The Sun News

Re: That October 1 hate speech

By Garba Shehu

“That October 1 hate speech,” a column by Steve Nwosu the respected journalist and Director of The Sun, was neither fair nor balanced. If anyone is looking for a hate speech, they should please look elsewhere. The least one can say of the column is that it was a premeditated attack on a President who did no other than come before the nation with an olive branch.

Let me also state that this rejoinder respects, in a strong sense Steve’s entitlement to hold his views, but he is not entitled to the erroneous facts on which they are based.

Three of these warrant a rebuttal.

The first of these facts that came to my attention was the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari came before the nation, in this and the speech before it an angry man talking about red lines, the boundaries of which nobody knows.

Steve asked: Who drew the red line and when was it drawn?

Two, the writer tried in many subtle ways to say that the President lied; that the account he rendered of his meeting in Daura with the late Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu in which the question of Nigeria’s continued existence as single entity was settled is, as he put it, a “tales by moonlight” because nobody was there to corroborate it.

Three, Steve in his view believed that the President was disdainful of his kinsmen, the Igbo by not addressing the issues “hurting the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB and the Igbo” but instead, dwelling on the problems of the Niger Delta as if these were the only ones with a problem in the country.

In a seemingly smart but clearly identifiable innuendo, he accused the Buhari administration of hypocrisy for declaring the IPOB a terrorist organisation but not doing so with respect to the Fulani cattle herders. Shockingly and unbelievably, Steve gave a free pass to IPOB, describing it as a “non-violent organisation”that did not deserve to be labeled a terrorist organization; that it amounted to injustice, hypocrisy and double standard to brand IPOB as terrorist “and Fulani murderers are let go.”

As I said in the opening lines, the October 1 speech by the President was no hate speech as claimed by the headline of the article but a conciliatory one in which the leader of the country was making an appeal to community leaders in all parts to “rein-in their hot-headed youth.”

To quote that speech, what the President said is that: “Many irresponsible groups are calling for a rerun of the civil war. Those doing this were not born by 1967 and have no idea of the horrendous consequences of the civil conflict which we went through.

“I’am very disappointed that responsible leaders of these communities do not warn their hot-headed youth what the country went through. Those who were there should tell those who were not there the consequences of such folly.”

The problem with Steve in this particular column is that he didn’t believe there are hot-headed youth anywhere, more especially in the “non-violent” IPOB.

Even if he did, he didn’t pick his pen to lash at the extremist ideology propagated by Kanu’s IPOB. Such hate-filled quotes are still being shared on WhatsApp and I here present a few to illustrate the point one is making:

“I will go to Abuja, and when ‘am coming home I will bring Buhari’s head”-Nnamdi Kanu.

“ If they don’t give us Biafra, there will be nothing left breathing in that zoo called Nigeria”-Nnamdi Kanu.

“Its either Biafra or death”-Nnamdi Kanu.

“If they don’t give us a date for referendum, there will be no election in Anambra or any part of Biafra land”-Nnamdi Kanu.

“ It is clear that the only language the zoo called Nigeria understands is war and death and we are ready for war”-Nnamdi Kanu.

“From today forward, I put the protection of Biafra land in the hands of the Biafra Security Services”-Nnamdi Kanu.

“ If the zoo Army enters Biafra land, they will die”-Nnamdi Kanu.

“Buhari is a mad man” Nnamdi Kanu.

“I call on all Igbo’s who have the know how to manufacture bombs, arms and ammunitions to come forward, we need to take this war to the zoo ( via Biafra radio). -Nnamdi Kanu.

( And I’am pleased reading Kanu’s excoriation for those hateful views by no less a person than Chief Nnia Nwodo, the brilliant President of the Ohanaeze.)

These were statements the IPOB leader made publicly, statements about which many critics of government have however ignored and are shockingly complaining that he is being badly treated.

When he reads the quotes above, then he takes a bit of time to view Kanu’s videos on YouTube inspecting the parade by both the paramilitary group and the Biafran Secret Service, BSS formed by him, the Steve that I know, brilliant, logical and deep will change his mind about his defense of that rash and unjust modus operandi.

I also don’t want think that Steve is adamant of the juridical implications of what he was saying about IPOB being badly treated.

