Former Presidential spokesperson apologises over Villa security incident

Segun Adeniyi
Olusegun Adeniyi [Photo: FridayPosts.Com]

Former Presidential spokesperson, Segun Adeniyi, has apologised for his Twitter comment after security operatives denied him entry into the Villa for an official event for failing to provide an invitation card.

“Given the fact that a story has been generated out of the issue, I want to apologise to the security man who turned me back since the consensus is that he was simply doing his job,” Mr. Adeniyi said in a tweet on his handle.

Mr. Adeniyi said he had received an invitation on Monday from the senior special adviser to the President on Media, Garba Shehu, to attend the presentation of a book documenting the achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. 

The event was scheduled for 11 o’clock in the morning at the banquet hall of the presidential villa on Thursday.

He said in the morning of Thursday, he received a text message from Mr. Shehu notifying him of a shift  in the time for the event to noon.

However, Mr. Adeniyi said when he was ready to go for the event, he discovered he had misplaced the invitation card, and searched everywhere and could not find it.

By 12.02 p.m, he said he sent Mr.

Shehu a text message to inform him he could not find his card, requesting him to leave his name with the security at the villa gate.

Unfortunately, he said, he did not get any reply from the presidential aide as his telephone line did not connect.
 
“By the time I got to the Banquet Hall gate, before the security men could ask me any question, I explained that I was invited by Mallam Garba Shehu, and that I misplaced my card, while efforts to reach him failed. 

“I also identified myself as a journalist and former presidential spokesman. After consulting with his colleagues, the security man said I could drive into the premises, and I did.
  
“Inside, as I moved to enter the hall, I did the same to the security man in charge. I explained the challenge I had, and identified myself. The guy greeted me warmly saying, “I knew your face is familiar” and he was actually very friendly. But, when I asked whether I could go in, he told me: “Sir, without a card, I cannot allow you to enter,” Mr. Adeniyi explained in a write-up published on his Twitter page.
 
With the security man’s refusal of his entry into the Hall Mr. Adeniyi said he turned back and was about leaving when two other security men who were not privy to the earlier discussion wanted to know what the issue was. 

Despite their intervention, he  said the first security man still refused to allow him go into the  hall.

Having turned back and left the Villa, Mr. Adeniyi tweeted about the incident on his Twitter handle, @olusegunverdict: “Garba Shehu invited me for book launch at Villa.

Misplaced IV. Got to villa, recognised by security men but one insisted I couldn’t go on. Real shame! Going back…”

The tweet has sparked off serious controversy among some Nigerians who expressed diverse views about the incident.

While some criticised the security operatives for their conduct, most of the opinions blamed Mr. Adeniyi for disregarding official protocol and expecting to be allowed entry to the Villa without an invitation card.

In his subsequent reaction, Mr. Adeniyi issued a clarification on his Twitter handle to explain what really happened at the Villa.

In the clarification, he apologised  to all parties concerned in the incident, including the security men at the Villa.

“In view of the controversy that my tweet earlier today has generated on social media, I want to make the following clarifications.

“However, I have read all the comments that followed my tweet on the issue, and while I have responded to some, I want to make it clear that the intention behind it was not to embarrass anybody, or to show ‘bigmanism’, but rather that when people are in sensitive positions, they also make judgment calls. And the way they do that matters. 

“Perhaps, if the whole incident had ended between me and the security guy without any third party attempting to mediate, I would not have queried his professionalism, because he was doing his job. 

“The whole issue, for me, boiled down to his blunt refusal to allow others mediate by offering a solution that would not, in any way, have compromised him or his job.

“Even at that, given the fact that a story has been generated out of the issue, I want to apologise to the security man who turned me back since the consensus is that he was simply doing his job (even when he could have done it differently without compromising the rationale for it). 

“I also want to apologise to Mallam Garba Shehu, because it is not my intention to embarrass him.

Ordinarily, I am very deliberative in what I post and my intention was not to draw any unnecessary attention to myself or say an exception should be made for me at the expense of security or established process,” Mr. Adeniyi said.

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