It's official, President will seek re-election in 2019
It may have been the subject of speculation for months, but it's becoming clearer that Buhari will seek re-election in 2019
At least for now.
The Presidency has all but confirmed that Buhari's name will be on the ballot come the 2019 general elections.
It was a provoked revelation, but we'll take it.
The President's spokesperson, Garba Shehu, issued a strongly worded statement to media outlets this week with the disclosure that "Nigerians won't dump Buhari in 2019".
That's like saying: "Hey guys, we'll be asking you for votes again when our first term is up in 2019".
Shehu was reacting to a statement from Alhaji Buba Galadima, who is a former national Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
Galadima had said Nigerians will abandon Buhari come 2019 because the President has frittered all the goodwill he amassed in the run up to the 2015 elections.
Galadima also said all the political parties in the land will abandon Buhari come 2019.
“Definitely, I know that General Muhammadu Buhari will not want to run on the platform of any party because he has already cast aspersion on party politics and politicians. So we would try to find out on what platform he would contest if he wants to be president in 2019. On what vehicle he would ride, but definitely not on a political party,” Galadima said.
According to Galadima, the APC as a political party has been abandoned by Buhari.
“The party had shared invitation letters for meetings and it was aborted. You now have to find out who aborted those meetings. We only met once as the national caucus of the party. Let’s assume that the president doesn’t like the party executive, he’s now the president, he can find a way of easing them out.
“Have you ever seen in the history of Nigeria, where in the secretariat of the ruling party, water is disconnected, electricity is disconnected, salaries of aides and workers are not paid for six months? It’s shameful, it’s disgraceful and we claim to be in government. We are not saints.”
Galadima's declarations riled the Presidency so badly, Shehu was tasked to pen an equally furious response.
The Presidency described Galadima's comments as "utterly ridiculous".
“The 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", the statement read.
"The President is far from isolation and he enjoys very strategic relationship with ordinary Nigerians; the 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 up to ridicule," Shehu said.
The Presidency said Galadima had no right to speak for the suffering masses because he's a part of the corrupt elite Buhari intends to flush out of the system.
In his statement, Shehu added that President Buhari fell out with Galadima on principle.
The Presidency added that Galadima’s disagreement with Buhari started in 2011 "when a group within the party orchestrated an organisational 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."
Shehu's statement is the clearest indication yet, that even though he's barely into his second term as Nigeria's leader, Buhari and his camp will keep one eye on the re-election ballot and battles.
Pulse put calls through to Shehu and Laolu Akande who is the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity in the office of the Vice President, for a clarification on the statement from the Presidency.
None of the Spokespersons were gracious enough to pick up their phones.
At 5:16pm on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, Pulse sent out the following text message to Shehu:
"Could your statement about Nigerians not abandoning President Buhari in 2019 be interpreted to mean the President will seek re-election when his first term is up?"
At the time of filing this story, Shehu was yet to respond to the text message.
Our Editor also tweeted at Akande and Shehu for a response, but those Twitter mentions remain untouched.
With the Nigerian economy in crisis, voters are still torn on whether to hand Buhari another term in 2019 or not.
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