Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, national chairman of the party, in a chat with Independent said he is standing by his earlier statement that the party leadership will beg President Buhari to contest the 2019 election irrespective of his health situation.
According to him, if the president accepts to contest “that will be the greatest sacrifice he will be making for the progress, growth and stability of this country and Nigerians will be the ultimate beneficiary of that decision”.
The president recently returned to the country after over 40 days in the United Kingdom where he was treated for an undisclosed ailment. Despite several denials by aides of the president and ministers that he was hale and hearty, the president during a meeting he had with government officials upon his arrival said he had never been that sick in his life.
“I couldn’t recall being so sick since I was a young man, including in the military with its ups and downs”, he had said.
Though he has since resumed duties, the president also hinted that he may be going back to the UK for more treatment in few weeks.
“I am feeling much better now. There may, however, be need for further follow up within some weeks,” he stated.
Independent also gathered that doctors attending to President Buhari had advised him not to consider seeking re-election in 2019 giving the rigours of electioneering and the challenges he will face if he eventually wins.
Odigie-Oyegun, however, added that while he and other patriotic Nigerians will persuade the president to run, “the decision on whether to seek re-election or not is ultimately his”.
He said as a retired military officer, President Buhari is not afraid to sacrifice his health for Nigerians, saying that is the orientation he has had all his life even as a military officer.
He added that it is imperative for the president to seek re-election because the myriads of challenges facing the country cannot be solved even in eight years.
“The President Buhari I know is not afraid to sacrifice his health for the progress of this country. On my part and other progressive-minded Nigerians who mean well for this country, we will beg him to run again in 2019 because there is still a lot of work to be done.
“Four years, even eight years is not enough to redress the damages that have been done over the years. However, the ultimate decision is his but Nigerians will be the greatest beneficiaries if he accepts the challenge”, he said.