If a court of our land finds that a group fits the description of terrorist organisations and gives orders to that effect, what is best to do by law-abiding citizens is to go higher, appeal the decision not to close your ears and eyes to go on blasting aloud that you disagree. To do that is not only to undermine the judicial process in our country but also to weaken our democracy.

To end the column, Steve my friend barked at the leader of the country, saying “Mr. President, you must talk to the Igbos.”

To speak for the President, I don’t seem to see or know at what point he said he won’t talk to the Igbo or any other organised groups in the country for that matter.

When the new leadership of the Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo took the mantle of leadership, his message to them was, “come, be my partners.” That still hasn’t changed.

Taking it from there, I recall that the then Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN called to a round table, community leaders for the East, South-South and the North, for meetings he held separately with each of the groups. He wanted to lower the tension in the land at a time when the barometer was rising higher.

The plan as he put it with his team was that an apex meeting with the combative nationalities in attendance was going to climax the consultative meetings.

It will be improper to go into details of what followed the very successful preliminary meetings. Sadly however, as is now known, that final meeting was never convened.

Unimpeachable sources told me that some hardliners interloped and what followed was a complete abrogation of the promise and commitment some of the groups gave to the Acting President back in Abuja.

I have narrated these facts not to tarnish or degrade from the standing of any person or community but to show the willingness, determination and good faith on the part of the administration to engage with aggrieved communities in a dialogue to solve national problems.

Perhaps Steve, my all-time friend, a well-known investigative journalist who poured scorn on President Buhari, accusing his administration of hypocrisy should send his correspondents to the field to help us uncover where the hypocrisy actually lies.

When he does that, we will doff the hats in three hearty cheers, “Hip, Hip, Hip!” for he does not belong to these characters in the famous film, Catch-22 of whom a Chaplain in the movie said: “ To turn vice into virtue, thievery into honor, brutality into patriotism and sadism into justice requires no brains; all it requires is a change of character.”

Steve, go read that speech again. The President is sincere and he means well!

• Garba Shehu is President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity.

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5 Comments

  1. Tim 11th October 2017 at 3:18 am

    You people should desist from deceiving the president because of your selfish interests, the truth is that buhari is a tyrant and a crude person who is very obstinate, but that may lead him to destruction. The worst thing that happened to Nigeria is to have buhari as president. Shame on you Nigerians.

  2. Peter Okeke 11th October 2017 at 9:34 am

    Somebody should enlighten us. Was there a time the president invited IPOB and Namdi Kanu to any discussion on the issues of their agitations? None I can recall. When have verbal threats in a democracy made by obviously angry group that felt unjustly treated and were employing such verbal utterances openly to bring attention to their demands amount to terrorism that required immediate proscription by the benevolent and caring federal government? If Arewa youths that threatened the peace of the country and the fulani herdsmen that had indeed committed acts of terrorism and are still doing same had been branded terrorists and had Frank written against such hasty action the government that could tarnish the image of the country as a breeding ground for terrorists would this writer have risen to criticise him? When we fail to acknowledge the truth and keep on defending lies and wrongs that will not in any way affect or change the untouchable status of truth we end up bringing ourselves to ridicule and disdain.

  3. Patitos Gang 11th October 2017 at 4:36 pm

    It is quite ridiculous the narrow manner Garba Shehu reasons in his effort to defend the invectives of his boss, Alhaji Mohammed Buhari. He is able to point out all the so called “hate speeches” of Nnamdi Kalu (IPOB), but could not mention any of those by Arewa Youths, the Hate Songs against the Igbos that pervaded the airwaves, and the hate quit notice that was condemned by Nigerians and the International community. These went viral and Garba knew all about them. Garba Shehu was quick to exhonoerate his violent and atrocious Fulani Herdsmen/brothers and tagged them democratic organizations by implication, just like Boko Haram which they claim is fighting the cause of the North. His boss, Mr. Buhari, who erroneously claim to be Nigeria’s President, did not see anything wrong with their atrocities and wanton killings. He rather chose to label a non-violent, harmless, unarmed, peaceful agitators whose only weapon is “word of mouth” as a “terrorist group.” This is one of the most among many primitive, illiterate and irresponsible decisions this government has taken amongst many others and all these are taking Nigeria so many steps backward. Why do you think this government is not making any progress? Forget about the arrogations they have been making to themselves!. It is because of the leadership’s very wicked and diabolical postures towards the Igbos and wealth owners of this country (Niger Delta). It is very glaring to both Nigerians and the interantional community. But because Buhari and his cohorts are impunitive and think Nigeria belongs only to the Hausa/Fulani, he continues deluding himself in self deceipt. Alarm will soon blow, take it or leave it!

