The head of communications for President Muhammadu Buhari’s reelection organization, Festus Keyamo, has said that the controversial reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina, fugitive former chairman of the Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms, cannot be used to criticise the president.
Mr Keyamo, who said this in the current edition of The Interview Magazine, added that the “Maina saga is a credit to president Buhari” and he would use it to campaign in support of the president, “because the president reacted promptly to the issue”.
Nigerians roundly criticised Mr Buhari when the Maina scandal first broke out.
Mr Keyamo also gave his views on whether his late boss, Gani Fawehinmi, would have supported the controversial reinstatement of Mr Maina and the reluctance of President Buhari to fire and prosecute former SGF, David Babachir and Ayo Oke, a former NIA boss.
“Where are all those people now? Are they in office? Deziani, of all story of sleaze, did she not remain in office till the end?” he asked, taking a jab at ex-president Goodluck Jonathan under whom petroleum minister Allison Deziani served. The former minister is currently facing corruption charges.
“People should not make silly comments in the public. The Head of Service, the Attorney general of the Federation, including the Minister of Internal affairs, they all appeared before the National Assembly.
“They told us in graphic terms, how these memos were raised. And these memos moved from one office to the other. All of these memos from HoS to SGF, minister to AGF, all of these, was there one to the chief of staff to the president? We should not be pessimistic or cynical for nothing. All of these memos that moved up and down, was there one to the president before the HoS was queried?” Mr Keyamo asked.
“…When there were reports that Maina had been recalled, it took the president less than 24hrs to order his sack. So, what is the criticisms; that the moment it became clear, it took less than 24hrs to sack him? So, I will not want to dance to the tune of the opposition that will keep repeating a sing song hundred times and make people believe the sing song.
“Maina cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be a point of criticism to the president. For me, the Maina saga is credit to the president. The Maina saga, I will use it to campaign. You will use it to criticise but I will use it to campaign. That is because the man reacted to issue of corruption and back-door handling of an issue when it came to his knowledge,” Mr Keyamo said.
PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported how Maina, who was in 2013 dismissed by the Federal Civil Service Commission following a recommendation by the Office of the Head of Service, was secretly reinstated as director in charge of human resources in the Ministry of Interior October 20, 2017. He is still on the run.