The Presidency has condemned what it described as “a twisted story with malicious intent” which was published in Saturday Punch of September 14, with the headline; “Tribunal: Buhari retracts, confesses he was under tension”.
The news story was derived from what the President said when he received All Progressives Congress governors, who had come to felicitate with him at State House, Abuja on Friday.
The President’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, in a statement in Abuja on Saturday, said the newspaper was being mischievous by trying to link up what the president said in an earlier statement (on the judgment) with his remarks during the Friday visit.
The statement read part: “Referring specifically to judgment day by the tribunal, which coincided with the maiden meeting of the Federal Executive Council, President Buhari had said: “It was a fabulous coincidence that it came almost the same time the first FEC meeting of this government was taking place.
“It lasted about the same time with the judgment. I thank God for that because I think I would have gone into trauma or something. So, I was busy trying to concentrate on the memos.
“An elementary understanding of the English language shows that President Buhari was talking specifically of the day and time of the court ruling, not before.
“Saturday Punch went further to say that the President’s remarks amounted to a retraction of his earlier statement, in which he said he had been unperturbed about the judicial challenge to his electoral victory.
“Hear the statement personally approved earlier on Wednesday by the President: ‘Good conscience fears no evil report. I was unperturbed all along because I knew Nigerians freely gave us the mandate. We are now vindicated.’
“I was unperturbed all along… Was that referring to judgment day? A simple comprehension of English language indicates otherwise. It referred to the many months the case lasted in court.”
The presidential aide further frowned at the allegation by the newspaper that the President may not have been privy to the earlier statement that emanated from his media office.
He said: “To further show malice and evil intent, the newspaper indicated that the President may not have been privy to the earlier statement that emanated from his media office. Who does that, for such a landmark development, without the consent of the principal?
“As a piece of information, the President personally approved the statement for release, as the FEC meeting was winding to a close.
“If stories end up being dumped in Saturday Punch without the editor approving it, then the newspaper should not use such pedestrian standard in judging the media office of the President.”