A war of words has broken out between Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhar on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu and co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls Movement (BBOG), Oby Ezekwesili.
Ezekwesili, who supported Buhari in 2015, has criticised the President’s policies in some occasions.
However, Shehu on Thursday, questioned the former Education Minister’s integrity as a social crusader and rights activist.
In a statement, the presidential spokesman wondered why Ezekwesilii was “timidly silent” over the “lawlessness” of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but found the voice to condemn the activities of the army in Abia state.
He was speaking in reaction to Ezekwesili’s recent warning to President Muhammadu Buhari not to alienate the entire Igbo race through the ongoing Operation Python Dance II in the region.
Ezekwesili had accused Buhari of being a tribal leader.
Shehu said: “While it is convenient for the civil society activist to condemn the military and the government of President Buhari, Mrs Ezekwesili didn’t find it appropriate, even once, to criticise the dangerous and violent propaganda being propagated by the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu. Oby, as they call her, tweets on everything. Why was she silent on this one?”
Shehu wondered why Ezekwesili “retreated to the background or lost her voice while IPOB supporters were violently molesting, attacking and jeopardising the lives of indigenes and non-indigenes.
“Her hypocritical and timid silence, while Kanu’s IPOB supporters were engaged in lawlessness and recklessness in violation of his bail conditions, is a burden on her credibility as a national crusader who should be courageous to condemn criminality.
“This art of using a raincoat while taking a bath is nothing short of self-deceit.
“Seeking to make political capital out of a chaotic situation is highly unbecoming of her and of the reputation she has worked hard to build over the years.”
He added that it is “ridiculous” to accuse the president of sending soldiers to the south-east because he hates the Igbo, saying the Buhari-led administration “respects all citizens and will ensure that they are safe and secure wherever they reside”.
While condemning reported “indefensible and reckless” attack on soldiers and policemen by IPOB members, Shehu urged Ezekwesili not to “elevate mobs to the status of rock stars for the sake of playing to the gallery”.
He said: “There is a deliberate sinister agenda by IPOB to provoke the soldiers into killing innocent people in retaliation so that Nnamdi Kanu would use the pictures of the victims for international propaganda by accusing the government of ethnic cleansing against the Igbos with the sole purpose of gaining sympathy.”
But after seeing the headline by TheCable which partly read: Garba Shehu slams Ezekwesili, the ex-minister hit back at Shehu, describing him as “model of incompetence”.
In a series of tweets via her Twitter handle, she wrote: “Garba Shehu? Slam? For where! Garba Shehu’s incompetency is legendary. ‘Presidential Spokesman’. Model of Incompetency.
“Shehu see, your predecessor once called me and others ‘psychological terrorists’ for asking their government to lead!
“To a very incompetent fellow like Shehu, asking his principal to arise and lead in time of crisis is ‘pettiness.’
“A man like Shehu cannot give what he does not have.”