Festus Keyamo, spokesman of President Muhamamdu Buhari’s reelection campaign, has debunked claims the president called for violence in Zamfara state during a recent presidential campaign.
According to Keyamo, Buhari was only “weighing in on a joke” during his address in Gusau, the state capital.
Keyamo said this in response to the comment of Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who at a rally in Port Harcourt on Monday accused Buhari of preaching violence.
Keyamo said Atiku made the accusation out of frustration, having sensed a comprehensive defeat in the forthcoming presidential election.
“Typical of the PDP and Atiku’s Campaign team, they have continued in their favourite pastime of peddling falsehood, scaremongering and misinformation,” the statement read.
“This time, the candidate of the main opposition himself, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, sensing a comprehensive defeat this Saturday and out of frustration, threw caution to the wind in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Monday, February 11, 2019, when he alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari called for violence when he campaigned in Zamfara State.
“Nothing can be farther from the truth. The Hausa word the President used in Zamfara, which has been taken out of context, is “fitna”. Incidentally all our Hausa language scholars have said the word means different things: it means distress, trial, affliction or temptation. It can also be used to describe rebellion or uprising.
“In this case, President Buhari was actually weighing in on the joke told very often of recent in the North that due to the rice boom, farmers have embarked on pilgrimage and the marrying of more wives. So, what the President meant was actually a joke deliberately taken out of context: he simply told the crowd to ensure they eat very well because of the rice boom before they can contemplate giving in to those temptations.
“Even in some private meetings with our campaign team, the President has always commented on this joke. Sadly, out of desperation, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has decided to peddle falsehood.
“We urge Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to realize that it is God Almighty that gives power and takes power. He should not use his palpable desperation to return to power (in order to sell Nigeria to his “friends” and to make them rich) to set this nation ablaze by outright falsehood.”