•Accuses ‘political elements’ of sponsoring damaging stories against president
By Omololu Ogunmade
The presidency yesterday alleged plans by some individuals to embark on what it described as smear campaign against President Muhammadu Buhari to portray him as a leader that is not in charge of the country’s affairs.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement, said the alleged plans, to be fully implemented in the days ahead, had already started “from a procured offshore medium.”
The presidency was obviously reacting to the editorial of Financial Times of London, in its December 22 edition, which alleged that Buhari is not in charge of the country, citing overwhelming insecurity involving kidnapping, killings and maiming in virtually all parts of the country.
According to Financial Times, Nigeria’s worsening insecurity indicates that the country is fast becoming a failed state.
But Adesina accused the president’s detractors of spending money to procure stories in the media with unsubstantiated claims and consequently sow seeds of discord in the country.
He urged Nigerians to discern the kind of stories they embrace in the online media, saying Buhari is determined to serve the country to the best of his ability as evident in the provision of infrastructure, fight against insecurity and corruption by the government.
The statement read: “The general public is hereby alerted to a smear campaign in the works against Mr. President and his office, by disgruntled political elements in the country, who have been shopping for pliant online media that will serve as accomplices in their nefarious act.
“The game plan is to launch orchestrated campaign of calumny in the days ahead, in which President Muhammadu Buhari would be portrayed as not being in charge of the country, a narrative already started from a procured offshore medium by the instigators.
“Money and other attractive inducements are being dangled before the online media, and some of them are already complicit, cooking up stories with jejune and unsubstantiated allegations, all to sow seeds of discord and discontent in the country.
“Nigerians are urged to be wary and discerning in what they consume as news and special reports from such online media, as they are in cahoots with agents of destabilisation, seeking ultimate political gains.
“President Buhari remains focused and single-minded in his determination to serve the country to the best of his ability, bringing change to different facets of our national life. This is already evident in infrastructure as seen in roads, rail, bridges, airports, and many other strides round the country. Agriculture is another worthy testimonial.
“The fight against corruption, insecurity, and retooling of the economy also proceed apace, and the Buhari Administration will not be distracted, and will continue to serve with heart and might, irrespective of all shenanigans.”