The presidency on Tuesday said it did not deliberately released pictures of President Muhammadu Buhari hosting Ogun state governor, Ibikunle Amosun, on Monday to spite Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
A credible source in the presidency who spoke on Tuesday said contrary to impressions being created in the social media, there were strategic reasons for releasing the pictures, one of which is to disprove the claim that the president is seriously ill.
Buhari was to pay a two days working visit to the state which will see him commission some landmark projects but the visit was curiously cancelled at the last minute, with Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, saying Buhari had “scheduling difficulties”.
“The president is faced with scheduling difficulties and that is the reason for the postponement of the visit. He needs more time for Lagos and for Edo which had earlier been stepped down,” Shehu told state house correspondents on Sunday.
“As a result of this, the visit has been scaled down and he is being represented by His Excellency the vice-president, who is going to Lagos to commission a few projects, leaving the rest for Mr. President. The president will undertake these visits after the Ramadan.”
The suspension of the trip came as a shock to the governor and officials of the Lagos state government, who were looking forward to hosting the nation’s number one citizen and had made adequate preparations for the visit.
However, while Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was commissioning the projects on behalf of the president, pictures surfaced online showing a smiling President Buhari hosting Amosun in the presidential villa. This did not go down well with some Nigerians who claimed it was a deliberate attempt to spite the Lagos state governor.
When asked why the pictures were released by the presidency, our source said the President holds Governor Ambode in the highest esteem and will not do anything to belittle him.
“Contrary to impressions being created in the social media that the presidency deliberately released the pictures of the President playing host to Governor Amosun in order to spite the Governor of Lagos State, nothing of such happened’.
“We deliberately released those pictures for strategic reasons. One of such reasons is to disprove the claim being bandied around that the president is seriously indisposed. Some even claimed that he suffered from partial stroke. The pictures were released to prove to Nigerians that their president is hale and hearty and in sound mind to provide leadership for the nation.
“We will never do anything to belittle His Excellency, the governor of Lagos State, a man we hold in the highest esteem. The president has assured that he will be on ground to commission those landmark projects after Ramadan, and God willing, nothing will change that,” he said.