Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has dismissed a viral claim which described President Muhammadu Buhari as a religious bigot and an agent of destabilisation.
A 2003 quote which is currently being shared across social media platforms, and attributed to 2003 the APC chieftain, described Buhari as “an agent of destabilization, ethnic bigot, and religious fanatic”.
“Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilization, ethnic bigot, and religious fanatic who if given the chance would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardize Nigeria’s national unity,” read the quote.
This quote was said to have been made in 2003, when Buhari contested the presidential election under the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), while Tinubu was seeking a re-election as governor of Lagos, under the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD) and won.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had won the election that year.
Tunde Rahman, spokesperson to Tinubu in a statement described the quote as fictitious, and “the handiwork of merchants of hate and fake news”.
He said, “This stuff has been going round and circulating as if it’s of a fact. It is not. It’s the handiwork of merchants of hate and fake news. Asiwaju Tinubu could not have said such of then GMB. ”
“Let’s dissect it: Yes Asiwaju and GMB as he then was were not in the same party in 2003. But they were not on each other’s path to warrant any hard feelings in the first instance. GMB was contesting for the presidency in 2003, Asiwaju was Lagos governor seeking re-election which he got. GMB was contesting against President Obasanjo.
“Truth is Asiwaju would even wish that GMB defeated the dictatorial President Obasanjo who ruled the country on his whims. Against a clear decision of the Supreme Court Obasanjo seized Lagos allocation and did many unthinkable. Asiwaju would not descend so low as to label anyone ethnic bigot or religious fanatic.
“These words are neither of him nor relate to him in any way. The agents of darkness who are bent on sowing seeds of discord at this time the nation is confronting challenges of insecurity and religious extremism should tell us when he uttered those words.
“Where did he speak? Was it a newspaper interview? Was it a public lecture? No source. No attribution. The merchants of fake news just did a fantastic quote to cause mischief and create discord. We should not allow them.”