By Yemi Adebowale
An official statement of the Nigerian government issued by Mr. Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and published on the official website of the office of the Nigerian President (www.statehouse.gov.ng) has disappeared from the site after a deluge of social media criticism attacking the Nigerian government over the statement.
The statement, titled ‘President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and El Rufai Share Mutual Respect’ (September 17, 2015) and signed by Mr. Laolu Akande was issued in response to a story published by The Trent titled, ‘Osinbajo Insulted By El Rufai, Walks Out On President Buhari’ (September 16, 2015).
The Trent report had exposed the embarrassing power play between Vice President Osinbajo and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El Rufai. According to the report, a few weeks back, the tension between Osinbajo and El Rufai came to a head when Governor El Rufai insulted the Vice President in a meeting in the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, and Osinbajo reacted by denouncing El Rufai and walking out of the meeting, which had President Buhari presiding.
The report, which immediately gained tremendous attention, trended for days in the Nigerian social media. The Nigerian presidency, in a push back attempt immediately released a photograph of Osinbajo and El Rufai in a chummy pose.
A badly written and error-laden press statement signed by vice presidential spokesman, Laolu Akande, immediately followed the release of the photograph with comments in the social media attacking the pettiness and sheer unprofessionalism of the statement. Within 24 hours of uncomplimentary social media backlash, the press statement disappeared from the State House website.
The Nigerian presidency has kept mum on how such a poorly written statement found its way into the official website of the office of the Nigerian president and how it later disappeared.
It will be recalled that in July, 2015, President Buhari approved the engagement of a team of frivolous APC youths to bridge apparently defective gaps in his government’s communication strategy. The development drew the ire of the Nigerian social media with disparaging comments on some personalities reportedly drafted into the team.
The screenshots of the press statement which has now disappeared from the State House website can seen below: