Special Adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, has clarified a comment made by President Muhammadu Buhari during his recent visit to Imo State.
Buhari met with some South East leaders during his one-day visit to Imo State, on Thursday.
In a video recording shared by the presidency, Buhari was seen telling the state governor, Hope Uzodinma, that he would be careful about future invitations to the state.
“I am overwhelmed by this reception; overwhelmed in the sense that when I accepted the invitation by the Imo State Governor, who wants to justify investments the government has done to the people of Imo State, I thought I would see the bridges, the roads and a few renovations.
“He didn’t tell me he was going to get the whole Igbo leadership here. So, in the future, when he invites me, I’ll know what to do,” Buhari had said.
While ending his address, the president said: “Governor of Imo State, I cannot thank you enough, but I will be careful with your future invitations.”
Clarifying Buhari’s closing comment in a statement on Sunday, Adesina said the president’s comment was “deliberately” taken out of context.
“We have observed that President Buhari’s concluding remarks at the meeting with South East Leaders during his one-day visit to Imo State is being deliberately contorted and twisted out of context.
“The purveyors of disinformation want Nigerians to believe that the President bluntly told Governor Uzodinma, ‘‘I’ll be careful with your future invitations.’’
“They have adduced different meanings to the phrase, contrary to the context wherein the President spoke during his successful dialogue with leaders of thought from Igbo land.
“When he arrived at the banquet hall of Imo State Government House for his last assignment in Owerri, the President was welcomed by over 50 leaders from the South East who had waited patiently for him for a Town Hall engagement, after commissioning strategic projects in the state
“An elated President Buhari made it clear that he was expressly overwhelmed by the reception and galaxy of personalities that travelled from the five South Eastern States to have a heart-to-heart discussion with him in Owerri, the Imo State capital,” Adesina said.
This, the Presidency says, has no other meaning other than the light nature with which Buhari made the statement.
“The President’s historic visit to Imo State was very successful and the Igbo leaders who met him shared the same enthusiasm that his coming to the Eastern heartland would bring peace, foster unity, encourage good and better understanding among the citizenry,” he added.