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Monday, 5 February 2018

''Babangida authorised the statement I issued'' ex- head of state's spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, says

Spokesman of former Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida, Kassim Afegbua, has countered claims by his principal that he never authorised him to issue the controversial statement in which he asked Nigerians not to vote for President Buhari in 2019. Read the controversial statement here.
Babangida had issued and signed a statement yesterday evening with claims that he never asked his spokesperson to issue the state. The former Nigerian leader said that if he had any grieviance regarding how the country is being run, he has easy access to see President Buhari to discuss it instead of resorting to cheap publicity stunt of writing an open letter. He said the opinions expressed in the first statement were entirely that of his spokesperson. Read here.
However in a swift reaction, Afegbua says his principal instructed him to issue the controversial statement. Speaking on Channels TV last night, Afegbua said
''I have been doing this job for about 14 years now. And I have never issued a statement on behalf of the former head of state and he gave a rebuttal. I got authorisation and commitment from him before I issued the statement. It has been in process,” he said
Afegbua said that Babangida had called him after issuing the second statement, saying the first one he, Afegbua, wrote still stands
He has called me to say that the statement still stands. Of course, you know IBB is for everyone. People want to love him more than he loves himself. People want to appreciate him more than he appreciates himself. People want to play the role of IBB. So when the statement was released, some of his friends saw it and they felt we were trying to put the former president on a collision course with the president. So, they went and did a statement to deny that. But I have since spoken to him; he called me and said, that statement stands. The kernel of that statement should inform public discourse and not necessarily people personalising it as if it were to be against the sitting president. So, the statement stands and I have since communicated to all the media houses that they should respect that statement as coming from IBB. It did not emanate from my head. We sat down, we discussed and articulated them. General Babangida wants a new side of leadership, from the younger generation of Nigerians who in his own views have the resourcefulness, the energy and capacity to manage governmental affairs. He is not personalizing his statement against the incumbent president. But he is saying, as a stakeholder and a concerned Nigerian, that he shares in the aspirations of the people.”


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