Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti state, has accused Babafemi Ojudu, special adviser to the president on political matters, of blackmail.
The governor was reacting to a report in a national newspaper which alleged that Fayemi had visited the presidential villa in Abuja to win President Muhammadu Buhari over to Victor Giadom, deputy national secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The report claimed that the visit was futile as the “duo couldn’t see Buhari despite spirited attempts”.
Shortly after the report was published, Buhari backed Giadom as the acting national chairman of the party.
Reacting in a statement on Wednesday, Yinka Oyebode, Fayemi’s spokesman, alleged that the report was fabricated and sponsored by Ojudu, who works in the office of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to tarnish the governor’s reputation.
He said Fayemi has been silent on the crisis rocking the party, adding that his remarks have been based on the position of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) which he heads.
Oyebode said Fayemi had met with Buhari earlier, alongside three of his colleagues.
He said the governor later visited the presidential villa to meet with Ibrahim Gambari, presidential chief of staff, adding that he did not go with Giadom.
He urged Nigerians to ignore the story, saying it is an “highly illogical concoction”.
“The attention of the general public is being drawn to a misleading publication… with headline ‘Fayemi’s failed mission to Villa with Giadom’, published in the online edition… on Wednesday, June 24th, 2020,” the statement read.
“The falsehood, we gathered reliably, was fabricated by a senior aide of the Presidency and a former Senator, Babafemi Ojudu, and planted in The Nation Newspaper, after it was rejected by some State House Correspondents, who rebuffed the former Senator for the misleading and malicious story.
“It is on record that Senator Ojudu, in his desperate bid to rubbish Governor Fayemi, had told his close associates that he would battle Governor Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) with falsehood and cheap blackmail in his nefarious attempt to destabilize APC in Ekiti State.
“For the purpose of clarity, it is important to state that the Nation’s report was clearly a misleading one designed to cast aspersion on the person of Governor Fayemi and create an impression that the NGF Chairman is an unwanted visitor at the Villa. The largely unsubstantiated report was filled with bile, childish and unexplainable fury that signified nothing, just like a tale fit only for the tabloids.
“In setting the record straight, we hereby state unequivocally that Governor Fayemi had no plan nor reason to see Mr President on Tuesday late afternoon as maliciously presented in the Nation’s report. The Governor, had earlier seen Mr President at noon in company of three of his colleagues – Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Governor Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Governor Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa). Also present at that meeting were the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari and Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
“Governor Fayemi was in the villa later in the afternoon to see the COS and State Chief of Protocol (SCOP). The Ekiti State Governor was never denied any opportunity to see President Buhari as he did not ask to see the President and neither did he go with Chief Giadom.
“Governor Fayemi’s position on the APC crisis has been to consistently subsume his views in the position of the Progressives Governors Forum as expressed by the Chairman. He has not spoken on the party crisis in any public forum but continue to urge all members and lovers of the party to exercise restraint and support the leader of the party, President Mohammadu Buhari and other leaders desirous of resolution to give peace a chance.”
When TheCable sought Ojudu’s reaction to Fayemi’s allegation, he said: “This is false. Not worth responding to.’ In the words of Socrates “when the argument is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”
Meanwhile, Buhari will attend the national executive committee (NEC) meeting of the APC which Giadom fixed for Thursday.