The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati has come under attack from the former Minister of Aviation in the Obasanjo administration, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, over the former’s criticism of former aides of Chief Obasanjo who have been attacking President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration lately.
In his reaction to Abati’s article published yesterday titled ‘The Hypocrisy of Yesterday’s Men’, Fani-Kayode disagreed with the presidential spokesman and went on to add that Abati “sought to ridicule and demean” those who served under former President Obasanjo.
The former minister said Abati’s article constituted a smear campaign and an attempt to intimidate him and his former colleagues, especially by the reference to the closing down of Port-Harcourt Airport under Obasanjo. He added that it was obvious that the Presidency was annoyed by the insistence on transparency in the way the nation’s foreign reserves were managed.
“Abati indulged in a response other than to say that, I ‘shut down Port Harcourt Airport for two years’ and ‘allowed grass to grow all over it.
“This is false. It is a classic case of disinformation coming from a man that is obviously suffering from a very low self-esteem. It is clear that Abati, who is a journalist, has forgotten the most important tenet of his profession which is that ‘facts are sacred and opinion is cheap,” he said.
He explained that the closure of the Port-Harcourt Airport was not deliberate, but borne out of the need to fix the runway which had been affected by the Sosoliso plane crash.
“Port Harcourt International Airport was closed on December 10, 2005, after the Sossolisso Air crash in which 100 people were killed. The crash affected the runway of the airport very badly and consequently, the then Minister of Aviation, Professor BabalolaBorishade closed it,” he said.