The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has disassociated himself from his aide who said that President Muhammadu Buhari cared more about his cows than Nigerians who are suffering economic hardship.
The governor’s media aide, Essien Ndueso, Thursday, posted on Facebook, photos of Mr. Buhari’s recent visit to his ranch in Daura, and said of the photos, “Today, we are in an administration that cows fare better than human beings.”
Mr. Ndueso mockingly added that “If the cost of grass were to increase, or if anyone were to tamper with the comfort of these cows, I am sure Baba would come back and take urgent actions.
“Today fuel is N180 and those who earn their wages monthly from worshipping Baba on Facebook are also suffering the same fate,” he said.
The comment attracted an outrage from some Nigerians, especially Mr. Buhari’s supporters.
Governor Emmanuel, who is outside the country, issued a quick rebuttal through his spokesperson, Ekerete Udo.
A government source said the governor was angry with the attack on the president, and ordered that the Government House issue a response.
“We wish to use this opportunity to state categorically that the comment expressed by Mr. Essien Ndueso does not represent in any form, shape, manner or appearance the views of the Government and the good people of Akwa Ibom State,” the governor’s spokesperson, Ekerete Udoh, said in a statement issued on Friday. “We hereby, totally and unreservedly disassociate ourselves from the referenced comment.”
The statement said Mr. Ndueso’s comment was his “personal opinion” and that it was “ill-conceived” and “obtuse”.
“The Governor and indeed the entire Government of Akwa Ibom State hold President Buhari who indeed is the Father of the Nation in the highest of esteem, and the two leaders enjoy a close and cordial relationship that goes beyond political labels and affiliations,” the statement said.
“Even though the nation is going through tough and challenging economic times, we believe and trust the resilience of Nigerians, our ingenuity, and innate capacity to reinvent the wheels, and together, in spite of our political differences, we remain inexorably tied to our common destiny which requires all hands on the deck to move our dear nation forward,” he said.
The governor also ordered Mr. Ndueso to apologise to President Buhari, a source disclosed.
“The post which was a light-hearted comment was never intended to ridicule the President,” Mr. Ndueso said on Facebook while apologising to President Buhari.
However, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state said it was difficult for Governor Emmanuel to extricate himself from the conduct of Mr. Ndueso and his other aides.
According to the party, the president had been constantly attacked and ridiculed on the social media by many of the governor’s aides.
“APC is dissatisfied with this lame measure and the Government’s response to the consistent media attacks at the office of the President and the willful attempt to ridicule and denigrate President Muhammadu Buhari,” the party said in a statement issued on Saturday through its spokesperson, Edet Bassey.
“Taking cognizance of Buhari’s fatherly disposition to Udom as seen in his various private visits to the President and many official trips he has undertaken with Mr. President, it is difficult to comprehend whether Udom is acting in concert with his aides to denigrate the President or they are on a frolic of their own,” Mr. Bassey said, adding that the governor should apologise to the president.
Imaobong Akpan, a supporter of Mr. Buhari in Akwa Ibom, reacted to the controversy thus, “It is both ironic and incredible as this same president is seen to be favourably disposed to the Akwa Ibom state governor.
“A situation where Governor Emmanuel’s media aides will sing praises of their boss being a ‘favoured’ and a regular guest to Mr. President because of his (Mr. Emmanuel’s) ‘capacity and intelligence’, while denigrating the president, on one hand, has become a situation of extreme recklessness and demands a drastic action,” she said.