The Presidency on Tuesday berated Omoyele Sowore, former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, over his “attacks” on late Isa Funtua, President Muhammadu Buhari’s close associate.
Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu said Sowore has nothing to gain by attacking the deceased.
Sowore, who is the Publisher of Saharareporters, had posted an interview on his Twitter page, recounting an encounter with the late Funtua and some eminent Nigerians while he was in the custody of the Department of State Service, DSS.
The meeting was aimed at brokering peace between Sowore and Buhari’s government.
The interview was released after the death of Funtai which was announced by the Presidency yesterday.
However, Shehu explained that Funtua attempted to broker peace with Sowore on his own accord.
In a statement titled: ‘ISMA’ILA ISA: SOWORE HAS NOTHING TO GAIN BY ATTACKING A DEAD SOUL,’ Shehu said: “Let’s get the facts straight on the meeting with Sowore in SSS detention.
“First, it is important to state that the meeting was not instructed by the government. Nobody sent anybody to go and “negotiate” Sowore’s freedom as he put it.
“The late Malam Isma’ila, on his own called me to ask that I broker a meeting with him and two others with the SSS, which they agreed to.
“It is important that I state that it was the force of Malam Isma’ila’s argument that made the meeting possible.
“Vanguard Newspapers publisher, Sam Amuka and ThisDay Publisher and President, Nigerian Press Organisation, Nduka Obaigbena, all agreed that Sowore was a “rascal”, who had used his newspaper “to abuse all of us,” but agreed, nonetheless to go and press for his release.
“As the late Isma’ila put it, although he (Sowore) got into his problems due to politics, not journalism, the fact of him being a publisher imposed a duty on media leaders to seek ways of making him free.
“The meeting ended well, and contrary to the posturing by Sowore, he said he was happy with a resolution proposed but that his lawyer, whoever that was, needed to come on board.
“The fence-mending process apparently collapsed after the meeting of the trio with the lawyer in Lagos.
“I don’t know what Sowore wants to achieve by distorting the facts of what transpired, but my advice to him is that he should stop his attacks on a dead, well-meaning intercessor.
“Knowing the way the secret service works, it should surprise no one if they keep a recording of that meeting.
“Faced with this posturing and the unfair attacks on the dead, we certainly will be forced to ask for the release of tapes, in case they are available for the public to judge.”