The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has declared the Mr. Kassim Afegbua, spokesman for Gen. Ibrahim Babangida wanted over the statement he issued last Sunday on behalf of former military president.
In the statement, Babangida has called on Nigerians to vote out President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 and install a new generation of digitally savvy leaders.
Babangida who titled his piece ‘Towards a national rebirth’ said it was time to sacrifice “personal ambition” for the “national interest” pleading however with Nigerians to cooperate with the president until he serves out his tenure in 2019.
The spokesman for the police, Mr. Jimoh Moshood said in Abuja that Afegbua was wanted for making false statements capable of instigating public disturbance.
“The IGP has ordered the arrest of Kashim Afegbua for making false statements, defamation of character and for an act capable of instigating public disturbance throughout the country.
“He is therefore declared wanted by the Nigeria Police Force and should report at the nearest police station anywhere he is in the country.”
It would be recalled that after Afegbua statement, a counter was issued insisting that Babangida did not authorize the earlier one.
Later that day, Babangida insisted he authorised the release of Afegbua’s statement.
In a chat with ThisDay Newspaper, the military president said “original statement still stands”.
The newspaper said when Babangida got informed that a counter-statement had been issued, he instructed Afegbua to reach out to media houses to reaffirm the validity of the first statement.
Afegbua did just that when he appeared on a programme on Channels Television.
“I have been doing this job for about 14 years now. And I have never issued a statement on behalf of the former head of state and he gave a rebuttal. I got authorisation and commitment from him before I issued the statement. It has been in process,” he said.
He said Babangida called him after the second statement went out.
“He has called me to say that the statement still stands,” he said.
“Of course, you know IBB is for everyone. People want to love him more than he loves himself. People want to appreciate him more than he appreciates himself. People want to play the role of IBB.
“So when the statement was released, some of his friends saw it and they felt we were trying to put the former president on a collision course with the president. So, they went and did a statement to deny that.
“But I have since spoken to him; he called me and said that statement stands. The kernel of that statement should inform public discourse and not necessarily people personalising it as if it were to be against the sitting president.
“So, the statement stands and I have since communicated to all the media houses that they should respect that statement as coming from IBB. It did not emanate from my head. We sat down, we discussed and articulated them.
“General Babangida wants a new side of leadership, from the younger generation of Nigerians who in his own views have the resourcefulness, the energy and capacity to manage governmental affairs.
“He is not personalizing his statement against the incumbent president. But he is saying, as a stakeholder and a concerned Nigerian that he shares in the aspirations of the people,” said Afegbua.