Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Tinubu ‘has no hand in negative report on any senator’

All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Tinubu commented yesterday on a report in which he was accused of “conspiracy to destroy the Senate”. The report was published by ThisDay in its April 2 edition. He described the report as “political libel” and spurned it as “balant lie”. In a statement signed by Tunde Rahman for the Tinubu Media Office, the former Lagos State Governor, said: “After giving substantial time for ThisDay to correct the outright falsehood used as cover story for its Sunday, April 2 edition, we are constrained to correct the record. Those behind the report are practitioners of political libel. That blatant lie was reported as fact breached the minimum standards of journalism. It is sad that ThisDay allowed itself to become an instrument of errant mudslinging. “Hopefully, ThisDay was only a dupe in this deception. It would be painful to think the newspaper might have been wilfully complicit in this bald assault against truth. There is nothing wrong with publishing hot news; but hot news should never amount to a rotten lie. “The newspaper claimed in the report “PDP Caucus Accuses Tinubu, EFCC of Conspiracy to Destroy Senate” that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in concert with the EFCC, has instigated media attacks against the PDP Senate Caucus. “The story is such an outright fabrication that it claims the PDP Senators held a special meeting to discuss Asiwaju Tinubu. However, PDP Senators claim no such meeting was ever held and that they hold no special animus toward Asiwaju Tinubu. “We are usually not in the position of agreement with PDP members. But on this rare occasion, we have no contention with them. Asiwaju Tinubu is a former Senator. He has a special affection for the Senate as an institution. It is not within him to belittle the institution or members of that institution who happen to be in the opposing political party. “Moreover, his brand of politics does not lend itself to engaging in wanton character and personal attacks. There is significant policy difference between our progressive school of thought and the often reactionary ideas of the PDP. There are more than enough serious issues over which to grapple the PDP. Asiwaju TInubu’s politics are driven by his policy views. He will gladly wrestle against the PDP on substantive political differences. But engage in personal attacks, rumor-mongering and mudslinging, never. We leave that for others. The gutter is no place to build a better nation. We seek higher ground. “So that there is no confusion on the core issue here, we categorically deny any hand in any negative personal report on any senator. “In that the PDP leadership disavows such a meeting, we must question the source of ThisDay’s fictional account. More importantly, we can only conclude that the impetus for this liar’s account can only be a malign one.” In TInubu’s view, “the false story is motivated by venal political objectives that dare not come out of the shadows”. “Those behind the report know they cannot show themselves for what they truly are. Their tactics are underhanded because their objectives are equally so. They lie because the awful objective they seek cannot be gained by telling the truth. “Some malefactors want to use the name of Asiwaju Tinubu to stir opposition in the Senate to the confirmation of Magu as EFCC chairman. By trying to paint Magu as Tinubu’s partner in mudslinging, the false story seeks to induce senators to oppose Magu as a way of thwarting Asiwaju Tinubu. “The authors of this screed thus revealed their moral barrenness. The fight against corruption is a cardinal battle this nation must win or forever forego its greater destiny. Despite the importance of this matter, someone is trying to exalt his narrow personal interests above the long-term interests of the nation. Someone so brazen and self-absorbed is a dangerous instrumentality when placed in a position of power. “That person will undermine the very institutions of democracy to get his way. In this very story, they have tried to break down both the Senate and the press in one swoop. Sadly, they seem to have already conquered at least one important press organisation. ThisDay apparently has shunned the ethics and ways of responsible journalism. One can only hope that the newspaper received enough in return for selling its journalistic soul.” The statement dismissed the report as a “fable” It said: “The anatomy of the report is that of a fable that never should have been told. The report centered on a meeting that never held. The reporter neither stated who attended the meeting nor alluded to any formal statement issued after the meeting.” The PDP caucus had earlier denied ever meeting to discuss Tinubu and the EFCC. The Southeast Caucus Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who has been named the spokesman of the party’s caucus said: “It is far from the truth. We did not at any time discuss Senator Tinubu at any meeting and nobody accused the EFCC of anything.” Besides, when the party’s caucus and its leaders met, there was no mention of either Tinubu or the EFCC.


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