The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Sunday evening took on critics of the President, President Muhammadu Buhari, particularly in the media.
He said the authors of the media contents suggesting that Buhari was not in charge of his regime were only endorsing the claims by the opposition.
Shehu made this known in a statement he made available to journalists titled “President Buhari’s critics should appreciate due process.”
He wrote, “As many detractors have done lately, these ‘influencers,’ “celebrated columnists’ and ‘editorial comments’ do no more than endorse the opposition’s utterly wrong and fallacious position that the President is not in charge of his government.
“Sometimes, we are forced to wonder whether some writers are mindful of the implication of words for the strategic and territorial interests of the nation.
“An entrenched culture of dissent in our country is not something that anyone, not least a Buhari Presidency wants to stamp down.
“The fact that these baseless and appallingly mischievous attacks can freely be aired is itself evidence of the right to freedom of expression prevailing in the country today.
“Whether it is Ibrahim Magu, Godswill Akpabio, NDDC, NSITF and the others, Nigerians are bound to hold differing opinions, write letters, opinion columns, editorials and even stage lawful protests.
“What is sometimes worrisome is that several of these comments, disguised as objective criticisms are merely speaking the language of the opposition-the people who ruined the country during their 16 years of corruption on an industrial scale.
“These detractors pick up isolated issues like the ones in the EFCC, NDDC, and incidents of crime and corruption which have been with the country for years, and without any serious effort to uncover them, paint them a phenomena orchestrated and happening because President Buhari’s administration has decided to pursue cases of suspected wrongdoing in the anti-corruption agency, pension funds, NDDC and other government agencies.”
Shehu argued that the regime was the first to point out the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by the EFCC leadership could cause. He wondered if critics expected Buhari to cover up the suspected scandals by not ordering audits and investigations so that they can accuse him of cover up later.
The presidential aide said to do a cover-up and not order audits and investigations as the President did would amount to a historic betrayal of the mandate and the faith placed in him by Nigerians.
He also said Buhari’s integrity, uprightness and probity were intact and well known. He cited the fact that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Africa Union (AU) and the international community at large recognised the President as Champion of the Anti-Corruption fight in Africa.
He added that Nigerians are convinced that Buhari is honest and they voted for him as President against the background of corruption, public policy paralysis and growing menace of terrorists threatening to take over a sizable portion of the nation’s territory.
In his five years in office, Shehu said there is not a single charge of corruption against Buhari. As the leader of the country, he added that Buhari fully understands and bears the full weight of the solemn oaths he swore to defend the nation’s constitution, its citizens and territory.
While saying that disinformation is not a viable option for opposition, the presidential aide insisted that the Buhari regime has done nothing to warrant the criticisms. He, however, admitted that the war against corruption in the country is currently at crossroads.
He urged all Nigerians to join hands with the regime to prosecute the war successfully. He added, “Under our laws, you are innocent until proven guilty: Investigation, trial, then conviction. Not the other way round.
“To carry out investigations before condemnation or conviction should not be misconstrued as a weakness or a vacuum in leadership.
“The war against corruption is today at historic crossroads. This is the time all Nigerians should stand together to roll it back.
“President Buhari is determined not to be diverted by unfounded attacks, neither would he compromise the sacred mandate of Nigerians. He is determined to get justice for Nigerians on all these corruption cases being pursued.”