Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has vowed to drag Vanguard newspaper to court over a story credited to him on the Indigenous People of Biafra and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The story, which had been pulled down by Vanguard newspaper from its website as at press time, was denied by the Atiku Media Office.
In a statement titled: “Purported article on Kanu in circulation is fake news,” the AMO said: “It has come to the notice of the Atiku Media Office that there is an opinion article titled ‘IPOB: Loathe or love Kanu, he has fought better – Atiku’ purportedly written and signed by His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007 and chieftain of All Progressives Congress in circulation.
What started as the handiwork of mischief makers and their sponsors bent on tarnishing the reputation of the Waziri Adamawa was first noticed on chat rooms.
“But having found its way on the website of a reputable newspaper which obviously fell victim to the evil work of the scammers, the media office of the former Vice President is compelled to respond and to state as follows:
“1. That the article in circulation is unknown to Atiku Abubakar or Atiku Media Office;
“2. That His Excellency Atiku Abubakar never signed any opinion article with that title in circulation;
“3. That this is the handiwork of evil people and their cowardly sponsors aimed at soiling the reputation of Atiku Abubakar and his political standing;
“4. That this signposts a wicked and deliberate plot to unleash media attack on Atiku Abubakar with a view to portraying him in bad light;
“5. That this is classical Fake News;
“6. The Atiku Media Office urges Nigerians and the reading public to discountenance the article and to be vigilant as more of such diabolical stuff are underway.”
The statement was signed by Mazi Paul Ibe.
Reacting on his Twitter handle on Wednesday evening, Abubakat tweeted: “This is the most disrespectful act I have seen from a news organization. The news is fake, and my lawyers will be writing to Vanguard.”
He then went on to add for emphasis: “Dear @vanguardngrnews, this fake news from your platform amounts to slander. Our legal team will be writing you shortly.”
The story, which had been pulled down by Vanguard, reads: “For 35 years, Anthony Enahoro, Afenifere, Ben Nwabueze, OPC, ọhaneze, MEND, MASSOB, Awolowo, and other reputable Nigerians tried and begged for restructuring, the north rebuffed them. No body even took them serious. Nobody listened. Then a little known rabble-rouser ran a pirate radio station from his matchbox room in Peckham. In three years he made the hitherto unfashionable and impossible thing central to our national politics. Elrufai was in London yesterday talking restructuring. They fought in Ondo in a meeting on restructuring, there is a Yoruba declaration. Northern elders are shifting ground while pretending to grandstand. You don’t have to agree with his style, I also don’t, but you must be one pretentious clown if you don’t acknowledge that Nnamdi Kanu, loathe or love him, has achieved what all those people and organizations have been fighting for over 35 years without success. He did it in three years. The mass movement he inspired became a huge threat to the establishment. They had to take him out. Sadly, ethnic bịas and hate from those who accuse him (rightly too) won’t let folks see or acknowledge what this man has done. The fire he lit up will definitely lead to something tangible happening this time. People aren’t ready to take no and platitudes for answers again. This much you can concede to kanu without letting the hate you often accuse of him of get the better of you. Dead or alive, the little rabble-rouser from Afara-ukwu Umuahia has secured his place in history. In the final analysis, immortality isn’t how long you live. It is how long your name is remembered, and for good or bad, Kanu will be remembered for ages as the man that took aim at the very heart of the Nigerian political establishment and they rolled in the tanks to quell him. That is something you must concede. When history is made, the protagonists rarely know the consequences of the chain of events they unleashed. But posterity will always remember. Kanu has been many things to many people- uncouth, brash, hateful, obsessed, a charlatan, a clown, a messiah, a saviour, a fraud, etc. We can’t seem to agree. We must agree though that he has also been an agent of change. Should the current fever on restructuring succeed, Kanu should take credit for birthing it.