Muhammadu Buhari was born on December 17, 1942 in Daura, Katsina State. His father was Hardo Adamu and his mother Zulaihat. He is the 23rd child of his father.

MILITARY CAREER

Buhari enrolled in the Nigerian Military Training College in 1962 (NMTC). NMTC would later be upgraded to an officer commissioning unit of the Nigerian Army and renamed Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA). He served as commander of the Secondary Infantry Battalion and appointed brigade major, second Sector, First Infantry Division from April 1967 to July 1967.

He participated in the Nigerian Civil War that last for almost three years (1967-1970)

Buhari Served as Governor of the North-Eastern State from 1975 to 1976. In March 1976, Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Buhari as the Federal Commissioner (position now called Minister) for Petroleum and Natural Resources. When the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was created in 1977 Buhari was also made its Chairman, a position he held until 1978.  It is on record that during his tenure as Commissioner, $2.8 billion allegedly went missing from the accounts of the NNPC in Midlands banks in the United Kingdom. In December 1983 he led a coup that ousted the democratically elected President Shehu Shagari from office. Barely two years after, his regime was ended through coup by Ibrahim Babangida

POLITICAL ANTECEDENTS

With the return of Nigeria to civilian rule in 1999, Buhari contested for the presidency in 2007 on the platform of All Nigerians Peoples Party (ANPP) and came second with 12,710,022 as against the winner Umaru Yar’Adua’s 24,456,140 votes. He founded the Congress for Progress Change (CPC) in the build-up to the 2011 elections and he contested on the platform of the party again for the President. He was defeated again, this time by Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He re-contested in 2015 for the same post on the platform of a coalition party called All Progressives Party (APC) and he won. His victory made him the first candidate in the history of the country to defeat an incumbent President.

STRENGTHS

The North-West is his stronghold. Though Buhari is an influential politician with cult following in the North, his influence is strongest in the Nort-West. Buhari is from Daura Katsina State, which is in the north-west geopolitical zone. He always banks on the votes from this region. Even in the past when he lost to other contenders, Buhari polled massive votes from this region. Official figures from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) show that the region has the highest number of registered voters for the 2019 general election. The North-West has 20,158,100 registered voters, making up 24% of the total number of registered voters, which is 84,004,084. Buhari will be hoping to win a considerable number of votes from here again. Kano, which falls in the north-west region, alone has 5.5 million registered voters.

There is the Lagos State/ Tinubu factor. Buhari’s running mate, Yemi Osinbajo is from the South-West. He was donated to the Buhari administration by his political godfather Bola Tinubu, who calls the shots in Lagos and is a staunch loyalist of the sitting President; he will do anything to ‘mop up’ the chunk of the 6.6 million expected votes from the state. Lagos, according to the numbers released by INEC, has the highest number of registered voters in the country.

There is also the Akpabio factor in the South-South. Godswil Akpabio, the former Governor of Akwa-Ibom State who recently defected to the APC, will want to prove a point to his new party and teach his former party, especially sitting Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, some lessons in politics. He will do anything to win Akwa-Ibom State for Buhari. He also has an ally in Adams Oshimohole; together they will face Nyesom Wike of Rivers and others from the region.

The Trader Moni is another. It was tagged as Federal Government Empowerment Scheme for petty traders and artisans, but it is believed in some quarters to be a vote-buying ploy that might I truth sway some of these petty traders to vote for the APC.

WEAKNESSES

The explosion of the integrity myth. Buhari rode to power in 2015 on the wave of a decent personality and impregnable integrity. Recent decisions taken by him at the helm of affairs have shown otherwise, thus putting the lie to Buhari’s 2015 selling point. Many will claim to have known him for who he truly is, but he may lose a massive number of votes for some the decisions he has taken in office.

Vote drought in the North-East. Buhari, who used garner a considerable number of votes from the North, might find it very hard to win in the northeast this time for two reasons. First their son, the Waziri of Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar, is also vying for the same post they used to support him for. Second, the menace of insurgency ravaging the region and which he promised to put an end too is still as disturbing as before.

The North-Central could revolt with their votes. With the incessant clash between farmers and cattle herders, Benue and some other states in the North-Central have become abattoirs of sorts, with the President showing little or no readiness to find lasting solution to the problem. Some will even say he has been tacitly supporting the herdsmen. This is also the region of David Mark, Bukola Saraki and Samuel Ortom. Winning in the zone will be a herculean task for the sitting President.

Selective anti-corruption war. Buhari has been fighting corruption by attacking the opposition. A villain becomes a saint regardless of the evidence against him once he defects to the ruling party. This method of fighting corruption has incurred the resentment of not a few number of the electorate and they may pass their vote of no confidence on him by voting him out of power come February 16.

Age and health status. Buhari is now over 76 years of age and every evidence shows that he is going senile. From forgetting the day he was sworn in as President to calling a governorship candidate a presidential and later ‘governortorial’ candidate, even slipping occasionally, the President has shown beyond doubt that he is not physically fit to retain the office. Don’t forget that Mr. President had once spent a total 172 days outside the shores of the country seeking medical recourse for an unknown ailment. Many believe the President is senile and needs some rest and they may vote against him.

Clannishness and nepotism. Most of the appointments made so far by the President have not been based on merit but on ethnic and other primordial considerations. Most of these appointments have gone to northerners. Votes from other zones may show their disenchantment with him by voting him out.

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