Buhari absent again from Tinubu’s campaign rallies

President Muhammadu Buhari has again distanced himself from the presidential campaign rallies of Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the February 25 exercise.

After the kickoff of the presidential campaign in Jos last November, Mr Buhari isolated himself from the campaign of the former Lagos governor, prompting political analysts to opine he was not in support of his party’s flag bearer.

Last month, the president was billed to attend ten campaign rallies of his party but TODAY POLITICS has observed that after appearing and addressing supporters in Adamawa and Yobe respectively, the Nigerian leader has again distanced himself.

Aside the two rallies he attended, Mr Buhari was scheduled to campaign in Sokoto on 16 January, Kwara on 17 January and Ogun on 25 January.

The President, according campaign spokesperson who doubles as junior labour minister, Festus Keyamo, would also be physically present at the rallies in Cross River on 30 January, Nasarawa on 4 February, Katsina on 6 February and Imo on 14 February.

Mr Buhari will also participate in the grand finale of the APC presidential campaign in Lagos on February 18 ahead of the election on 25 February, the campaign spokesperson said.

On January 23, the president appeared in Bauchi campaign rally but hurriedly left after the sound system at the venue broke down.

Although the Sokoto rally is yet to take place, the president was absent from that of Kwara, Ogun and Cross River.

In Ogun, the former Lagos governor came down hard on his party, accusing government officials of sabotaging his chances at the polls by instigating the increasing scarcity of petrol and the recoloured new Naira notes.

His campaign team later denied he directly attacked the president’s administration.

Campaigning in Calabar on Monday in the absence of Buhari, Mr Tinubu said the economic team of the president was incompetent for overseeing the incessant fall of Naira at the foreign exchange.

“They moved the exchange rate from N200 to N800,” the APC candidate who spearheaded the coming of the present regime in 2015 lamented. “If they have repaired it, if they have arrested this, we won’t be where we are today. We will have been greater.”

Meanwhile a member of the Public Affairs Directorate APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) Mariya Ibrahim Baba has explained why the president has been absent at the rallies he was billed to attend.

Appearing on Arise TV on Friday, Ms Baba explained that the Nigerian leader was too busy to attend political rallies but would soon join the campaign train in his home state of Katsina.

“Buhari is still the president of Nigeria and he has work to do,” she explained. “If you notice he has outlined the places he will accompany the presidential candidate to campaign and he has been to other places even when we flagged off our campaign in Jos he was there and he’s going to be in Katsina very soon.

“But he is the sitting president and you don’t expect him to leave office for the whole campaign period to go out to campaign when he has work to do. It doesn’t make sense.

“He has to divide his time into these two very important areas. As the president he has to attend to his duties too.”