Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has pointed fingers at the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters (Vice President’s Office), Babafemi Ojudu, accusing him of planting a report in the press about his visit to President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.
The report in a national daily claimed that Mr Fayemi had visited Aso Villa on Tuesday alongside Victor Giadom who lays claim to the seat of national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
It said that Fayemi tried to win Buhari over to Giadom, although the APC National Working Committee favours former Oyo governor, Abiola Ajimobi, for the position.
The report also claimed that the visit was futile as the “duo couldn’t see Buhari despite spirited attempts”.
But Fayemi, in a statement on Wednesday by his spokesman, Yinka Oyebode, alleged that Mr Ojudu fabricated the story to tarnish his reputation.
Fayemi said he and three other governors met Buhari and that he never went to the villa with Giadom, although he privately met the president’s chief of staff, Ibrahim Gambari.
The statement read: “The attention of the general public is being drawn to a misleading publication… with headline ‘Fayemi’s failed mission to Villa with Giadom’, published in the online edition on Wednesday, June 24th, 2020.
“The falsehood, we gathered reliably, was fabricated by a senior aide of the Presidency and a former Senator, Babafemi Ojudu, and planted in The Nation Newspaper, after it was rejected by some State House Correspondents, who rebuffed the former Senator for the misleading and malicious story.
“It is on record that Senator Ojudu, in his desperate bid to rubbish Governor Fayemi, had told his close associates that he would battle Governor Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) with falsehood and cheap blackmail in his nefarious attempt to destabilize APC in Ekiti State.
“For the purpose of clarity, it is important to state that the Nation’s report was clearly a misleading one designed to cast aspersion on the person of Governor Fayemi and create an impression that the NGF Chairman is an unwanted visitor at the Villa. The largely unsubstantiated report was filled with bile, childish and unexplainable fury that signified nothing, just like a tale fit only for the tabloids.
“In setting the record straight, we hereby state unequivocally that Governor Fayemi had no plan nor reason to see Mr President on Tuesday late afternoon as maliciously presented in the Nation’s report. The Governor, had earlier seen Mr President at noon in company of three of his colleagues – Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Governor Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Governor Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa). Also present at that meeting were the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari and Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
“Governor Fayemi was in the villa later in the afternoon to see the COS and State Chief of Protocol (SCOP). The Ekiti State Governor was never denied any opportunity to see President Buhari as he did not ask to see the President and neither did he go with Chief Giadom.
“Governor Fayemi’s position on the APC crisis has been to consistently subsume his views in the position of the Progressives Governors Forum as expressed by the Chairman. He has not spoken on the party crisis in any public forum but continue to urge all members and lovers of the party to exercise restraint and support the leader of the party, President Mohammadu Buhari and other leaders desirous of resolution to give peace a chance.”
Ojudu told TheCable when asked for comments that the allegation was false.
“In the words of Socrates ‘when the argument is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser,'” he said.
Meanwhile, President Buhari on Wednesday endorsed Giadom as rightful acting national chairman of the APC.