When the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in Nigeria launched the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, they stressed the need for four more years for the septuagenarian.
Then the launch of the APC manifesto came up with #NextLevel hashtag signaling that the current administration had laid some ground work and was ready to build on its first term successes despite prevailing challenges.
Someway somehow, “four plus four” has in the last few months become a strong campaign slogan for APC members especially across social media platforms – Twitter and Facebook.
Four plus four principally drives home the point that Buhari deserves a mandate renewal with the expiration of his first mandate in February 2019. He came to power in 2015 beating the then incumbent Goodluck Jonathan.
Nigeria like most African countries operate a four-year presidential mandate usually allowing for a one-time extension.
The 4+4 slogan got an impetus when Buhari waved the sign during his recent budget presentation before the National Assembly. He put up his two hands with four fingers each in response to cheers from ruling party lawmakers.
Buhari sat in his seat with a grin on his face with the two speakers positioned behind him. Both men Bukola Saraki – Senate President and Yakubu Dogara – Speaker of House of Representatives, are currently in main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, having defected last year.
Last week after the launch of a women and youth presidential campaign team led by Mrs Aisha Buhari, the wife of the president waved the sign in a photo that went viral on Nigeria’s social media space.
Political campaigns across the country have seen party leadership and supporters waving the sign as the states galvanise support for the Buhari campaign.
The most recent four plus four photo shows Buhari with a state governor and another official in the pose.
Buhari is seeking to be only the second president to secure a successive mandate after Olusegun Obasanjo – who as an ally back in 2015 but now ardent critic of his.
Slogans are important for campaigns across the world, maybe more so for Africa’s most populous nation. Buhari is vying for another four years so that he can retire to his home state of Katsina specifically Daura.
The main contender seeking to thwart that dream is an ex-vice president Atiku Abubakar who was in the APC camp that won the 2015 election. He quit the party and returned to the PDP winning its primaries.
The February 2019 polls at the level of the presidency promises to be a crowded playing field but connoisseurs say it is a straight fight between Buhari and Atiku. Either way, Nigeria’s president will be a northerner till 2023 as things stand now.@alfaafrican
Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa