Former presidential aide and director-general of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Mr. Akin Osuntokun has rebuffed challenges to his patriotism by the presidency saying that such allusions meant leaving substantive issues to chase shadows.
He spoke in response to a claim by presidential aide, Femi Adesina that claims by Osuntokun in a television programme about bomb explosion in Maiduguri on Sallah Day were false. The statement had gone further to charge Nigerians not to be taken in by the narratives of those it called naysayers in the mould of Osuntokun.
But responding last night, in a statement, Mr. Osuntokun said:
“It is just another demonstration of the penchant of this government for leaving the substance to chase shadows. Ok 68 people were killed in a borno village rather than 88 in Maiduguri. At the frequency of the prevailing dispensation of daily bloodletting who wouldn’t get the specifics and details mixed up.
“I’m not the red cross who has the institutional capacity to keep every detail of these crimes against humanity. Does it matter that 68 were killed in Maimalari rather than 88 in Maiduguri and we are talking of the same day. Does this mix up make me the enemy of the people rather than Femi Adesina who threatened Nigerians to concede their land to terrorists at the pain of being murdered?
“Does it make me more a liar than president Buhari who repeatedly claimed that the price of crude oil per barrel had been over 100 dollars since 1999? In public accountability Who should the country worry more about between me and those who hold the reins of government who are pointing attention at the speck in my eyes while ignoring the beam lodged permanently in their eyesight?
“Further to what I have said, the two incidents happened the same day-and they occur with such frequency that it is difficult to keep pace with the orgy of bloodletting all over the country almost on a daily basis. Take note that he made no mention of the one reported by Reuters on the same day-that 68 people died. If I’m the enemy of the people by highlighting the failure of the government, what then do you call a government under whose dispensation Nigeria has become an abattoir.
“Whether it is 68 or 88 people that were killed should a serious and humane government be quibbling about figures? This is yet another confirmation of the cruel and blundering insensitivity of this government-ignoring leprosy while chasing after guinea worm-as the Yoruba would say. And remember this is a government that claimed it has defeated Boko Haram since two years ago.”
Chief Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity had in a statement in Abuja, said there was no bomb blast on Sallah Day contrary to the allegation by a member of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, CNN, that claimed the lives of about 88 people.
Adesina in the statement said, “On Tuesday, August 21, 2018, Akin Oshuntokun, a chieftain of the stillborn Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), appeared on Politics Today programme of Channels Television, and made the false claim that a bomb blast had gone off earlier in the day, killing about 88 people in Maiduguri, Borno State.
“Oshuntokun, a newspaper columnist and public affairs commentator, has never hidden his antipathy towards the Muhammadu Buhari administration, but to go on national television and tell lies of the most heinous kind betrays a mind taken completely over by ill wishes against his own country.
“Sallah Day had passed quietly and peacefully, without even a firecracker going off, let alone bomb blast. That was contrary to what used to happen before the advent of the Buhari administration, when such festivals were turned to orgy of killings in many parts of the country by insurgents.
Apparently, enemies of peace and progress had expected a return to the infamous past, thus Oshuntokun appeared on television with his bag of lies.
“When those on the programme remonstrated with him that they were not aware of any bomb blast on that day, he stood his ground, all in a futile bid to puncture the successes recorded by government in the area of security.
“Till the Sallah holidays ended, no bomb blast was recorded in any part of the country, to the shame and discomfiture of the naysayers.”
Continuing, the presidential spokesman said, “One wonders: if there were bomb blasts, and more than 80 people truly died, what would be the gain of anybody, except those who have become blinded by malediction and morbid wishes? Is carnage something now to glory about? Is the struggle for power now so ghoulish that some people have lost their humanity over it?
“Oshuntokun and his ilk should realize that this is the only country we have, and we can’t swallow poison and expect it to kill the next person. What we sow is what we reap.
“Happily, however, those for a peaceful, united and cohesive Nigeria are more than those against it. That is why those with baleful, hateful thoughts would never win.
“The tripod goals of securing the country, fighting corruption, and reviving the economy are central to the Buhari administration. Government is making strides in the three areas, and the conquests continue.”