The Presidency has dismissed as laughable the attempt by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State to link wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, to US Congressman, William Jefferson’s bribery scandal for which the American lawmaker was convicted in 2009.
Reacting to Mr Fayose’s allegations in a press statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said that ordinarily the Presidency would have ignored Fayose because he is a man “childishly obsessed with the desire to grab the headlines and insulting people at will because of his incurably boorish instincts.”
Garba explained however that “the Presidency chose to respond on this occasion for the sake of innocent Nigerians who might be misled by Fayose’s shameless and blatant distortion of facts”.
He said ignoring Fayose carries the risk of giving traction and credibility to outright and brazen falsehoods inconsistent with the status of anybody that calls himself a Governor or leader.
According to Shehu, Aisha had no direct, indirect or the remotest connection with William Jefferson’s corruption scandal in the United States.
He challenged Fayose to tell Nigerians if the so-called Aisha whose pictures he proudly, but ignorantly shared, was the same Aisha married to President Muhammadu Buhari, or if the Aisha of his idle imagination had any relationship by blood or any relationship in whatever form, with President Buhari’s wife.
Shehu also challenged the Ekiti Governor to produce evidence from the records of investigation and subsequent trial of Jefferson to prove that Buhari’s wife Aisha was in anyway linked to that scandal.
He explained that common names alone are not enough to automatically link innocent people to crimes or scandals, especially in an era of identity thieves.
He further challenged Fayose to show proof when and where Aisha Buhari was invited for interrogation in connection with Congressman William Jefferson’s bribery scandal, let alone indicted for a crime locally or abroad.
According to the Presidential Media Aide, free speech does not entitle Governor Fayose to falsely accuse innocent people of crimes they knew nothing about.
He warned Fayose that Aisha Buhari is entitled to protect her reputation from being recklessly maligned, adding that political opposition is not a licence to attack people’s reputation brazenly without legal consequences.