By Abolade Ogundimu
Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum, a socio-cultural group in South West, has advised Mr Kehinde Akinyemi, Media aide to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, not to raise doubt on credibility of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The Secretary General of the Forum, Mr. Akin Malaolu, gave the advice on Monday in the Forum’s in reaction to Akinyemi’s statement.
Obasanjo had at 27th annual Owu National convention on Saturday, urged Nigerians to vote for credible candidates who will drive growth and development.
Obasanjo at the occasion said that he would not tell Nigerians a candidate to vote for in the 2019 presidential election.
But the ex- president’s aide issued a statement on Sunday said his attention has been drawn to a report by NAN with the headline “Atiku: Obasanjo Shifts Political Gear to Neutral’’.
” It is disingenuous, if not malicious, for anyone to suggest that Obasanjo was being neutral when he chose not to use the Owu Convention as a platform for political campaign.
” But instead adopt a communal and familial approach in talking to members of his Owu family,” Akinyemi said in his statement.
But Malaolu said on Monday that NAN rightly reported what Obasanjo said at Owu Day celebration on Saturday.
He urged Akinyemi not to adopt falsehood in his eagerness to quickly reverse perceived ‘danger’ of Obasanjo’ s comment.
“It is unfortunate if the spokesman to Chief Obasanjo intended to deny what Chief Olusegun Obasanjo said as a political statement.
“The word ‘Impress’ which Akinyemi claimed his master used on that occasion, fits properly to represents the interpretations made in particular to meaning of words in a sentence and to represent neutrality
” Obasanjo must have been alarmed to the interpretations given to his sentence and to words in it.
“Akinyemi should do well to understand how to manage his master whenever and wherever he is to give speeches in any traditional or political occasion.
“We urge readers and followers of NAN not to believe the nasty trick of words nor the new version to what Obasanjo said.
“Obasanjo is not a master of words and it will add to his integrity if he controls his urge to be heard at all time. Silence we know is better than inconsistency,” the group said.
Yoruba Ronu said: “Nigerians should throw their lots in favour of All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Muhammad Buhari in the 2019 general election that will be peaceful, fair and decent.”
Obasanjo had in Owu declared he would not tell Nigerians to vote or not to vote for any particular candidate, but should vote wisely.
Obasanjo, said Nigerians needed to vote for a credible candidate.
Later on Sunday, Obasanjo clarified that he was not neutral in the coming 2019 general elections.
However, the spokesman corroborated the NAN report that Obasanjo said “he would not impress any candidates on the people, Nigerians should vote for credible candidates who would make their lives better”.
“It is disingenuous, if not malicious, for anyone to suggest that Chief Obasanjo was being neutral when he chose not to use the Owu Convention as a platform for political campaign but instead adopt a communal and familial approach in talking to members of his Owu family,” Akinyemi said.
Akinyemi insisted Obasanjo’s statement did not suggest his neutrality.
He said Obasanjo will not sit on the fence when he needs to be active for people to know where he stands in the nation’s interest.
“In fact, the former President believes that only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption, lack of focus, insecurity, nepotism, brazen impunity and denial of the obvious. Chief Obasanjo is no such fool nor is he so unwise,” Akinyemi said.
He noted that Obasanjo has reaffirmed that he was on the side of what was best for the country.
The former President asked Nigerians to ‘stop complaining and go out to get beneficial change’, stressing that such change would not come if they remain complacent and inactive.