Nigeria: Buhari Dissociates Self From #istandwithbuhari Group

President Muhammadu Buhari at the 2019 budget presentation to the National Assembly
press release

The presidency has formally dissociated itself from the #Istandwithbuhari advocacy group and has demanded that the group immediately stop claiming any alliance with the Buhari Administration.

A statement by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, Friday, said the presidency also demanded that the persons behind the controversial #Istandwithbuhari group should stop using President Muhammadu Buhari's name and that of his wife, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari to promote themselves and their activities.

"Among other reasons, we have found it necessary to distance the Presidency from the #Istandwithbuhari group because its premature and ostentatious celebration of the present administration's achievements is totally inconsistent with President Buhari's philosophy of service with humility.

"While the present administration has indeed recorded significant successes in its priority areas of improving security across the nation, ending the Boko Haram insurgency, curbing official corruption and revamping Nigeria's economy, President Buhari is well aware that his government still has a lot of national challenges to overcome.

"The President prefers to give his fullest attention to addressing those challenges without the unsolicited and unwelcome distraction of untimely praise-singing from groups with dubious and questionable motives," the statement said.

#IstandWithBuhari, which formed just months into Mr. Buhari's tenure and began canvassing support for the president, has been enmeshed in controversies lately.

In early March, its national coordinator Mustapha Ramalan resigned saying the group had derailed from its original path.

"Having led the organization these past couple of weeks, I have reached a hard and inevitable decision of stepping down as its national coordinator with immediate effect," Mr. Ramalan said. "If I must lead the organization, I must be convinced more than anyone, on the path we chose for ourselves," he stated in his resignation letter sent to PREMIUM TIMES.

He told PREMIUM TIMES that he was not comfortable about how the group was going about the nine million-man march.

An associate of Mr. Ramalan, Abdullahi Aliyu, also told this newspaper that Mr. Ramalan had asked for the group's proposed nine million march in support of Mr. Buhari to be shelved but was overruled by the group.

"Mr. Ramalan is of the opinion that the nine million-man pro-Buhari march should be postponed because the government is still trying to pick up and hence should be given more time to justify the nine million-man march. Not this time," Mr. Aliyu said.

Earlier this week the group was also accused of receiving donations from the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, who had attended at least one of the group's solidarity rallies, and other government's agencies.

The director general of the group, Chinedu Okpalanma, in a post on Facebook, however denied the allegations.

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