The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCCO) has threatened to sue the Director of Media and Publicity for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Femi Fani-Kayode, for claiming that Muhammadu Buhari is getting funding for his election campaign from terrorist groups.
The APCPCO, in a statement released in Abuja on Saturday, accused Fani-Kayode of perpetuating the religious politics that his principal, President Goodluck Jonathan is well known for. The former Aviation minister, giving him one week to retract his defamatory comments or face the law.
“Never before in Nigeria’s history has the issue of religion been applied to such sinister purposes as we have seen during the years of President Jonathan’s government,” said Director of Media and Publicity of the APCPCO, Malam Garba Shehu. “When all fails, they whip out the religious card,” he said.
However, the APCPCO expressed relief that Nigerians were no more being fooled by what he called “this PDP game”. According to him, General Buhari has transcended all the religious smears and, together with his running mate, Yemi Osinbajo, who is a respected pastor, has been able to show the Nigerian people that Nigeria’s growth and development is not about religion, but about a genuine desire to change the lot of the country’s citizens and move the entire nation forward.
“A majority of the world’s Muslims, including Buhari, do not approve of the Al-Qaeda, and being Muslim does not translate into being pro-ISIS,” Shehu added.
The statement gave advance warning that when the APC takes the matter of Fani-Kayode’s baseless and libellous claims to the court next week, the party will ask that the PDP spokesperson’s international passport be impounded by way of injunction.
“There are some campaigners who obviously intend to escape from Nigeria after the handover of government from Jonathan to Buhari on May 29. That must be the reason why they can boldly make the reckless, irresponsible and defamatory statements that they have been mouthing off so flippantly throughout this campaign season. Either that or these people do not believe in our country’s judicial system. They don’t believe that one day; it will catch up with them.”
The APCCO further warned that it would not extend the seven-day deadline given to Fani-Kayode to retract his false allegations.
“Let me assure the PDP federal government that, under Buhari’s government, the judiciary will work. These men will be made to pay for all the many libel and fines the courts would hopefully issue for the crimes that their big mouths have committed,” Shehu said.
In his response, Fani-Kayode, in a swift response to the court threat by Shehu, said it was a pity that supposed educated persons could not make a distinction between a question and an assertion.
“It is a pity that these people are not well educated. They cannot even make a distinction between a question and an assertion. Rather than asking me to retract or withdraw the question, they should just answer it and stop misbehaving.
“If they are waiting for a retraction to our questions, they will wait forever. Hell will freeze over before we retract any question that we have put. We will not retract any question rather we will continue to put more uncomfortable questions to them until they provide answers by saying yes or no.
“We have made no assertion, we have simply asked a set of legitimate, responsible, sensitive and important questions, and we have every right to do so. As long as the election is being fought, we will continue to ask these questions, whether they like it or not.
“Millions of Nigerians are interested in knowing whether the answers to the questions that we have raised are ‘yes’ or ‘no’. These are legitimate questions which need to be answered in a most honest and transparent manner. If the answers to the questions are ‘no’, Buhari should just say so, and we will take it up from there.
“Instead of wasting time threatening us with court proceedings, insults and threat of violence every minute, and instead of attempting to intimidate and silence us, they should just tell us the truth, answer the questions and then set the record straight,” Fani-Kayode said.