Before being elected president in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari contested thrice for the exalted position and failed. In fact, he shed tears during the third attempt vowing not to seek the top job again.
Mr Buhari unsuccessfully tried to become president in 2003, 2007 and 2011 but was repeatedly defeated even at the Supreme Court by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) he finally trounced in 2015.
Contesting under the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) during the three attempts, he kept on winning majority of votes in his North-West geo-political zone, available data seen by TODAY POLITICS showed, but that was unable to get him the top position.
The 1999 constitution requires anyone contesting for the office to win majority votes of at least 25 states of the federation, this the retired military ruler failed to secure using his CPC widely seen as a regional party at the time.
In 2013, Buhari led his party to a merger with other now-defunct political parties namely Action Congress (AC) All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). The then-newly birthed All Progressive Congress (APC) received a boost when a faction of PDP governors, five in numbers, led by Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi, joined its fold.
Mr Amaechi was aggrieved with former president Goodluck Jonathan for recognising a faction of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) he defeated by trouncing his challenger former governor of Plateau State Jonah Jang for the chairmanship position.
The state helmsmen defected with federal and state lawmakers in their respective domains to the new party with the sole aim to oust Mr Jonathan who sought re-election by lost to Mr Buhari.
Mr Buhari who admitted that expectations from him was high signalled early that it won’t be rosy with him in power by failing to appoint ministers until after six months in office, an action economic analysts cited as responsible for the drowning economy which has plunged into recession twice under his watch democratically.
Some of his supporters kicked against his re-election in 2019 but Mr Buhari won apparently due to power of incumbency at his disposal. Below are SOME of his supporters who publicly regretted supporting the Nigerian leader in 2015.
DINO MELAYE: The Kogi Central senator is the first in our list. He began attacking the regime when the president attempted but unsuccessfully failed to foist his candidate on the 8th Senate. He was among the supporters of former Senate President Bukola Saraki who teamed up with lawmakers of the PDP to enthrone the leader of the eight National Assembly who could not secure another term in 2019.
Although he won the 2019 Senatorial election, Mr Melaye was later booted out through the judiciary. At a book launch in Abuja last year, he apologized to Jonathan for attacking his 2015 re-election bid.
NEF: The Northern Elders Forum which was one of those at the forefront attacking the Jonathan administration particularly over the Boko Haram insurgency recently regretted supporting Mr Buhari to power. Its spokesman, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated this while appearing on Arise TV in September.
INIBEHE EFFIONG: The Human Rights activist who hails from the same geo-political zone like the former president also took part in harshly criticising Jonathan. TODAY POLITICS recalled that hardly a week goes by without the lawyer planting articles critical of the PDP-led administration.
Mr Effiong in February 2019 claimed he was scammed into supporting the former military ruler he thought “was going to usher in a revolutionary leadership.”
OLAGUNSOYE OYINLOLA: Early this year the former Osun State governor joined the growing list of wailers. While lamenting in July, the politician who returned to the opposition PDP told BBC Yoruba that he has resorted to asking for God’s forgiveness for supporting the president in 2015.
FAKHRRIYYAH HASHIM: The vocal northerner last month admitted writing non-facts-backed article to support the candidacy of the president. The poet says she now regrets her action.
“In 2014, I wrote a very ignorant non-facts-backed article in support of @MBuhari’s bid for 2015 that regurgitated same campaign lies the APC rang through on security & economy,” she wrote on Twitter. “I have been wanting to pull it down but I decided against it, instead I will write a rebuttal to myself.
“I have never mourned over anything I’ve written in my life as much as that piece. I love my blog so much for its poems, mostly because it shows me how much I’ve grown as a poet – I started writing poetry and everything in 2014, such a late bloomer, yes.”
JOSEPH OGUNFUWA: The Babalaje of Remoland in Ogun State regretted supporting Mr Buhari. At a public lecture held to mark his 80th birthday in 2020, he said it was the worst action of his life.
”What I regret most in my life was the do or die campaign I did for you, Mr President, during the 2015 general election,” he said at the well-attended event in Sagamu October last year.
AMBYF: The All Middle Belt Youth Forum lamented in April that the president has betrayed the trust they vested on him. The North-Central group stated this through its national leader, Comrade Moses Odeh.
“This is not the Nigeria we bargained for in bringing in President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and gave him a second term in 2019,” Mr Odeh told Daily Independent in an interview.
Other NIGERIANS: Online cries of maladministration dominate various social media platforms, earning them the description of wailing wailers presidential spokesman Femi Adesina labelled them before pleading for reduced criticism of his principal.