Tam David-West, professor of virology who is a strong ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, is not fully in support of the president’s reelection bid.
David-West, a former minister of petroleum, has earned himself enemies for defending Buhari.
But in an interview with The SUN, the elder statesman highlighted the strength and weaknesses of the president.
He also tackled former President Olusegun Obasanjo, ex-military President Ibrahim Babangida and Theophilus Danjuma, former minister of defence, who have been critical of Buhari in recent times.
Obasanjo and Babangida have asked Nigerians to vote out Buhari in 2019 but David-West said Nigerians are no fools to heed their advice.
“Do I want Buhari to win second term? Yes and no. Yes, because I don’t associate myself with the theatricals of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida, and Theophilus Danjuma,” he said.
“If people think he is doing well, they will vote for him. If people think he has not done well, they won’t vote for him. But immediately you have people, who are professional letter writers, trying to make sure, who are you to tell Buhari not to seek second term? You once sought third term. He who goes to equity must have clean hands.
“Obasanjo is not qualified at all to tell Buhari not to seek second term. When you were seeking third term, they wanted to change the constitution for you. And my answer is no because things must improve.
“I know that within few months, a government can make purposeful impact. Right now, why I am saying no is that I ask myself as a supporter of Buhari: Are the people happy? A good friend is not one who praises you, but the one who tells you the truth. There is no question that people are not happy.
“There is no question that the economy is not doing well. There is no question that a lot of people are suffering. So, if he wants to run for a second term, it will be on his ticket. Nobody imposed Buhari on Nigerians. People voted for him. Get the ticket first and when you take the ticket, let the people be happy. Where there are areas of discontents and concerns, try to take active steps to correct them so that you can give greater happiness to greater number.
“When Nigerians are happy, they will vote for you. One million Obasanjo cannot stop them. When Nigerians are happy, one million Danjuma and Babangida cannot stop them. They will vote for you. Nigerians are not fools. When you are doing well, they will vote for you.”
He also kicked against the federal government’s plan to establish cattle ranches across the country.
The professor said the implementation of that idea could be misinterpreted as though the president has an hidden agenda.
“In the first place, I am surprised that the government has not seen the implications. If I am Buhari, I will be the last person to agree to ranch in non-ranching areas,” he said.
“First, you were accused that you wanted to Islamise Nigeria and it is completely false. If you now allow different states in different parts of the country, to establish special places for ranching, would people not say it is a means of establishing colonies for Islamic groups?
“The implications will be very grave. In any case, I am so surprised and sad. When I was a child in Port Harcourt, we had all these cattle ranchers; we would even play with them. Nobody had trouble. I still believe some politicians are behind all these. But to establish special areas for ranching in different parts of the country is a dangerous move to make. People may misinterpret it that he wants to Islamise, especially when it was quoted that Uthman Dan Fodio, that led the Jihad of 1804, said he wanted to deep Quran in the sea in Lagos, coming from Sokoto.
“So, you have to be very careful when this kind of a thing comes, so that people will not misinterpret it. I don’t believe that establishing special areas for ranching will bring solution. It won’t bring any solution. When the grasses in the ranches finish, what do you do?.