Garba Shehu”s Forex: Too Cheap A Falsehood


The brickbat between government and the opposition is taken a ridiculous dimension. False accusations are employed for personality attacks; falsehood are presented as facts, all in desperate bid to run down the current administration.

That is the context of the mischievous forex allegations against the Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu.

The actual target of the attack is Mallam Shehu, a former President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and a leading light of Nigerian media. Before his appointment as a Presidential Spokesman, Shehu is an established media guru, a successful practitioner and a well to do Nigerian by any standard. Put more directly, Shehu is not a pauper, although, he remains a very humble Nigerian.

Thus, the hue and cry about his legitimately securing $8,000 for a schooling relative is clearly a discreditable political propaganda sponsored unashamedly by agents of opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party.

The twitter handle used was @PDPNigeria, a clear indication that the intention was mainly to run down close aides and wife of the President. The twitter handle was clearly out to distort facts, manufacture false figures and attempt to tarnish the image of a hard working public official, all in pursuance of a deranged political agenda.

How $8000 transform to $800,000 is not clear. How the Twitter handle thinks that $800,000 can be paid to a single public official under this tight fiscal regime is still a mystery. In any case, the $8000 was legitimately secured with all evidence of the transaction available. The fund was released and applied for what it was meant for. No law was breached and all extant laws and rules were complied with. Shehu did not trade the forex in the black market as alleged; It was simply falsehood laced with reprehensible sensationalism.

That PDP was that reckless in handling, diverting and looting forex and public treasury does not mean all other Nigerians are the same. The way PDP messed up as confirmed by 'Dasukigate' cannot be the way of many responsible Nigerians. If @PDP is shocked and shamed at the revelations of its looting spree, it has no right to tarnish the image of honest Nigerians of which Shehu is one.

Up till now PDP and its leaders are still in shock at their rejection by Nigerians. They are still at loss with the disdain Nigerians now hold them. Whatever Nigerians are thinking now, they see the PDP as a party of very corrupt Nigerians which shared public fund into private pockets and ruined the national economy.

What could have motivated the lies against the First Lady, Shehu and other administration officials?

First may be the urge to show Nigerians that “we are all thieves” But that has failed on arrival. Nigerians know the new administration's major asset is presidential integrity, a trait amplified by personal integrity of many aides of the President. Nigerians know the APC government may have any other issue but definitely not looting and diversion of public fund.

More specifically, those who peddled the false allegations cannot withstand the redefinition of the office of the First Lady under the Buhari Presidency. Most Nigerians have a feel of a responsible woman with the carriage and etiquette in the person of Mrs Buhari as she is not like the infamous PDP's First Lady, Patience Jonathan, who destroyed and degraded the office through many unethical conduct, Aisha is a target of defamation and libel. They need to be told that Aisha is not and can never become Patience.

Other reasons may be to distract the administration now that budget implementation is about to commence. The budget is set to address many yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians. Unfortunately for false accusers, this cannot in anyway distract the administration from pursuing the anti-graft war and in delivering on many pro-people initiatives and programmes in the 2016 budget.

Back to Mallam Shehu, he is surely a target because he worked himself out as part of a team that make the current Presidency a reality. As head of the media team, he deployed all he had to bring change to Nigeria. Now that the change is here and the opposition party is in disarray, many prominent administration officials cannot but be targeted.

But my own advice to the PDP and the twitter handle in particular is for them to go and rebuild their party. Nigerians rejected the PDP for certain reasons; those reasons are still very much with the party. Aisha or Shehu are not the problem of PDP; the party's woeful record is its albatross.

To Shehu, I urge him to sue the person behind the twitter handle. State machinery should be deployed to fish out the handler. Beyond that, let him continue his good work in service of the nation.

Written by Ibrahim Adeola, a democracy activist.

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