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Ministerial nominee: I tweeted out of anger; apologises

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One of the ministerial nominees, Mr. Bosun Tijani has apologised for his controversial tweet, which is widely believed to have disparaged Nigeria. He used the opportunity of his screening by the Senate on Saturday to explain the reason for the content.

In the old post, the techpreneur tweeted that he did not appreciate the Nigerian passport and Nigeria as a nation.

Many of the nominee’s old tweets about President Bola Tinubu had gone viral since Wednesday when his name emerged on the ministerial.

Tijani, a tech guru, made this known while answering a question posed to him by Senator Fatai Buhari  when he appeared at the hallowed Red Chamber for screening on Saturday.

Senator Fatai Buhari (APC, Oyo North) read Tijani’s tweet: “Nigeria is a bloody expensive tag to have against your name. Leave patriotism for a minute; that tag is a bloody waste of energy. A second foreign passport isn’t sufficient to clean that sin”.

The senator then asked: “Is that still your position or have you changed your mindset, Nigerians need to know”?

Tijani told the lawmakers that he made that tweet out of frustration over what he experienced while trying to obtain a visa from China.

He said that he had been at the forefront of patriotism through the works for the Nigerian youths. The tech guru said: “Thank you, for asking that question, Senator Buhari and I will want you to listen to me as if I am your son because I will speak from my heart because everything I say today can be proved.

“I have spent the last 15 years of my life going across the world looking for people to support people who believe they can use technology to uplift this world.

“Every time you get to the lobby of my offices, you’d find an artwork, and embedded in the centre of the artwork is the Nigerian flag”.

He further said: “In 2019, sequel to what I did with Google, the business I do with young people requires that they raise money and their ability to raise money relies on investors from abroad and I did everything possible to ensure that I built an office that is fully domiciled in Nigeria.

“In the technology space, people hardly domicile their businesses in Nigeria but I domiciled my business in Nigeria”.

Tijani said that in 2019, “we decided to improve Nigeria’s opportunity to be able to raise more funds for Nigeria and we needed to do a tour of the whole world and we didn’t just want to do it as Nigeria but as Africa.

“So, I opened up 15 slots; this whole trip was paid for by Google, and nothing came to me. We gave eight of the slots to Nigerians because I have a second citizen which is a British passport.

“I was in the UK and I was trying to apply to the Chinese embassy because I do not need a passport to other countries of the world.

“I got to the Chinese embassy and they told me that it would take two days to get my visa and I was very excited”.

He explained that things went south for him the moment he mentioned that his business was based in Nigeria and it was at that point that he made the tweet.

Tijani recalled: “They asked me what I do and that I needed to provide my pay slip. I told them I run my business and they requested my bank account statement, I told them my business is fully domiciled in Nigeria.

“The moment I told them my business was domiciled in Nigeria, the young man told me they had to do a check on me which would take a minimum of two weeks.

“In anger, I tweeted what you read, which was paraphrased wrongly, and now I have a taste of what the youths do to you as well. The tweet you read is just the first part of what you read”.

Tijani pleaded with the lawmakers that he was only a victim of misinformation.

He read the second part of the tweet: “For us to lift this country, we must find a way to correct our image to project a positive image because I don’t want my two young girls to grow up to experience the same thing”, and explained: “What they have given you is the first screenshot which is convenient for them”.

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