The former Media Aide to the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi when he was the Governor of Rivers State, Ms. Ibim Semenitari, has dismissed the the leaked tapes tapes attributed to her former boss as a cut and paste attempt to twist facts.
Amaechi had in a recorded secret chat written off President Muhammadu Buhari, whose re-election bid he leads as a non-performer under whose leadership the country would never improve.
The recording, which was made available to the media by a spokesperson for the Atiku Abubakar campaign, Mr. Phrank Shaibu read:
“These are not things you publish ooo. If you publish them, you will never sit with me any day.
“Three years of Buhari oo, everybody is crying, crying…pressmen are crying, farmers are crying, workers are crying, politicians are crying, students are crying, three years oo!
“The rate of poverty is very high. The people are hungry. Nigeria will never change!”
But Semenitari who was also the former Commissioner of Information in Rivers State and one time Acting Director General of Niger Delta Development Commssion (NDDC), admitted that while the tapes might be true representation of Amaechi but a carefully doctored compilation of his views on ocassions.
She also expressed shock why information that was shared under strict confidence would be made public in the first place.
Read the full statement:
The Amaechi tapes
Let me first make it clear that I am not speaking for the Honourable Minister nor for his media team. He has quite competent hands who can do so.
However I feel compelled as someone who had sat in at myriads of interviews granted by the Honourable minister both when he was governor and a little while after that to correct what I believe is deliberate twisting of what he had said. First a bit of background to put things in context.
1. Anyone who has sat with Amaechi in private discussions or at a media interview will agree that he has been consistent in expressing the belief that most Nigerians do not hate corruption but simply hate the fact that they are not the ones perpetuating the corruption. This has been his view expressed at different times in press interviews. It is for this reason that he has maintained that only a bloody revolution somewhat like the Rawlings revolution in Ghana will change Nigeria.
2. During the Jonathan era, he had made these comments at various media discussions during which time he had also lamented about the former President’s refusal to listen and take counsel. Media colleagues at these events I am sure will remember. It is for this reason that I am certain the first recording was from one of those parleys
3. It is possible that the Honourable Minister has also on some occasions spoken about the frugality of the Buhari regime but he did so not in the context of negativity but as a positive indication of a new Nigeria where pain will ultimately translate to gain. Again I say this with the privilege of knowing his governance world view in this regards.
The reason I have bothered to speak about this is because:
1. This is a clear case of cut and paste. Different conversations taken out of context and brought together to create a narrative that is far from the truth
2. I am saddened by the fact that a purported conversation meant in the first place to be not for reportage and in strict confidence is being peddled. Though I wasn’t present at this so called meeting but I gleaned this from the supposed comments of the minister in the peddled tape itself.
Like I said, I do not hold brief for the minister not can speak for his media team but I do owe my country, my profession and posterity the truth that I know.
Happy new year again and may Nigeria prosper.