An aide of former governor of Jigawa State and presidential aspirant, Sule Lamido, has accused the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, of deliberately feeding the Nigerian public with falsehood.
In a statement on Monday, Umar Hadeja, the Coordinator of National Volunteers for Lamido, said Mr. Shehu was engaging in mischief bordering on denial and selective amnesia.
He was responding to the rejoinder by Mr. Shehu to criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress federal government by Mr. Lamido in an interview he granted Daily Trust newspaper after announcing his plan to seek the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2019 general elections.
Mr. Shehu had described the criticism of the anti-corruption war of the government by Mr. Lamido as “a reflection of the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the opposition in the country.
“It is only in Nigeria that a leader will divert money belonging to the public into his children’s account and then turn round to start pontificating on public morals, in the process subjecting the nation’s honest leadership to daily attacks based on falsehood.
“It is even worse that such a person, facing criminal prosecution, will start going round saying he wants to be President,” Mr. Shehu had stated.
But taking up defence of Mr. Lamido through his statement on Monday, Mr. Hadeja said it was Mr. Shehu who had chosen to misinform the public over the performance of the APC in government.
“Clearly, Garba’s attempted response to the said Sule Lamido interview is yet another classic example of the PR disaster and liability that he now represents for the Buhari administration.”
“Surely, we would care less for this misfortune of an appointee of Mr. President who is fishing and scavenging desperately for ‘stuff’ that would make him look useful in a job he clearly does not know how to do.”
“His brazen and intellectually lazy import-substitution mission for issues never raised in the interview in the effort to tar Alhaji Sule Lamido with a dirty brush is at best, mischievous, unprofessional and a damning verdict on Garba.”
Mr. Hadeja accused Mr. Shehu of failing to address “the facts” raised in the Sule Lamido interview.
He accused Mr. Shehu of falsely accusing Mr. Lamido of impugning the integrity of the nation’s judicial system and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), saying “the government is itself destroying” the two institutions.
“Where, for instance, did Garba see any reference to these institutions in the said interview? Did he at all, read the interview or in the classic case of playing the ‘Boss’, lazily rely on some subordinates who supposedly drew his attention to a publication he never sighted?
“And as if this was not shameful enough, he brazenly proceeded to blindly issue a ‘rejoinder’ to a publication he apparently knew nothing about. This is a further injury to the image, integrity and ethics of the journalism profession
“His usual habit of ignoring facts was manifest in his attempt to defend his party rather than the government’s confused approach to implementing the agenda it promised.”
Mr. Hadeja vowed that Mr. Lamido would not be “deterred, distracted or cowed by the shenanigans of the presidential spokesman.”
He said: “as a statesman and nationalist whose sole driving impetus is improvement in the material condition of the ordinary Nigerian citizen, as well as carving a place of high repute for Nigeria in the comity of nations, he is forging ahead with steely determination and singleness of purpose.
“Lamido will continue to speak truth to power and call out the APC government in all its numerous failings.”
“No amount of name-calling, falsehood, character assassination or intimidation will do the trick. Not from Garba Shehu, not from anyone else.”
“The APC government must shape up or ship out, or else expect the Sule Lamidos of this country and they are in the majority now, to continue to call it out.”
Mr. Hadeja alleged “confusion and lies, cross messaging and open confrontation among various officials of government even while brazenly engaged in corrupt practices of various kinds as widely reported in the media.
“This is worse than a calamity for a developing nation like ours.”
“Garba should encourage the government he serves to investigate those cases instead of chasing shadows and silhouettes”
Mr. Hadeja maintained that Mr. Lamido delivered his campaign promises to the people of Jigawa when he served as governor .
“Every visible productive project of stature dotting the entire landscape was initiated and completed by him.
“The essential Alhaji Sule Lamido is a quintessential leader who is and still loved by the people; among whom he lives to date.”