Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Former vice president and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) pesidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, raised the alarm about alleged plans to contrive skirmishes in weeks ahead, so as to smear his reputation.
Atiku, in a statement by his media aide, Paul Ibe, said part of the plot is to plant fictitious stories about him in “mushroom media outlets.”
He said those orchestrating the onslaught against him also plan to contrive crisis across the country, while alleged perpetrators of the “crimes” will drop his name and that of other leaders of the PDP.
But the Federal Government has told Atiku that only the guilty are afraid.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who reacted to Atiku’s allegation, said: “I guess the former VP must have been reading, in recent times, James Hadley Chase’s 1957 thriller entitled: ‘The guilty are afraid.’”
Atiku’s statement read in part: “We wish to blow the whistle as an early warning alert of the grandiose scheme being put together by some unscrupulous elements aimed at jeopardising the reputation of His Excellency Atiku Abubakar in the coming days and weeks.
“By the merit of what is beginning to unfold, there are plans to create some upset across the country whereby alleged perpetrators of such crimes will engage in phantom names dropping of Atiku Abubakar and some senior personalities in the Peoples Democratic Party.
“Already, we are abreast of some other plans to plant fictitious stories in some mushroom media outlets aimed at discrediting Atiku and his political party, the PDP.
“It therefore becomes preponderant that we alert the public of this demonic plan and to say that it will be imprudent to compromise the peace and security of Nigerians in order to score a cheap political goal.
“Towards this end, and for the umpteenth time, we call on the federal government to be awake to its responsibilities of providing security and ensuring peace, and to desist from actions and utterances that are capable of exposing our fault lines.
“It is very unsettling that senior administration officials, especially those who are the mouthpiece of government will make reckless but calculated comments to tarnish the image of Atiku Abubakar and government will sit idly on it.
“With the conclusion reached by Premium Times’ investigative reporting that there is no evidentiary proof to back the claim by Lai Mohammed that the opposition was planning to upstage the government, we demand that the information minister should be arrested for raising false alarm and an apology rendered to Atiku Abubakar and the PDP.”