The national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has declared as “fiction” and “fantasy” an online report that he expressed fears that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will stop President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid in 2019.
The report published on Thursday by an online platform reputed for promoting the fortunes of the PDP, was titled “I am afraid PDP will stop Buhari in 2019 – Tinubu”.
Tinubu has been widely acknowledged as the mastermind of the alliance between former opposition political parties that gave birth to the APC, which last year March, defeated the ruling PDP in the historic presidential elections.
Reacting to the report, a statement by the APC chieftain’s media office at the weekend said “The writer, Amako Nneji, concocted the latest work of political deceit”.
“No sane reporters would dare put their true names to this screed; it is pure libel. If the disciple of this libel truly believes in this account, we challenge him to visit Tinubu’s office or to announce where he can be found. Tinubu’s attorney will serve the writer with a complaint for libel. The writer will then have a chance to defend and explain himself in open court and before the public. If he is so sure of the fidelity of his tale, let him speak openly before us as to what he wants us to believe is the truth instead slinking about writing lies in the anonymous dark.
“The falsity of the article is patently clear in that it does not even comport with the minimal standards of journalism. The writer fails to divulge the date or the place the alleged statement was made. This omission is wilful. The writer does not state these basic facts because the meeting never happened; to give such information would make it even easier to prove his work is a lie. The writer has not seen Tinubu and has no idea where Tinubu was on any given day.
“Worse, the writer says Tinubu was speaking to newsmen. If so, why have no other newspapers carried this story? The answer is simple. There was no such meeting between Tinubu and several newsmen. Because the story is the figment of one awfully wounded.
“The story contains a long quote supposedly from Tinubu. There is no way a true journalist would have tried to transcribe this by hand. He would have taped it. We dare this journalist to produce the tape.
“The story falls in the genre of the hit-man tactics of the politically desperate. Clearly, the schemers behind this are minions of the collapsing PDP. Their party is falling apart before our eyes, with multiple defections by the day. They fabricated this story to discourage further defections and to sow discord in the APC. However, the discord will remain where it belongs: the PDP.
“Tinubu has never publicly commented on the defections of people from the PDP, much less making derogatory remarks about the phenomenon. In fact, if you check, he has welcomed many former PDP members into the APC. Tinubu is a democrat and a progressive. He believes that the APC is and shall always be opened to those who share its progressive beliefs and who are committed to a better Nigeria. The more people of like minds gather, the stronger the party and the more likely it is to achieve the objective of building Nigeria anew.
“The writer of this fable tries to bring discord between Tinubu and Buhari regarding 2019 election and the budget. The attempt will fail. President Buhari was elected less than a year ago. The challenges he inherited are many. We must all seek to help him do the great things he envisions. 2019 is such a long, far road away. Let 2019 take care of itself. Today presents enough challenges of its own. Those who want Nigeria to succeed should be more concerned with tackling the difficulties of today and not stirring up trouble based on what might happen tomorrow.
“For the record, Tinubu supports the government’s expansionary budget and has no qualms with its objectives and programmes. For the writer to say Tinubu complained about the figures is to pile lie upon lie.
“Whosoever wrote the story is serpentine. But their venom will not hurt Tinubu, Buhari or the APC. They are like the mad snake that mediated its own demise by biting itself”.