.
Oshiomhole is a bare-knuckled, hands-on campaigner whose time as labour leader still endears him to the grassroots.
Oshiomhole has Buhari’s ears and visits the Villa regularly.
Should Buhari decide to run, he will find in Oshiomhole a ready ally.
3. Adebayo Shittu
On January 24, 2018, Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, showed up at the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari re-election souvenirs.
Hours later, he was spotting a Buhari 2019 re-election cap and telling the world how the president is the best thing to happen to Nigeria since sliced bread.
In the days that followed, Shittu inaugurated the Buhari Southwest re-election campaign in Ibadan and he has deployed foot-soldiers for the ground operation; from Lagos to Ondo.
He may not be your idea of a decent minister, but he could come in handy when the re-election campaign of the president officially flags off.
4. Rotimi Amaechi
He could lay down his life for Buhari if it came to that.
A good talker who packs a punch and then some, Transport minister Amaechi never shies away from picking fights for the cause.
He has taken on everyone as he defends the government he serves in—from the PDP, to Rivers Governor Wike, to anyone who says the APC has performed poorly since it assumed the reins at the center.
He’s also not afraid to fight dirty, giving as good as he gets.
He’ll be ready with his battle axe when Buhari declares he’s running again.
5. Nasir Elrufai
Kaduna Governor Elrufai has told whoever cares to listen that all the APC Governors will back Buhari’s re-election bid.
Elrufai has also told former Vice President Atiku Abubakar not to waste his time and money because Buhari will be unbeatable in 2019.
And he says it with chutzpah, with pride and with reckless abandon.
Elrufai talks a good game and could be brutally honest, perhaps a bit too much for his own good.
Call him Buhari’s adopted son and you’d be darn right.
6. Ken Nnamani
A former senate president, Nnamani is a deft political player with the nous of a veteran. He’s pivoted to the APC for a while now and has been singing the praises of Buhari.
He may just be the man who sells the APC to a Southeast region where it is most derided.
Nnamani is also rumoured as a potential APC chairmanship candidate when the party’s elective congress comes around in June.
And he will be in Buhari’s corner when push comes to shove.
7. Abdulaziz Yari
As Chairman of the Governors Forum, Zamfara State Gov Yari wields enormous influence which he could throw around before the election.
The APC has 24 Governors to its name and that’s plenty of grassroot votes to deploy and bargain with.
There’s not a more powerful pressure group and political bloc in the land than the Nigeria Governors Forum.
The Governors will be key to Buhari’s re-election moves and Yari’s job will be to rouse his colleagues to get out the votes for the president.