Femi Adesina, special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, says Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is denigrating the country’s democracy.
Adesina said this in reaction to comments made by the former vice-president on the reported secret burial of soldiers who have died in the war against Boko Haram.
The Wall Street Journal had reported how the soldiers killed by Boko Haram insurgents were allegedly buried in hidden graveyards.
Shortly after, the former vice-president called for an independent inquiry into the said secret burial.
But in a statement on Friday, Adesina accused Abubakar of being quick to play up negative developments in the country, adding that his alleged actions are in “vain.”
“Before and after the Osun State judgement, the PDP candidate had always been quick to play up negative developments in the country, the latest of which is the tendentious story by Wall Street Journal, alleging that about one thousand Nigerian soldiers had been recently killed by Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa terrorists, and secretly buried by Nigerian military authorities,” he said.
“The military has duly countered the story, educating the Wall Street Journal on the hollowness of its publication.
“But Alhaji Abubakar has quickly weighed in on the matter, as part of his gambit to whip up emotions, and perhaps get the judiciary to reflect the ‘pulse of the nation’ in its judgment.
“According to the PDP candidate, who lost the last February poll by nearly four million votes, as released by the electoral umpire, he could ‘not fathom that in the space of a year, scores of great patriots were killed and buried secretly without their families being told.’
“In an apparent afterthought and doublespeak, he added that he was hesitant to believe that ‘such grand scale of deceit is even possible under a democracy, such as Nigeria is expected to be.’
“The above, rather than mitigate Alhaji Abubakar’s position, gives him out as someone who denigrates the country’s democracy, which he was part of building, in his heyday, before unbridled ambition blinded.
“Yes, soldiers fighting insurgency and terrorism are great patriots. But the same can’t be said of anyone quick to believe any negative story about his country, however fictive and lacking in verity as the story could be. Well, except such person had the motive of whipping up negative sentiments and emotions, so that the judiciary could respond to the ‘pulse of the nation and reflect it.’
“Therefore, in vain does anybody labour to devalue the government and its military, thinking it would fall into a grand plan to get into office through artifice. The campaigns and elections for 2019 are long over. The country has moved on. And those who know it actually know it.”