Both Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and his Borno counterpart, Kashim Shettima, have disowned an allegedly taped phone conversation circulating on social media, which was being passed around as a conversation between the two governors.
In the 20:38 (twenty minutes and thirty-eight seconds) audio, Amosun and Shettima were allegedly taped discussing Biafran agitation and what Hausa and Yoruba should do to outwit the Igbo.
Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Otunba Dayo Adeneye, said the conversation never took place and attributed it to the handiwork of mischief makers and agent provocateurs bent on heating the polity and setting people against themselves. Isa Gusau, who spoke on behalf of Governor Shettima accused a yet-to-be identified presidential aspirant from northern Nigerian as being the mastermind of the phoney tape.
“The voice in the forgery which they paraded as that of Governor Amosun is not that of His Excellency and a simple search on the internet for any speech by him would convince those who are not familiar with his voice that the producers of the audio recording did a poor and unintelligent imitation”, Adeneye said.
“The peddlers of such falsehood appear to have a wild scheme which appears to be part of what may be turning out to be the wider script, by some unpatriotic elements, aimed at further causing divisions in Nigeria. It is meant to feed into, as well as further exacerbate the already highly combustible wave of agitation in the land. This evil plot will not work. Indeed this is not the first time some unpatriotic and vile individuals would spread falsehood about the person of Governor Amosun.
“Governor Amosun is committed to peaceful co-existence of all groups in Nigeria and will not engage in conversations that would threaten the peace and unity of Nigeria. He, therefore, counseled politicians and other public office seekers to play politics without bitterness and dwell more on things that unite us rather than those that seek to divide us”.
Gusau, Governor Shettima’s spokesman, similarly debunked the audio. He said the voice purported to be Shettima’s was not his.
Gusau supplied a video of Governor Shettima’s interview with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) as further proof that the voice in the audio tape was that of an impostor.
“The caller who is being presented as Governor Shettima speaks very fast as against the relatively slower tone of Shettima. The caller’s didn’t have any Kanuri accent whereas Governor Shettima has some Kanuri accent. The caller had at the opening of his 20 minutes conversation with a so called Governor Amosun, first introduced himself as a PDP member whereas Governor Shettima is known to be in the APC.
“Also in the conversation, the caller addresses his recipient as ‘Kunle’ with no respectful prefix of ‘Your Excellency’ as Shettima is known to be using in most of his conversations with fellow Governors.
“The caller went ahead to contradict himself as he promotes and at the same time castigates Buhari while also insulting National Leaders that include the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and also insulting people of the entire southeast.
“The entire aim is to set up the leaders against Governor Shettima and also incite Nigerians from the southern part of Nigeria against him,” Gusau explained.
Shettima’s spokesman noted that the latest plot was part of series of strategies being deployed by a particular northern Nigerian who aspires to contest the 2019 Presidency and is waging war against some Governors including Shettima.
“We are aware that one particular presidential aspirant from the north has declared a war of mischief to destroy some persons including Governor Kashim Shettima. Late last week, a group working for him came up with some series of questions claiming they were products of a paper delivered by one Professor Ahmad Isah Harun who is non-existent.
“The questions were all direct attacks on the reputation of Governor Shettima.
“This week, the group followed up with a stage-managed telephone conversation.
Funny enough, they got someone whose voices didn’t even have the slightest similarity with that of Governor Shettima. They also got someone who spoke incoherently.
“We believe more of these mischief will come as the aspirant for whatever reason, sees Shettima as his major problem even when the Governor has neither indicated interest for the 2019 Presidential elections nor has he the resources to prosecute such as ambition.
“We however like to remind the aspirant that he should never mistake Governor Shettima’s humility for weakness. Governor Shettima may appear soft on the outside but he is a tough bird that has survived far bigger onslaught including Boko Haram.
“The Governor has survived moments when a sitting President with all his powers and machinery couldn’t pull him down.
“He was able to politically neutralise a big politician who is today the only problem of an opposition political party. He has survived different conspiracy theories and we are sure minor intrigues like the ones being deployed in the name of politics will also come to pass like those before them”, Gusau said. (NAN)