Human rights activist, Mr Festus Keyamo, SAN, has formally accepted to serve as the official spokesperson of the re-election campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying he elected to accept the offer for several reasons, including the fact that what matters in the present circumstance was not the age of the President but his integrity.
In a lengthy statement issued, Wednesday, Keyamo said: “There has also been much attempt to de-market the President using his age and health as pummelling tools, and as such raising the decibel in the clarion call for a young or younger President.
‘’Firstly, on the issues of age and health, it would be ungodly and outrageous for a mere mortal to assume the status of God Almighty to speculate on the longevity or strength of any human being. Even doctors have been proven wrong on so many occasions.
‘’It is a matter entirely in the hands of God. Our past presidents that died in office (Abacha and Yar’Adua) were in their prime. In fact, Abacha did not even show any sign of a failing health before he slumped and died.
‘’In Zimbabwe, the main opposition candidate for years, Morgan Tsvangirai, used the issue of age and health to campaign against President Mugabe, urging him to go and retire and rest.
‘’Yet, just a few weeks ago, Morgan Tsvangirai died at the age of 65 and Mugabe is still alive and kicking at the age of 94. Those are the mysterious ways of God Almighty. No human being should even use that as a campaign gimmick. That person would be courting the wrath of God Almighty.
“In addition, no one can argue that age has anything to do with the required integrity to be the President of a country. I also firmly believe that our value systems in politics and the society have been so damaged pre-2015, that a firm and experienced hand is needed to reset our collective psyche before we can set sail again.”
He said he was indeed consulted before the announcement. “Upon the offer, I wholeheartedly and proudly accepted the challenge to do this for the good of my country and for posterity. For in President Buhari I have found an approximation of the lofty values I cherish and have fought for all my life.”
According to him, the ultimate aim of every struggle is not really to enthrone a perfect, flawless system.
“Only the starry-eyed, younger ones think such is possible. That is Utopia. Rather, the ultimate aim of the struggle is to enthrone a government (yes, even with the normal human flaws) that is focused, determined and fiercely opposed to the unscrupulous wheeler-dealers in the society, committed to protecting the interests of the down-trodden, the weak and vulnerable”, he added.
“One of the obvious ways to do this is to ensure that what belongs to all is not cornered by a few; and if they do so, to ensure that they are made to account and brought to justice.
‘’I can boldly say that no government in the history of Nigeria has recovered so much looted funds as that of President Muhammadu Buhari. The fact that this Government has clearly chosen this path in protecting the masses of our country (as unpleasant as it has been to some) is one of the many reasons why I am so proud and bold about my support for the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“In doing this, I take a cue from my revered late boss, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN who mentored me. Throughout his career, he also consistently and fiercely engaged every government in Nigeria and suffered as a result. Guess what? ‘’The only government he fully supported throughout his life time was that led by General Muhammadu Buhari in 1984 – 1985; and that was to the chagrin of some of his professional colleagues and fellow “radicals.
‘’However, he saw what they did not see at that time, because when that government was overthrown by General Babangida, what followed was the worst era in our history in terms of institutionalizing corruption and political chicanery in Nigeria. In the 2007 Presidential election, my late boss again endorsed General Buhari in the following words: “When we talk of anti-corruption war, there is no way you will exclude General Buhari. I don’t want to hear what a political party is going to do, whether ANPP or PDP or NDP or which other political organization. Tell me who is leading the party, tell me who is leading the government, that’s my concern. It’s a matter of leadership. This is a serious election, very serious one”.
“Some of those same forces and interests that saw the back of General Buhari in 1985 are still very much around with us. You can hear their voices getting louder of late, preaching hate and toiling hard to incite the people against the President. They want us to go back to our old ways, disguised as if they genuinely care for the masses of this country. When you look at the profile and ignoble antecedents of these characters – the emergency heroes, some of us have no option but to undertake this role we have been called upon to assume just to ensure that they do not succeed in their selfish enterprise.
“For all I have said above, my convictions about this job are deep and well thought-out. Given my background, it is clear that I cannot be a sycophantic rabble-rouser, looking for some personal gains,”