Wednesday, September 2, 2015 8:48 am
Shehu Garba, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity reiterated in a chat with journalists that the documents, “One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days” and “My Covenant With Nigerians”, did not emanate from the authentic channel of the campaign’s media department.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the presidency have been under criticisms over the disowning of the two documents which are being used to analyse President Muhammadu Buhari’s 100 days in office.
The presidential aide asked Nigerians to ignore the claims from certain quarters that the president specifically made promises of achievements within his 100 days in office, adding that he never authorized or signed any document in this regard in his capacity as the director, media and communications of the Buhari campaign organisation.
According to him, Nigerians should be concerned with milestones reached within the period under review by the President, rather than achievements.
Shehu said, “We prefer to talk about milestones instead of achievements. Whether the milestones represent achievements or not, that is left for the people to decide. Milestones have been achieved which is important for the country.”
Recalling what Buhari said during his lecture at Chatham House in London, he insisted, “The President never promised anything to anyone. It is on record in that lecture at Chatham House they asked him a question relating to expectations and what he specifically would do in relation to certain documents that were flying around committing him to this thing or that thing within 100 days.
“In that lecture- the video is already now viral on the web- he (Buhari) said ‘it contained falsehood and I am not going to be engaged in deceit. I will go in there, I will see what is there and then get the intelligence – the knowledge of things that are going on- and I will fully commit myself to serving Nigeria’”.
On the two documents in which Nigerians are holding the Buhari’s government to, he said, “My point is that as the director, media and communications of that campaign, I was responsible for internal and external communications and these so-called documents that are been flown around didn’t have my signature.
“I didn’t fund them and I didn’t authorize them. From what President Buhari himself had said at Chatham House, he had no iota or knowledge of those documents. So, people cannot hold him to account on something to which he did not commit himself”.
On why the APC posted the documents on its website, the presidential spokesman explained that the party had many centres of communication, some of which were on the loose.
He said, “APC had a campaign in which there were so many centres of public communication and unfortunately there were some among those centres that were more or less on the loose. Yes, it was possible that things were being done without the knowledge or the usage of the proper channel of communication.
“We prefer to talk about milestones instead of achievements. Whether the milestones represent achievements or not, that is left for the people to decide. Milestones have been reached which is important for the country.”
Shehu made allusions to the transcript of the president’s response to the question posed to him in Chatham House in which he stated categorically that he would remove the idea of 100 days because it was fraudulent.
The presidential aide quoted Buhari as saying: “The second one: high expectations and what to do with the first 100 days. Yes, I respect that question because quietly I was thinking about these high expectations. Those who are following the trail of our campaigns can see how people are turning out, some becoming emotional and crying.
“I am really getting scared that if I get there they will expect miracles within the next week or months. That would be very dicey handling that one. I think we have to have a deliberate campaign to temper high expectations with some reasonableness on the part of those who are expecting miracles to happen.
“Just to go first to the ‘first 100 days’, some of it is fraudulent and I don’t want to participate in any fraud in any form. Nigerians know that we are in trouble as a people and as a country. When we get there we will quickly get correct intelligence of what is on the ground and inform Nigerians and just learn what I have just read.
“We will make sure that the misappropriation and misapplication of public resources will not be allowed. You would be surprised by how much savings we will realize. That saving will be ploughed back into development and this is what I can promise. But I would remove that ‘100 days.’”