Babagana Kingibe rules himself out of presidential race in 2019 as long as Buhari is standing

FORMER foreign affairs minister and secretary to the federal government Alhaji Babagana Kingibe has ruled himself out of the 2019 presidential elections saying he will not stand against President Muhammadu Buhari in the pools.


Highly controversial, Alhaji Kingibe, 72, has been in the news of late after campaign posters declaring him a candidate were recently circulated in Abuja and other cities. He aspired to the presidency in 1991 under the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) but lost at the primaries and later became the running mate to late Alhaji Moshood Abiola who won the 1993 presidential election that was eventually annulled by then military dictator General Ibrahim Babangida.


Alhaji Kingibe, however, ditched Abiola in favour of the military, accepting the post of foreign minister in the administration of General Sani Abacha. When President Umaru Yar'Adua was elected in 2007, he appointed Alhaji Kingibe as the secretary to the federal government but had to sack him after about a year, accusing him of disloyalty.


Of late, it has been rumoured that Alhaji Kingibe has his eyes on Aso Rock, prompting critics like Chief Femi Fani-Kayode to come out and criticise him. According to Chief Fani-Kayode, Alhaji Kingibe is not only a serial betrayer but is also a die-hard northern oligarch, who passionately believes in the right of the Hausa-Fulani to dominate Nigeria.


Denying his alleged bid for the presidency, Alhaji Kingibe said he could not contest for the presidency with President Buhari in the ballot. He said President Buhari and his policies would rescue Nigeria from the accumulated decay, loss of moral compass and leadership failure.


Expressing his full support for the president, Alhaji Kingibe also expressed a lack of political ambition ahead of the 2019 elections or at any other time. He said the campaign posters were neither produced nor authorised by him and he had not discussed the purported aspiration with anybody.


Alhaji Kingibe said: “I am experienced enough in politics to know that you do not start a political campaign with posters without talking to anyone about your ambition. The phantom allegations and the pasting of posters are too striking to be coincidental and this is a miscalculated attempt to malign and defame me.”


He linked the circulation of the posters to a recent statement said to be written by some directors of the National Intelligence Agency to the House of Representatives Committee on Security and National Intelligence accusing him of wrongdoing. Alhaji Kingibe has been labelled as Nigeria's unofficial prime minister and the man who pulls the strings behind President Buhari's government.