Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu on Monday told a lie even he himself didn’t believe. In a response to former CPC chieftain Buba Galadima, who had averred in an interview with Sunday Trust newspaper that President Muhammadu Buhari would be deserted by 2019, Shehu said that the masses of Nigeria would stand by the president when he would seek re-election in 2019.
At present, almost everybody and everything are against Buhari: a collapsing economy, non-performance, disenchantment of fellow party members, crisis in APC leadership, and his seeming declining health.
What is closest to the truth is that there may be no general election in 2019. And if it does hold, the current APC will be a shadow of itself now. Already, the political gladiators of Nigeria are forming a new party that will be opposed to both the PDP and the APC.
A photo of Buhari at a rally in Ondo State last week is trending in the social media. Many have equated his emaciating body to the state of the Nigerian economy on his watch. If he runs in 2019, therefore, he may have to invent the stamina needed for him to criss-cross the length and breadth of the country.
The masses that Shehu talked about have been dying of famine and cursing the leaders of Nigeria for their plight. Across northern Nigeria where Buhari got his largest votes, many regret voting for him in 2015.
The Nigerian electorate are getting more enlightened by the day. Few still buy into the propaganda of the APC or of Nigerian politicians generally. A majority of young people are either unemployed or underemployed. Food prices have hit the roof.
Buhari and his party are running short of more lies to peddle. But by far the greatest impediment to Buhari 2019 is the economy that is not likely to be revived before then. The latest statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics show that the economy has had negative growth in the first three quarters of 2016. If there is anything to expect by 2019, it is economic depression.