The presidency says that some opponents of President Muhammadu Buhari who want to diminish his “stature” before millions of Nigerians who “love and adore” him have devised a new strategy.
A statement signed by Femi Adesina, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity said that the new plot involves the “utter fabrication of apocryphal statements” and ascribing it to the president.
According to the statement:
“An example is a fictive portion of the February 2015 lecture by the then Candidate Buhari at Chatham House, London. This is what is circulating now on social media: ‘What is the difference between me and those who elected us to represent them, absolutely nothing. Why should Nigerian President not fly with other Nigerian public? Why do I need to embark on a foreign trip as a President with a huge crowd with public funds? Why do I need to go for a medical trip abroad if we cannot make our hospital (sic) functional? Why do we need to send our children to school abroad if we cannot developed (sic) our university (sic) to compete with the foreign ones?’
“Fortunately, the Chatham House lecture of 2015 is in the public domain. The full text was published by many Nigerian newspapers, and is still available in their libraries and various websites. The concoction by haters and agents of disunity is not part of the text of the lecture at all.”
What we know:
- Newspaper and online records show that the comments were purportedly made by the then-APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari during his trip to the United Kingdom before the election. However it was not at the Chatham House. It was made on February 21st, 2015, to the Nigerian community in the UK, about five days before his big speech at Chatham House.
- So whereas the presidency is right that Buhari did not deliver the speech at Chatham House, it appears that he actually gave the speech.
Adesina denies it though. According to him, “the morbid minds that created the falsehood simply want to de-market and demean the President, having seen that defeating him in a free and fair electoral contest is a tall order. Therefore, they desire to instigate the electorate against him by creating statements that never existed, and attributing such to him… Bitter emotions stunt the soul and defile the mind. Those behind it will find out, eventually, that they are the ones swallowing poison, and expecting another person to die. They will realize the folly of their actions, to their own grief.”