By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council has said that President Muhammadu Buhari never asked supporters to prepare for violence as was being insinuated by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
In a statement issued by Director, Strategic Communications, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, the party described as outright falsehood and scaremongering the attempt by the main opposition party to portray the president as one instigating people to violence.
It said that the Hausa word the President used in Zamfara, which had been taken out of context, was “fitna”, meaning distress, trial, rebellion or uprising, affliction, temptation.
The campaign team said what the President meant was actually a joke but deliberately taken out of context.
“Typical of the PDP and Atiku’s Campaign team, they have continued in their favourite pastime of peddling falsehood, scaremongering and misinformation. This time, the candidate of the main opposition himself, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, sensing a comprehensive defeat this Saturday and out of frustration, threw caution to the wind in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State on Monday, February 11, 2019, when he alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari called for violence when he campaigned in Zamfara State,” it said.
The Buhari team further explained that the President had always commented on this joke in his private conversations.
The statement said: “Nothing can be farther from the truth. The Hausa word the President used in Zamfara, which has been taken out of context, is “fitna”.
Incidentally all our Hausa language scholars have said the word means different things: it means distress, trial, affliction or temptation. It can also be used to describe rebellion or uprising.
In this case, President Buhari was actually weighing in on the joke told very often of recent in the North that due to the rice boom, farmers have embarked on pilgrimage and the marrying of more wives. So, what the President meant was actually a joke deliberately taken out of context: he simply told the crowd to ensure they eat very well because of the rice boom before they can contemplate giving in to those temptations.
“Even in some private meetings with our campaign team, the President has always commented on this joke. Sadly, out of desperation, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has decided to peddle falsehood.
“We urge Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to realize that it is God Almighty that gives power and takes power. He should not use his palpable desperation to return to power (in order to sell Nigeria to his “friends” and to make them rich) to set this nation ablaze by outright falsehood”.