Posted by News Express | 3 April 2013 | 4,034 times
The battle of wits between the Presidency and the Abuja-based LEADERSHIP continued this afternoon, with the former picking holes in what the paper claims to be evidence of a directive to frustrate the merger of some political parties, hound opposition leaders and increase price of petroleum products.
The paper had first made the allegation yesterday but it was promptly dismissed by the Presidency, which challenged it to provide the evidence.
In a statement released this afternoon in Abuja, presidential spokesman Dr. Doyin Okupe tore “the evidence” into shreds, lampooning LEADERSHIP for what it sees as the paper’s desperation to demonise the Presidency. Said Okupe in the statement, a copy of which was made available to News Express:
“The publication by LEADERSHIP newspaper of today 3rd April 2013 of an item purported to be a bromide of a presidential directive on a number of issues calls for concern among all stakeholders and citizens of this great country.
“We wish to state unequivocally that the document published in the newspaper alleging that the presidency has issued directives to frustrate merger of some political parties, hound opposition leaders and increase price of petroleum products is a forgery and an amateurish one for that matter.
“It is shameful that the LEADERSHIP newspaper will descend so low to publish an item which falls short of every standard official communication in form and content and attribute same to the highest office in the land.
“A close scrutiny of the bromide purportedly obtained from the presidency reveals that it is a forgery in view of the following facts:
“1. No Letter Head in the presidency has the caption “Presidential Directive” under the Coat of Arms.
“2. Contrary to communication practice in the Presidency, the said “directive” does not contain a recipient whether an individual, group or officials.
“3. The unsigned document is riddled with serious grammatical errors that could definitely not have emanated from the office of the President of Nigeria.
“4. The body of the document contains a number of inconsistencies and incongruities which every discerning person should be able to pick out. For example, items 5 and 6 in the 7- paragraph document does not contain any directive and are mere statements made by the dubious author.
“It is therefore amazing that the entire Editorial Board of the LEADERSHIP Newspaper cannot or deliberately failed to see these incongruities, libelous distortions and other evidence of falsehood which they have published as a directive from the Presidency.
“It is similarly embarrassing that the opposition political parties will jump at this cheap blackmail and try to incite members of the public based on a false, nonexistent document.
“This shows opposition political leaders as gullible, undiscerning and lacking in capacity for deep thinking.
“If people with dubious tactics and strategy are the caliber of people angling to govern Nigeria, then as a Nation we must intensify our prayers.
“We have said it before and will say it again that the coming together of any political parties or associations is of no concern to President Goodluck Jonathan and the leadership of these groups should stop running helter-skelter when no one is chasing them neither should they seek for scapegoats in the Presidency for their own self inflicted inadequacies.
“We wish to reiterate the need for journalists to uphold high ethical standards in reportage and commentaries. It is unfortunate that some media practitioners are taking the liberal democratic atmosphere in the country for granted through a deliberate abuse of press freedom and the publication of false and malicious news items with the intent of causing confusion and ill feelings among the citizenry. This is irresponsible, unprofessional and definitely subversive.”
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