The Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi says there is no truth behind a report that claimed he was stopped from entering Aso Rock Villa to see President Muhammadu Buhari.
He also denied taking Acting National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Victor Giadom to see the president when he was allegedly turned back.
The governor made the clarification in a Wednesday statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode.
Fayemi blamed Senator Babafemi Ojudu, a Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, for spreading the “false” story.
He explained that a newspaper acting in league with Ojudu wrote on Wednesday that he was stopped from entering the Villa late Tuesday to see the president.
The governor said that contrary to the report, he saw the president in the afternoon in company of his Kebbi, Plateau and Jigawa counterparts.
He said the story was concocted to portray him as an unwanted visitor in the Presidential Villa just to cast aspersions on his person.
The statement read:
The attention of the general public is being drawn to a misleading publication by the Nation Newspapers online with headline “Fayemi’s failed mission to Villa with Giadom”, published in the online edition of the Nation Newspaper on Wednesday, June 24th, 2020.
The falsehood, we gathered reliably, was fabricated by a senior aide of the Presidency and a former Senator, Babafemi Ojudu, and planted in The Nation Newspaper, after it was rejected by some State House Correspondents, who rebuffed the former Senator for the misleading and malicious story.
It is on record that Senator Ojudu, in his desperate bid to rubbish Governor Fayemi, had told his close associates that he would battle Governor Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) with falsehood and cheap blackmail in his nefarious attempt to destabilize APC in Ekiti State.
While Ojudu has the right to continue to tread the path of perfidy which has been his lifestyle from time immemorial, we least expected the Nation Newspaper, a leading national daily whose motto is “Truth in Defence of Freedom” to buy into such cheap blackmail in form of an unverifiable report, without due regard to the principles of fairness. This is more so that modern technology has made the business of news gathering and editorial checks a lot easier, especially if the mission is about public good.
For the purpose of clarity, it is important to state that the Nation’s report was clearly a misleading one designed to cast aspersion on the person of Governor Fayemi and create an impression that the NGF Chairman is an unwanted visitor at the Villa. The largely unsubstantiated report was filled with bile, childish and unexplainable fury that signified nothing, just like a tale fit only for the tabloids.
We therefore implore the general public to disregard the highly illogical concoction that was served as an exclusive story.
In setting the record straight, we hereby state unequivocally that Governor Fayemi had no plan nor reason to see Mr President on Tuesday late afternoon as maliciously presented in the Nation’s report. The Governor, had earlier seen Mr President at noon in company of three of his colleagues – Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Governor Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Governor Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa). Also present at that meeting were the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari and Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Governor Fayemi was in the villa later in the afternoon to see the COS and State Chief of Protocol (SCOP).
The Ekiti State Governor was never denied any opportunity to see President Buhari as he did not ask to see the President and neither did he go with Chief Giadom.
We are aware of surreptitious efforts to demonise and blackmail Governor Fayemi on account of the challenges the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is undergoing.
We have tried not to join issues with the barrage of falsehood, personality attacks and campaign of calumny against Governor Fayemi on social media in the last two weeks because it is not in Dr Fayemi’s character to engage in unintelligent rabblerousing in the media.
As a principled democrat, Dr Fayemi is committed to fighting for the principles of democracy within the political party he laboured with other notable Nigerians to birth. It is normal for political leaders to be in disagreement, but it should not lead to campaigns of calumny based on falsehood.
Governor Fayemi’s position on the APC crisis has been to consistently subsume his views in the position of the Progressives Governors Forum as expressed by the Chairman. He has not spoken on the party crisis in any public forum but continue to urge all members and lovers of the party to exercise restraint and support the leader of the party, President Mohammadu Buhari and other leaders desirous of resolution to give peace a chance.
We implore the Nation Newspaper and other media organisations to be wary of unfounded stories wrapped as “exclusives” by disgruntled elements like the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr. Babafemi Ojudu who are now masquerading as news sources.