The Presidency has dismissed as laughable the desperate attempt by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State to link President Buhari’s wife, Aisha, 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, Garba Shehu, said ordinarily the presidency would have ignored Fayose because he was a man “childishly obsessed with the desire to grab the headlines and insulting people at will because of his incurably boorish instincts.”
Mr. Garba explained however that the presidency chose to respond on this occasion for the sake of innocent Nigerians who might be misled by Mr. Fayose’s shameless and blatant distortion of facts.
He said ignoring Mr. Fayose carried 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 Mr. Shehu, Aisha had no direct, indirect or the remotest connection with William Jefferson’s corruption scandal in the United States.
He challenged Mr. 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.
Mr. Shehu also challenged Mr. Fayose to produce evidence from the records of investigation and subsequent trial of Jefferson to prove that Mr. Buhari’s wife Aisha was in anyway linked to that scandal. He explained that common names alone were not enough to automatically link innocent people to crimes or scandals, especially in an era of identity thieves.
He further challenged Mr. 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 was entitled to protect her reputation from being recklessly maligned, adding that political opposition was not a licence to attack people’s reputation brazenly without legal consequences.