The Presidency has dismissed the alleged endorsement of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the APC candidate in the Feb. 14 presidential election by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
In a statement in Abuja on Thursday, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, described the reported endorsement as a poisoned chalice.
Abati advised Buhari not to “place stock on an endorsement from a convicted criminal and his group who harbour evil intentions against the unity and progress of their country”.
He also said the attacks on President Goodluck Jonathan in the purported MEND’s statement endorsing Buhari were “mischievous, baseless and deliberately styled to denigrate the good works of the president’’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the alleged MEND’s endorsement came in a statement issued on Tuesday by its spokesperson, Gbomo Jomo, through an electronic mail.
Abati said:”We have noted with amusement, the vituperations against Jonathan by the renegade faction of MEND headed by the convicted terrorist, Henry Okah, in a statement.
“The statement was issued to endorse the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
“We thank all people of Niger Delta, including the former militants whom MEND claims to represent and who have already disassociated themselves from the statement issued by the faceless Jomo Gbomo.
“We thank them for reaffirming their unflinching support for Jonathan’s re-election bid.
“We will like to state that the latest assault on the president by Henry Okah and his stooges does not come as a surprise to us at all.
“It was very much to be expected, coming as it did from an individual and group who had never hidden their vengeful personal animosity against the president.
“They have even gone to the extent of launching murderous assaults on venues at which the president was present on two occasions.
“It is regrettable that rather than show remorse for terrorist acts against Nigeria for which he is serving a term of imprisonment in South Africa, Okah continues to pursue personal vendetta against Jonathan.
“This is a president who continues to advance and protect the interests of the people of the Niger Delta which Okah and his group threatened with their misguided actions,’’ he said.
Abati said it was well known that the president played a significant role in ending the militancy and insurgency in the Niger Delta.
Under the Jonathan administration, he said, the destruction of oil facilities and incessant kidnapping and killing of expatriates in the Niger Delta waterways had become a thing of the past.
He said the attempt by Jomo Gbomo’s MEND to rewrite history by trying to tarnish Jonathan’s personality “for selfish, pecuniary and political gains’’ would fail.
“All patriotic and right-thinking Nigerians must consider an endorsement from a convicted criminal and his group who harbour evil intentions against the unity and progress of their country as a poisoned chalice.
“Jonathan would never have accepted such an endorsement from terrorists and renegades.
“The president, therefore, advises Buhari not to place any stock on his purported endorsement by the renegade faction of MEND.
“It is common knowledge that this faction is led by a convicted and unrepentant terrorist with whom no leader who truly means well for Nigeria should be associated,’’ Abati said.
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