The Chief Executive Officer of AITEO group, Benedict Peters, has denied funding the Third Force suggested by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari last week, describing the rumour as the handiwork of detractors.
The businessman, in a statement described those who named him as a financier of such venture as not only vile and callous but also insensitive and inconsiderate.
“My attention has been drawn to a tweet in which I was mentioned as the major financier of a political movement or organization, presumably not even in existence, called the “Third Force.” While I have received calls and messages advising me to ignore the tweet and regard its publication as the handiwork of detractors, the delicate nature of the tweet – having taken into consideration my travails in recent times, fuelled largely by the adverse effects of incomprehensible media falsehood – require that I immediately, authorize the release of a rebuttal, given the malicious, damaging effect the unprofessional tweet is capable of creating.
“For the record, I wish to state, categorically and unequivocally, that I am not a financier of the said organisation or any socio-political partisan association or political party in Nigeria or any where else in the world. As an International businessman of repute, I have deliberately stayed away from politics, preferring, instead, to focus and give my all to the development of my business interests across the African continent. Corporate Social Responsibility contributions has seen the Aiteo Group, which I lead, provide investment support in medicine and medical research dedicated to seeking cures for several ailments which afflicts the African continent as well as investment in sports as a panacea for the development of Africa’s teeming youth population. The latter has been particularly evident in football where we have major relationships with the Nigerian Football Federation and Confederation of African Football (CAF). This is even as we continue to regularly provide financial support and investments to encourage building the “Nigerian Dream” through multi-dimensional and multifaceted socio economic interventions. “Neither I, my immediate family or companies in which I have interests would embark on the sponsorship of a movement which is unknown to us. This would be crass irresponsible unity and inconsistent with the commercial prudence that a businessman of my accomplishment would consider. “To, therefore, name me as a financier of such a venture is not only vile and callous, it is insensitive and inconsiderate. It is a sad reminder of the length that some people, manipulating the malleable, depraved and downright dishonest elements of the media, can go (for reasons best known to them) in their despicable and contemptible attempts to continue to pitch me against the government of the day in Nigeria! “Apart from seeking to impugn my integrity as the publication has done, the authors appear to premise the absurdity of their fabrication on my very well publicized relationship with former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR. I confirm that I know the former President very well. He is like a father to me.
He was a friend of my father, the late Chief F.B Peters and has a relationship with my family that dates back over 30 years. In the publishers’ indecent haste to malign the former president and I, amongst others, they demonstrated a shameful shallowness that paid no heed to the very personal nature of our relationship. For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, I also confirm, categorically, that the former President has, on no occasion, discussed or mentioned any such plan or intention to me. This situation very pointedly affirms the irrationality and farcicality of the allegations as a whole.
“As unconvincing and implausible as these allegations are, I am constrained to take steps to address these unbridled excesses as a means of protecting my family, my business and I from these unwarranted personal attacks. Accordingly, I have instructed my lawyers to immediately take steps to obtain a retraction, in the absence of which they are to take all steps available to provide me with protection, remedy and relief. I ask the general public and well meaning Nigerians at home and abroad, to disregard the tweet and its contents. It is nothing but fake news,” the statement read.