A pressure group, the Value and Integrity Group, has demanded that Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State and Femi Fani-Kayode, the Director, Media and Publicity of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization, tender “immediate and unconditional apologies” to Nigerians.
In a statement Sunday, the group accused the duo of engaging in highly divisive and reprehensible roles in the run-up to and during the presidential campaigns.
“Their approach and strategy of divisive and hate speech generated tension and heated up the polity remarkably”, the group said in a statement signed by Sina Odugbemi and Popoola Ajayi, Coordinator and Secretary General respectively.
“While we appreciate the congratulatory and good-will messages from all Nigerians to the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, we believe that it would set a dangerous precedent for politicians to simply offer glib congratulatory messages to the winner whom they had done so much to damage through foul, unethical and highly immoral campaign utterances and strategies”.
It would be recalled that Fayose and Fani-Kayode launched separately, one of the ruling PDP’s most vile and vicious campaign against the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, ahead of the March 28 presidential election.
Fayose took his smear campaign a notch higher when he implied that Buhari, who was around the same age with his mother, wears baby ‘pampers’ as he no longer has control of his body system. On the other hand, Fani-Kayode alleged that the APC flag bearer was receiving funding from terrorist groups including the Boko Haram and ISIS.
However, after Mr. Buhari was declared the winner of the presidential poll, the duo sent in messages congratulating him on his victory.
While Mr. Fayose hailed the resilience of the president-elect, Mr. Fani-Kayode explained that his attacks were not personal but what his job required of him.
But the Value and Integrity Group rejected the explanations, saying the Ekiti State governor’s congratulatory message in particular, reeked of “crass opportunism”.
“Indeed, we are concerned that the message is best described as deceitful, considering that Mr. Fayose personally signed all damaging advertorials and public statements on Gen. Buhari. Why is he now directing his aide to sign a history making congratulatory message? Where is the sincerity?
“We accept the call by the President-elect Buhari to be magnanimous in victory, but believe the process of moving forward should start when the likes of Fayose and Fani-Kayode apologise for the deliberate slander and character assassination that was engaged in during periods leading to the election”.
The group further stated that the hatred displayed by Messrs Fayose and Fani-Kayode had no place in what was merely a contest of ideologies.
“We therefore restate our position that a proper and genuine congratulatory message should begin with a public apology from both Fayose and Fani-Kayode”, they said.
“Only after such would we consider any congratulatory message personally signed as genuine and sincere.
“Finally, we felicitate with all Nigerians on their resilience, endurance and perseverance during the March 28 elections and promise to engage the incoming president to implement progressive policies and programs at all levels, to provide Nigerians with security, employment, strategic infrastructure and people-oriented economic development and growth”.