Barely two years into his first term, the Presidency on Monday confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari would contest for a second term in office at the expiration of his current mandate in May 2019.
It also dismissed comments that it would be a lonely walk for the President, a development expected to serve as a punishment for perceived bad governance.
The Presidency was replying to a statement credited a former member of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Alhaji Buba Galadima that Nigerians would abandon Buhari should he choose to seek re-election.
In a strongly-worded statement, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said the “suggestions that the masses would desert President Buhari in 2019 was unfounded and utterly ridiculous.”
“Ordinary Nigerians are the backbone of his mandate and the only reason he ran for the office is to protect them against the rapacious merchants of corruption, who have held Nigeria back for decades. Galadima’s calculation and prediction are utterly confused and misleading,” Shehu said.
According to the presidential spokesman, “the masses are solidly behind Buhari because he is not stealing their money and their future. ‘
’President’s enormous goodwill remains ever strong because the people are convinced the President is acting in their best interest, despite the temporary unintended consequences of reforms.”
Suggesting vendetta and strong animosity against the person and the government of Buhari, Shehu spoke of an age-long face-off between both men in their CPC days, revealing that it was the reason Buhari discarded the likes of Galadinma in the 2015 elections he ran and won.
He urged Galadima to retire to his constituency and stand an election if he still enjoyed the goodwill of his people.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is far from isolation. He enjoys a very strategic relationship with ordinary Nigerians. This relationship is as solid as the proverbial rock.
‘’If Buba Galadima thinks that because he has no role and no job in this government that means President is isolated, he is putting himself to ridicule.
“Galadima cannot speak for the masses as far as their steadfast loyalty to Buhari is concerned. While acknowledging that Galadima was entitled to advance his own political agenda, Malam Garba said Galadima didn’t have the right to decide for ordinary voters.
“Buba Galadima’s disagreement with President Buhari was based on principle. He explained that President Buhari is committed to level-playing field and would not want anyone to link his name to injustice.” “Galadima’s disagreement with Buhari started in 2011 when a group within the party, orchestrated an organizational mess by which the CPC embarked on the imposition and substitution of candidates for cash payments at the expense of those duly and democratically elected.
“Muhammadu Buhari was embarrassed by the incidents and complaints about the imposition and substitution of candidates, adding that he, as a democrat, would not suppress the will of the people to please selfish interests. Consequently he dispensed with the service, such as they are, of Buba Galadima; ran and won the 2015 Elections without them. Let Buba Galadima go to his constituency, stand for election and see what will happen to him”, Shehu said.