PRINCE KASSIM AFEGBUA
By Dirisu Yakubu
Former Edo State Commissioner of Information and confidante of erstwhile military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (retd), Prince Kassim Afegbua has counselled Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu to desist from making allegations he cannot substantiate and focus on engaging Nigerians on how best to make governance count for them.
Kassim stated this in a conversation with Vanguard while reacting on behalf of the former Military Head of State to a claim credited to Shehu who recently said that past presidents requested for tips in business deals with contractors.
Addressing State House correspondents on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity accused past Presidents of Nigeria of prolificacy while lauding the governance model of his principal. Shehu had stated on Monday that “The records of some of his predecessors in office bespeak a greedy trail. When they go abroad, they first ask: What is in it for me? What is there for my family? President Buhari is different.”
Speaking exclusively with Vanguard on Tuesday, Afegbua came short of questioning the suitability of Shehu for the exalted office of a Presidential spokesman even as he urged him to stop pointing accusing fingers in the direction of past heads of government.
He said: “Garba Shehu is just seeking relevance. In the midst of a plethora of developmental challenges facing the government on account of poor service delivery, a spokesman, worth his salt should empathetically engage Nigerians and not throwing bile and allegations that cannot be substantiated. If he is sure of his facts, he should lay them bare.
“When you make such allegations, one would think that he was there with the ex-Presidents when they supposedly make such a request. It is ridiculous for anyone to contemplate that ex-Presidents make such baseless request.
“The expectations from Nigerians are high; hence all hands must be on deck to salvage this country. Rather than the blame game, the government needs to coordinate all the centripetal and centrifugal forces to create the right synergy to drive the national narrative.”