From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The media campaign group promoting the presidential ambition of Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, called Osinbajo for President Media Council, has raised alarm over plot to smear him, ahead of the All Progressives Congress’ primary election.
In a statement titled Exposed: Plot to smear Osinbajo with false testimonies of discrimination against women wearing hijab”, the group says there is a plan to use fake audio of faceless individuals with fake names to discredit Osinbajo as a religious bigot.
The group linked the plot to US based Nigerian who was formerly a Students Union President at the University of Lagos and is currently a lecturer at the University of Ohio in the USA.
The statement read: “The Osinbajo for President Media Council has uncovered yet another fraudulent plan to malign the reputation of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of Nigeria and a Presidential Aspirant on the platform of the APC.
The plot has been traced to a cell of smear campaigners, led by a US based Nigerian who was formerly a Students Union President at the University of Lagos. The same individual is currently a lecturer at the University of Ohio in the USA.
The plan is to use fake audio of faceless individuals with fictitious names to cast the Vice President, who is a Christian, as a religious fanatic, who discriminated against staff of other faith while he was Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State during the tenure of former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In the fake video, a woman is seen crying and making frantic allegations that she was discriminated against by the then Attorney-General, because she was not allowed to wear the Muslim head cover for women, otherwise known as the hijab, to work. As observed by someone who was in the same Ministry at the time Osinbajo served as Attorney-General, no such incident ever occurred and this is just a malicious and wicked attempt to sully the sterling qualities of Prof. Osinbajo because of his Presidential aspirations.
Indeed, as Attorney-General, Prof Osinbajo’s Secretary, a Muslim, Alhaji Abdul Gafar Bakare had testified before now that the then Lagos AG “did not only encourage me to further my education even at my relatively old age, he personally sponsored my BSc Accounting Program.” He added that the VP also sponsored his foreign travel then.
It would be recalled that similar smear campaigns were unleashed against President Muhammadu Buhari, especially during the 2014-15 Presidential campaigns, when it was alleged that he was virulently anti-Christian. The attempt however met with failure.
Even though a Christian Pastor, Prof Osinbajo has always demonstrated himself to be a tolerant Nigerian who believes in the inter-faith harmony and Freedom of Worship as enshrined in the Nigerian 1999 Constitution as amended. During his career as a university teacher, he taught Moslems and Christians alike in a convivial atmosphere. He also had excellent working and private relationships with Muslim bosses over the decades, including Judge Bola Ajibola, Former Governor Tinubu and President Muhammadu Buhari. Osinbajo remains a firm believer in Nigeria’s diversity and ardent proponent of Nigerian unity.
For these reasons, the Media Council feels the need to alert the general public to the odious campaign strategy of Osinbajo detractors and urge everyone to ignore same when released to the public.