The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCPCO) has denied a claim by the People's Democratic Party (PDP), which was promoted by an opinion article in Washington Times by a one-time US ambassadorial-aide-turned-media-manager, Richard Grenell implying that the APC Presidential candidate and former military Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari is an Islamic fundamentalist prone to terrorist leanings, and therefore, should not be returned to power through the ballot on March 28.
In a swift reaction in Abuja, Mallam Garba Shehu, APCPCO's Director of Media and Publicity punctured the said provocative advertisement as the handiwork of a failed President and his ruinous party, the PDP to tarnish the hard won credibility and integrity of Gen. Buhari.
"The PDP is a troubled-cannon; firing salvos in all directions, accidentally and incidentally, without caution, care or conscience. With the stark reality of defeat staring them in the face on March 28 and April 11 general elections, a reward for their maladministration, incumbent President Jonathan and his co-travellers have intensified their global campaign of calumny and outright fallacy - their well-known stock in trade.
"Nigerians are yet to forget the phoney phone call to the King of Morocco that never was or the futile effort to stop Buhari from speaking to the world at UK think tank at Chatham House, where their rented crowd confessed to being paid for a hatchet job," Shehu said.
Shehu said the PDP was only clutching to irrelevant and irreverent decoys after abandoning serious issues of lack of power, insecurity, disunity, unemployment, infrastructural decay, comatose economy, and dysfunctional educational and health sectors, among others that affect the lives of the citizens and are concrete and poignant to the polls.
"How does a former media aide to US Ambassadors to the United Nations, now a partner in www.capitolmediapartners.com suddenly got adorned in the garb of an emissary or envoy by the PDP?" Shehu queries.
For the avoidance of doubt Richard Grenell is not a US ex-envoy but a former spokesperson for four past US Ambassadors to the United Nations
According to his bio, in 2009 Richard Grenell launched Capitol Media Partners, an international strategic media and public affairs consultancy. His agency provides strategic counsel for companies and individuals (like Jonathan and the PDP) facing critical media and public policy challenges. Mr Grenell's firm ''Capitol Media Partners'' was recruited by the Presidency and the PDP to say those unfortunate statements about General Buhari. Mr Grenell made those statements not as an envoy or diplomat but as a media contractor for the Presidency and the PDP. You may confirm the authenticity of Mr Grenell from his firm's website http://capitolmediapartners.com/
The APC Spokesman said the latest lie by this government and the ruling PDP underscores the new low to which Nigeria's foreign policy drift has sunk under the Jonathan government, which hires all manners of local and global quacks, to manage their tattered image marked by cluelessness, incompetence, squander-mania, meteoric corruption and dearth of developmental ideas.
Meanwhile, the supreme laws of Nigeria as enshrined in the country's Constitution does not allow for the dominance of one religion above the other. Nigeria is a multi religious state and cannot be a theocracy as propagated in Grenell's a-dozen-for-a-US-Dollar opinion article.
"With popular political indicators embracing the APC message of Change, and the PDP losing followership all over the country through mass defections, the drowning men of PDP are clawing to weightless straws for survival.
"How can a foreigner without a grasp of the ethics, ethos and ethno-religious diversity of our country be the one to tell us who and how we should be governed as a people? Only a cheap and sleazy government would increase its dastardly mission of increasing disaffection at home, where it has caused split in national institutions such as the Nigeria Labour Congress, National Association of Nigerian Students, Christian Association of Nigeria, Afenifere Group, Arewa Consultative Forum, Northern Elders Association, Ohaneze Ndigbo, among a legion of others by venturing disastrously abroad for global mercenaries," Shehu stressed.
He continued: "Buhari in the early 1980s, as a serving General Officer Commanding, led the army that promptly and effectively defeated the Islamic Sect of Maitasine. So for anyone to link Buhari to religious insensitivity and fanaticism is grossly unfair, malicious and libellous. The APC is a party is reflective of the diversities of Nigeria. The Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, a former state governor, is a Christian; same as the Director General of APC Presidential Campaign, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State. Other stakeholders are Chief Audu Ogbeh, Chief Tony Momoh, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, among others. How can anyone under a democratic dispensation Islamise or Christianise a country in the 21st Century."