The presidency on Sunday night hit back at a number of opinion articles and a stringent newspaper editorials claiming President Muhammadu Buhari was not in control of his administration.
The presidency in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, said several of the comments disguised as objective criticism were in reality merely speaking the language of the opposition “who ruined the country during their 16 years of corruption on an industrial scale.”
Shehu said: “As many detractors have done lately, these ‘influencers, ‘celebrated columnists’ and ‘editorial comments’ do no more than endorse the opposition’s utterly wrong and fallacious position that the president is not in charge of his government.
”Sometimes, we are forced to wonder whether some writers are mindful of the implication of words for the strategic and territorial interests of the nation.
“An entrenched culture of dissent in our country is not something that anyone, not least a Buhari presidency wants to stamp down.
“The fact that these baseless and appallingly mischievous attacks can freely be aired is itself evidence of the right to freedom of expression prevailing in the country today.
“Whether it is Ibrahim Magu, Godswill Akpabio, NDDC, NSITF, and the others, Nigerians are bound to hold differing opinions, write letters, opinion columns, editorials and even stage lawful protests.
“What is sometimes worrisome is that several of these comments, disguised as objective criticisms are merely speaking the language of the opposition-the people who ruined the country during their 16 years of corruption on an industrial scale.
“These detractors pick up isolated issues like the ones in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and incidents of crime and corruption which have been with the country for years, and without any serious effort to uncover them, paint them a phenomena orchestrated and happening because President Buhari’s administration has decided to pursue cases of suspected wrongdoing in the anti-corruption agency, pension funds, NDDC, and other government agencies.”
He, however, added that the Buhari government was the first to point out the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by the EFCC leadership would cause the administration.
The presidential aide added: “The question to ask is: did they expect the president to draw a curtain over these suspected scandals by not ordering audits and investigations? And for them to turn around to accuse him of a cover-up?
“To do a cover-up and not order audits and investigations as the president did would amount to a historic betrayal of the mandate and the faith placed in him by the Nigerian people.”
He, therefore, maintained that President Buhari’s integrity, uprightness and probity were intact and well known.
“Let us remind these so-called editorial writers that ECOWAS, Africa Union and the international community at large recognized President Buhari as Champion of the Anti-Corruption fight in Africa,” Shehu concluded.
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