General Muhammadu Buhari, the popular presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), will return to Nigeria on Friday, following nearly 10 days in London on a campaign break. He had campaigned in 35 states before traveling out of the country.
Buhari, whose prolonged absence fueled a festival of negative rumors from his opponents, is reportedly in great health. He responded to those challenges in one television interview by challenging his detractors to a road race, saying he would like to see how long they can last against him.
A source in his camp said General Buhari stubbornly stuck to his decision to rest for 10 days after the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) postponed the elections, which were initially scheduled for February 14th.
A campaign team member told SaharaReporters that apart from his highly successful outing at the famous Chatham House last week where Buhari gave a powerful speech about Nigeria’s democratic hopes and challenges, he remained in in an apartment in London where he received visitors and friends.
The source further stated that Buhari’s holiday break has enabled the APC to conserve its meagre resources to enable the party cope with campaign finance requirements. Since the postponement of the elections two weeks ago, President Goodluck Jonathan and his People’s Democratic Party have spent a largesse of close to $200m as gifts to traditional rulers, religious groups, youths and students, as well as on amorphous groups that are pursuing a variety of legal challenges towards getting Buhari disqualified from the race. A sizable portion of the money was dedicated to discrediting the chairman of Nigeria’s electoral commission, Attahiru Jega. The administration is known to be considering getting him out of office for refusing to bow to its wishes. Mr. Jonathan, along with former dictator Ibrahim Babangida, is also known to be considering putting into play an Interim National Government, rather than lose the presidency to someone who will look into the records.
It is understood that last night, the United States and the European Union put their feet down on the issue of the Professor Jega, threatening to send President Jonathan to the International Criminal Court if anything goes wrong with Nigeria as Jonathan tries to tinker with the election outcomes.
APC sources said on Tuesday they had not decided on what form Buhari’s return might take on Friday, as some people have suggested a tumultuous party.