Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The presidency has dismissed suggestions that the masses will desert President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 as unfounded and utterly ridiculous.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, in a statement said ordinary Nigerians were the backbone of Buhari’s mandate and the only reason he ran for the office was to protect them against the rapacious merchants of corruption, who had held Nigeria back for decades.
Reacting to the allegations by a former Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) member, Alhaji Buba Galadima, that Buhari would be abandoned by the people in 2019, Shehu said Galadima’s calculation and prediction was utterly confused and misleading.
He said the masses were solidly behind Buhari because he was not stealing their money and their future.
He said: “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.”
According to him, Buhari is far from isolation.
He said Buhari enjoyed a very strategic relationship with ordinary Nigerians.
He said: “This relationship is as solid a 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.”
He said Galadima cannot speak for the masses as far as their steadfast loyalty to Buhari was concerned.
While acknowledging that Galadima was entitled to advance his own political agenda, Shehu said Galadima didn’t have the right to decide for ordinary voters.
He recalled that Galadima’s disagreement with Buhari was based on principle. He explained that Buhari is committed to level playing field and would not want anyone to link his name to injustice.
The presidential media aide said 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.
He said 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.
He said: “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.”