  4. mazi offor joseph okereke 11th October 2017 at 7:32 pm

    garba shehu is a political turn coat who was appointed by his fulani brother , buhari, to checkmate femi adesina. tell me his work in aso rock as senior media adviser which femi adesina cannot do. it was as a result of his idleness at aso rock, but’ eats fat salaries from our common purse that gave him the time to write this trash in the name of refutation to steve write up succeeding in marshaling the wrongs of kanu and ipob and closed his already blind eyes on boko haram , fulani herdsmen and nepotic activities of his principal. the south nay south east are not fools. there are limits to every thing under the sun. what is happening to ibe kachikwu today has shown that federal character and junior minister positions are created to checkmate any southerner in any position of authority. we have known the tricks and as far as the northern oligarchy continue to have wrong notion that nigeria belongs to them but any other citizen is a conquered person by the north, more kanus will rise until it gets to the point we shall say to your tent oh, is real by fire by thunder.

  5. Benjamin Kish 12th October 2017 at 1:24 am

    THE MAN IN ASO ROCK IS NOT MOHAMADU BUHARI.

    THIS MAN IS NOT MY FATHER, WHEN HE SEES ME, HE DEOS NOT RECOGNIZE ME.

    THE MAN IN ASO ROCK IS A SUDANESE IMPOSTOR BY NAME JUBRIL.

    MOHAMADU BUHARI DIED ON THE 17TH OF JANUARY, 2017.

    QUITE NOTICE: WE WILL DECLARE AREWA REPUBLIC ON OCTOBER, 1ST 2017, THEREFORE, IGBOS MUST LEAVE THE NORTH FOR THE NORTHERNERS.

    IF BY OCTOBER, 1ST 2017, ANY IGBO MAN OR WOMAN FOUND IN NORTHERN NIGERIA IS ON THE JOURNEY OF NO RETURN-AREWA YOUTHS.

    WE WILL CARRY THE WAR TO THE DOOR STEPS OF NNAMDI KANU-AREWA YOUTHS.

    Upon all the above threats coming from northern Nigerian so called AREWA CONSULTATIVE FORUM and AREWA elders forum, the Nigerian army have not arrested even a lfy his much more invading any of their leaders houses.

    Mr. Shettima Yerima, who boasted during the quite notice, chickened out, reversed his quite notice order, saying we have achieved our aim.

    What ail have you achieved if I may ask?
    The only aim the entire northern Nigeria dirty donkeys achieved is to indirectly BEGGING THE IGBOS NOT TO BREAK AWAY FROM NIGERIA.

    Go and read all newspaper publications of all the northern Nigerian leaders, they all mentioned one thing continuously, and that is WE ‘RE NOT AFRAID OF RESTRUCTURING OR THE BREAKUP OF NIGERIA.

    Gentle men, northern Nigeria is DAMN SCARED ABOUT TGE IGBOS LEAVING NIGERIA.

    You can see and hear the Sudanese impostor in Aso villa MOHAMADU BUHARI repeatedly saying quotes: WE THANK THE ARMY FOR HOLDING NIGERIA TOGETHER off quote.

    Does this tell anyone something? yes, it does tell us that the northern Nigeria depends upon the blood of the IGBOS to survive.

    All what Garba Shehu says it all, FEAR GRIPPS NORTHERN NIGERIA ABOUT THE INEVITABLE REFERENDUM SHORTLY TO BE CONDUCTED IN NIGERIA BY THE UNITED NATIONS.

    Every right thinking person all over the world knows were the PEBDULUM will swing.

    The Ruth must be told, IGBOS ‘re already out of the zoo called Nigeria.
    Whatever weapon hausa-fulani knows, let them use or deploy it, it can’t change the people whose time has come.

    It’s time for Nigeria to pay it debt to history.
    Long live the republic of BIAFRA.

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