Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media, has clarified a comment made by President Muhammadu Buhari when the latter visited Imo state.
Buhari met with some south-east leaders during his one-day visit to Imo, on Thursday.
In a video recording of the president speaking during the visit, the president had told Hope Uzodimma, Imo governor, that: “I’ll be careful with your future invitations.”
“I am overwhelmed by this reception; overwhelmed in the sense that when I accepted the invitation by the Imo state governor, who wants to justify investments the government has done to the people of Imo state, I thought I would see the bridges, the roads and a few renovations,” Buhari had said.
“He didn’t tell me he was going to get the whole Igbo leadership here. So, in the future when he invites me, I’ll know what to do.”
While ending his address, Buhari said: “Governor of Imo state, I cannot thank you enough, but I will be careful with your future invitations.”
Clarifying Buhari’s closing comment in a statement on Sunday, Adesina said the president’s statement was “deliberately” taken out of context.
“We have observed that President Buhari’s concluding remarks at the meeting with South East Leaders during his one-day visit to Imo State is being deliberately contorted and twisted out of context,” Adesina said.
“The purveyors of disinformation want Nigerians to believe that the President bluntly told Governor Uzodinma, ‘‘I’ll be careful with your future invitations.’’
“They have adduced different meanings to the phrase, contrary to the context wherein the President spoke during his successful dialogue with leaders of thought from Igbo land.
“When he arrived at the banquet hall of Imo State Government House for his last assignment in Owerri, the President was welcomed by over 50 leaders from the South East who had waited patiently for him for a Town Hall engagement, after commissioning strategic projects in the State.
“The President began his extempore speech by acknowledging the caliber of personalities present at the dialogue including the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Prof George Obiozor, former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (Rtd), former Senate President Ken Nnamani, former Military Governor in old Imo State, Senator Ike Nwachukwu, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, Chairman of the South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, Deputy Governors of Abia, Anambra and the SSG of Enugu State, who represented the Governor, the Anglican Archbishop of Owerri Province, Most Rev David Onouha and his brother Bishop of Enugu, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Ahaejiagamba Ndigbo, just to mention but a few.
“An elated President Buhari made it clear that he was expressly overwhelmed by the reception and galaxy of personalities that travelled from the five South Eastern States to have a heart-to-heart discussion with him in Owerri, the Imo State capital.”
Some Igbo leaders who were present at the meeting are: George Obiozor, president-general of Ohaneze Ndigbo; Ebitu Ukiwe, chief of general staff; and Ken Nnamani, former senate president.