Presidency Alleges Plot to Aggravate Tension with Negative Portrayal of President

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Femi Adesina

Deji Elumoye

The Presidency yesterday raised the alarm about alleged plans by some individuals to embark on what it described as smear campaign against President Muhammadu Buhari, using some online newspapers and blogs, with a view to exacerbating tension in the country.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, had in December, 2020 issued a similar warning in which he alleged of plan to smear the image of the President and portray him as not being in charge of the affairs of the government.

In the fresh alarm raised yesterday, titled, ”Unrelenting plot to wage smear campaign against President Buhari,” Adesina said the campaign scheduled to be launched anytime soon through editorials and special investigative stories is designed to further exacerbate tension in the land, by portraying the President as pandering to ethnic and other primordial tendencies.

He claimed a specific medium had so far contacted some opinion leaders, especially those very critical of President Buhari and therefore urged Nigerians to be wary of those who are bent on stoking ethnic and religious unrest in the country.

The statement reads: “There is compelling reason to alert the nation of another orchestrated smear campaign against President Muhammadu Buhari, using some online newspapers and blogs. The campaign, scheduled to be launched anytime soon through editorials and purported special investigative stories, is designed to further exacerbate tension in the land, by portraying the President as pandering to ethnic and other primordial tendencies, contrary to his pledge to belong to all Nigerians.

”Impeccable security findings indicate that those behind the plot have procured online blogs and newspapers, which are to launch coordinated publications, alleging subjugation and suppression of a particular religion and ethnic groups. A specific medium has so far contacted some opinion leaders, especially those very critical of President Buhari.”

Adesina said part of the planned publication “is to make unwary readers believe that the President has continually used the powers of his office to shield and protect an ethnic group against crimes of murder, kidnappings, rape and banditry in the southern, middle belt and some northern states.

He said the publication would also refer Nigerians to a 58-page document, which chronicles purported atrocities of the ethnic group in the South since 2017, all of which it claims the Presidency has turned blind eyes to.

The Presidential spokesman said: “Again, the hatchet job will allege that the President has continued to place members of his ethnic nationality in sensitive positions, so as to confer undue advantage on them. This allegation is by no means supported with reasonable facts and figures.

”Just on Thursday, President Buhari, while meeting with the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), led by Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, restated his even-handedness on the issues of ethnicity and religion.”

Adesina quoted Buhari as telling the NSCIA thus: “The Federal Government under my leadership does not, and will not, allow religious prejudice or partisanship to influence any of its decisions and policies. It is my solemn decision to be fair and just to all segments of society. Those who are bent on stoking ethnic and religious unrest in the country remain deaf to reason, and impervious to reality. They are hell-bent on distorting reality, and Nigerians are urged to be wary of them. It is all about quest for power, and filthy lucre.”