By Emma Amaize, Clifford Ndujihe, Anayo Okoli & Dirisu Yakubu
The comment by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in a Channel television’s interview that members of the ‘cabal’ in the presidency are not hungry individuals and do not deserve the public criticism they get, has drawn the ire of Nigerians, with Ohanaeze, Afenifere, Pan Niger Delta Forum and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, describing it as an insult on Nigerians.
Shehu, while appearing on the television programme on Christmas day, said contrary to the false belief that the cabal manipulates the president, “they are respectable Nigerians who deserve respect because they have achieved a lot.
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“A lot of people who are being dragged into this cabal thing are respectable Nigerians who have achieved a lot for themselves and for the nation. They are not there as hungry people out to grab things for themselves,” he said.
On Mamman Daura, he said Nigerians should not brand persons close to President Buhari who have offered to serve the nation as members of a ‘cabal.’
“Nigerians have formed the practice by labeling people that are in some advisable positions of the president as a cabal.
“People (cabals) should not be labelled negatively simply because they have offered themselves to support the president of this country,” he said.
It is absurd to jettison FG orders for a cabal’s — Ohanaeze
Reacting however, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, through its Publicity Secretary, Chief Uche Achi-Ogbaga said; “You see, when you do the right thing in a wrong way, it becomes wrong. The issue is not about being hungry or well fed. It is about integrity of the government, it is about conventionality, law and civility. The tax payers’ money is used to pay the retinue of ministers, presidential advisers, assistants and other aids.
“They are the official government decision policy or decision makers. Yet, you abandon them to depend or take instructions from an underhand body called the cabal. It is unfortunate that Garba Shehu, whose utterances are presumed as that of the President, could say that blatantly. From the American experience, it is enough to impeach the President if it is established, as in the present case, that it came from the presidency. It is absurd to jettison the Federal Executive Council and other lawful bodies to take orders from an ethnic and prejudice-infested cabal. It smells to high heavens.”
Stop insulting Nigerians’ intelligence – Odumakin
Reacting also, National Publicity Secretary of the Pan-Yoruba Socio-Political Organisation, Mr. Yinka Odumakin asked, “Since when did they stop being hungry? Is it since 1999 or 2016? If you are not hungry why did you move to the Presidential Villa living at government’s expense? Garba Shehu should stop insulting people’s intelligence. If he has nothing to say, he should keep quiet.’’
Comment irresponsible, careless — PANDEF
PANDEF in a statement by Deputy National Secretary, Mr Ken Robinson, recalled that last week, “Garba Shehu also reportedly said it was not a sin for the President to have what he referred to as close confidants.
“We wish to note that while there may be nothing wrong in the President having close confidants, who may offer the president advice when needed, it becomes a grave problem to governance and to the nation when such persons interfere in the running of the government, and worst when they even interfere in the private affairs of the President as the nation was made to understand by the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari.
“It is disturbing that the media aides of President Buhari are increasingly becoming haughty and contemptuous in posture and in words. They seem to have been overtaken by delusional fantasies and are now more interested in offending the sensibilities of Nigerians than doing their job professionally as media aides to help build rapport with citizens for Mr. President, which he earnestly needs.
“This is sad and it is not good for our democracy. We therefore, call on President Buhari to call his media aides to order.
“On the recent release of Omoyele Sowore and Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) from the custody of the Department State Service in respect of subsisting Court orders, PANDEF while commending the Federal Government for finally coming to terms with the tenets of constitutional democracy, also called for the release all other innocent Nigerians being illegally detained by the DSS and other security agencies.
“Meanwhile PANDEF wishes the government and people of the Niger Delta region peaceful celebrations this Yuletide season,” he said.
Presidency’s admittance of cabal, best Christmas gift to Nigerians — PDP
The PDP on its part, described Presidency’s allusion to the existence of a cabal in the Villa as the best Christmas gift to Nigerians.
Deputy National Publicity Secretary of PDP, who reacted to the comment, Diran Odeyemi said, “The Presidency has given Nigerians the best Christmas gift by finally admitting that indeed, a cabal is in charge of their affairs. The people voted for are not the ones governing the people. So, we can now see why nothing is moving in the right direction.
“If members of the cabal are not hungry as Shehu said, can he tell us what impact they have made after they found themselves in the corridor of powers? Are Nigerians better off today than they were before the APC, came on board?
“They have since run out of smart arguments and they can no longer deny the truth starring them in the face. The cabal has ruined Nigeria for their selfish interest.
“Our advice to Nigerians is simple: Be prepared to push this unprepared party out of power in 2023. It is good we are witnessing what capacity they have for governance but having failed completely, there is no need to give them another chance.”
He urge Nigerians to see Shehu’s remark for what it is, “Arrogance and scant regards for the feeling of the people, many of whom had a bleak Christmas because those taking decisions on behalf of all of us know nothing about how to manage the economy for the benefit of the people.”