By Jide Afolabi, Jos
Former Nigerian Ambassador to Switzerland, Ambassador Yahaya Kwande has denied a report that he congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on his re-election and asked his main opponent, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to call Buhari and congratulate him.
The elder statesman while speaking with journalists at his residence in Jos, Plateau state capital today, Friday said that he has never granted any interview nor issue press statement to an online medium. He demanded retraction of the story by SaharaReporters or face legal action.
Kwande who is a close ally of Atiku Abubakar said, “I think it is very unfortunate that somebody without talking to me would cook a story. If this is what he wanted to, he could have done it on his own and not cook up a story and put my name. I didn’t do it and couldn’t have done it. My experience in politics is more than that.
“That I should see an honourable person like Waziri of Adamawa, an associate of 30 years in politics when even the results were not totally finished for me to ask him to congratulate his opponent is unfortunate. Definitely, I didn’t do it and couldn’t have done it.”
Kwande said that he did not know about the story until he was shown at a later date when the story was circulating. “When I saw it, I felt very bad that a human being could do that. It’s like putting a knife in me”, he stated.
“People that we depend on, Journalists that we depend and rely on to be given us stories to take knife and put in us because that was an attempt to kill me. I felt very bad.”, he stated.
The Grand Patron of the Waziri of the Adamawa Solidarity Vanguard, said that some people have told him that he should just ignore it that it was the trade of some journalists to make money or to sell their publications by cooking stories.
He said, “I have ignored one before because people laughed when they heard that I was one of those who were preparing arms to kill Christians. They don’t know my background. I am a Muslim. I was brought up by Christians, Christian organisation. I have children who are Christians. I have my wife of 50 years who is a Christian. We never had issue. I ignored that one and they repeated it after 6 months. I still ignored it and this one is coming again. I have consulted my lawyers because this is the only way that would take me out of this”.
SaharaReporters reported on February 26 2019 in a story titled, “Atiku’s Close Friend Kwande Urges Him To ‘Pick Up The Phone And Call Buhari” quoting Kwande saying that, “Even though, I am a long time friend and associate of his closest rival, His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), I heartily congratulate President Buhari for his win and the confidence Nigerians reposed in him by asking him to serve another four years in office.
“By the same token, I call on my friend, associate and brother, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to pick up his phone and make the call to congratulate the President-elect. It is imperative that he toes the path of honour and do the needful to save the country of any conflagration. Our recent history under former President Goodluck Jonathan proved that this simple act has the full potential to keep Nigeria peaceful.”
Kwande said, “There is nothing bad in congratulating a winner if he deserved it but I never said this nor authorised anyone to issue such on my behalf. It is a fake news.” He concluded.
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