National Leader, All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has described as “fake news” reports that he called President Muhammadu Buhari an “ethnic bigot and religious fanatic” back in 2003.
The former Lagos State Governor made the clarification in a Friday statement through his spokesman, Tunde Rahman.
A quote attributed to the APC chieftain read: “Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilisation, ethnic bigot, and religious fanatic who if given the chance would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardise Nigeria’s national unity.”
As at the time the quote first circulated, Buhari was gearing up to contest for the presidency on the platform of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) against then-incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Tinubu himself was Governor of Lagos State under the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD).
But in the statement, the APC chieftain attributed the “fake news” to mischief-makers, urging the public to ignore it.
He dared anyone to state when and where the alleged statement was made.
“This stuff has been going round and circulating as if it’s of a fact. It is not. It’s the handiwork of merchants of hate and fake news. Asiwaju Tinubu could not have said such of then GMB.
“Let’s dissect it: Yes Asiwaju and GMB as he then was were not in the same party in 2003. But they were not on each other’s path to warrant any hard feelings in the first instance. GMB was contesting for the presidency in 2003, Asiwaju was Lagos governor seeking re-election which he got. GMB was contesting against President Obasanjo.
“Truth is Asiwaju would even wish that GMB defeated the dictatorial President Obasanjo who ruled the country on his whims. Against a clear decision of the Supreme Court Obasanjo seized Lagos allocation and did many unthinkable. Asiwaju would not descend so low as to label anyone ethnic bigot or religious fanatic.
“These words are neither of him nor relate to him in any way. The agents of darkness who are bent on sowing seeds of discord at this time the nation is confronting challenges of insecurity and religious extremism should tell us when he uttered those words.
“Where did he speak? Was it a newspaper interview? Was it a public lecture? No source. No attribution. The merchants of fake news just did a fantastic quote to cause mischief and create discord. We should not allow them,” the statement read.