The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Special Duties, Mallam Ya’u Darazo has urged Nigerians, especially members of the All Progressives Congress, to ignore the malicious attempt by the opponents of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to misrepresent what he told party leaders and delegates in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Thursday.
Darazo, in a statement he signed in his personal capacity as supporter of Tinubu’s presidential ambition, noted that the distortion of what the frontline presidential aspirant said was a dubious attempt to cause discord between him and President Buhari.
The Presidential aide said he was speaking for himself as a member of the Tinubu campaign team.
“Let me start with a disclaimer. I am issuing this statement in my personal capacity. This is very important before mischief makers start attributing it to some other persons.
“For the avoidance of doubts, I am a supporter of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I, therefore, belong to the team assiduously working for Asiwaju’s 2023 Presidential project. On his mandate I stand!!”
While addressing party delegates and supporters in Abeokuta, Tinubu recalled his contribution to the formation of APC and how his support made it possible for Buhari to be elected President in 2015 having lost in three previous attempts in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
Darazo noted in his statement that President Buhari could see through the mischief having being a victim of misrepresentation himself in the past, adding that no ill-motivated plot could destroy the relationship between Buhari and Tinubu.
“In the last 48 hours or so the media space has been polluted by the odious breath of mischief makers who mispresented Asiwaju’s speech with the sole aim of planting discord between him and President Muhammadu Buhari. In their mischievous mind, that would earn them added advantage in the primary for the Ticket of the APC.
“I have a message for them. They have failed woefully. They should not take Nigerians for granted; Nigerians are wise enough. Let the mischief makers note that, good and purposeful leadership is not on the same page with mischief. It’s good that Nigerians know them early enough. It’s very clear that their purpose of seeking leadership is not service driven.
“I was with Asiwaju in Abeokuta among other good people of Ogun State when he delivered the speech in question. It was in Yoruba language. It was later translated to me – which I found quite acceptable and politically relevant to the audience and even beyond. Truth is sacred. If the mischief makers think that by mispresenting Asiwaju’s statement they will get the sympathy of the President, they have failed again – and failed woefully.
“President Buhari is not a stranger to media mischief. He is a veteran. He passed through it. He suffered from it like no other leader in this country. When he sees media mischief, he would know it; certainly, like this one against Asiwaju”.
Citing examples of how President Buhari had been unfairly misrepresented in the past just to damage him politically, Darazo revealed that Buhari was presented to Nigerians as a religious bigot when he addressed a Muslim event in Sokoto in 2002.
“Let me for now give only three examples. Firstly, few years ago, President Buhari delivered an address in Hausa language to a Muslim event in Sokoto. He urged Muslims to actively participate in politics, particularly at the local levels and not only that, but they should also present some of their best to improve the quality governance at the local government and states assembly levels.
“The mischief makers went to town propagating that General Buhari, as he was then addressed, had urged Muslims to vote Muslims only. Their mission like this one on Asiwaju was to stop General Buhari’s success by putting his opponent on an added advantage.
“Secondly, also some few years back in an election of a certain constituency in Kaduna State, members of the defunct ANPP (All Nigeria Peoples Party) in that constituency mobilised themselves to protect their votes against the serial onslaught and rigging machine of the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party). At the end of the day, PDP had no alternative but let INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) declare ANPP candidate as winner.
“After the declaration, the people came to see General Buhari. He addressed them in Hausa language, and humorously quoted the Hausa proverb regarding the baboon and the dog – one defending his life and the other determined to have a meal. Again, the mischief makers went to town misinterpreting his speech, the same way they are now doing against Asiwaju. They said General Buhari was mobilising northerners for bloody and violence election. Again, they wanted to put General Buhari on disadvantage against the PDP candidate.
“And thirdly, as far back as 1984 when General Buhari was the Head of State, some elements within the system, who were against his programmes and therefore determined to discredit him, went on to harass late Chief Awolowo and late Sheikh Mahmud Gumi, after which they went into town mischievously propagating that the Head of State had concluded arrangement to detain and humiliate them. Curious enough, some of these elements of the 1984 project are still around. They are very active members of the PDP and are opposing all what President Buhari stood for. These powerful elements are said to have recruited agents within the APC to do two projects for them – ensure that APC produce a weak candidate that will give PDP a walkover, and ensure that APC produce a Northern candidate so that they will turn round and accuse the President as a Northern irredentist who denied shift of power to the south”.