Press Statement – The attention of His Excellency, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has been drawn to a seeming orchestrated campaign apparently originating from
the social media to smear his hard earned reputation.
[Pictured: Ogbonnaya Onu]
On Saturday, August 28, this year, a Facebook broadcast titled “SGF; OGBONNAYAONU AND VAINGLORIOUS NIGERIANS” allegedly at the instance of one Ajayi Temitope, was circulated in the social media without his knowledge and consent.
In it, Dr. Onu was falsely and perhaps maliciously credited as having told an unnamed friend of Mr. Ajayi Temitope in a 35minute telephone conversation that prior to the announcement of appointments into the offices of Chief of Staff to the President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, among other positions, he (Dr.) Onu was informed by Mr. President of his intended action and why he would not be chosen for appointment as SGF.
The Facebook broadcast further falsely credited Dr. Onu with expressing regrets about how his Abuja residence had become “a mecca of sorts” for those seeking patronage from him in anticipation of his appointment as SGF and lamented that soon after the announcement was made without his being appointed to serve in the exalted capacity, his residence became deserted.
For the avoidance of doubt, it has become important to state in strong terms that Dr. Onu never expressed the views credited to him in the Facebook broadcast as no such conversation ever took place between him and our respected Mr. President. He could not have, therefore, communicated a nonexistent conversation to another person, more so an unnamed individual on telephone. Accordingly, it is false, cheap and utterly in bad faith. Already, Dr. Onu has personally issued a rebuttal on the matter which has been circulated in the social media in a Press Statement dated August 30, 2015.
However, it has become necessary to issue the foregoing clarification in view of ongoing efforts in some sections of the print and electronic media to further allude to the same phony Facebook broadcast without verifying the proof of its authenticity. Needless to add, that, such is capable of misleading the general public, and by implication, injure the well-known integrity and honour which Dr. Onu holds sacred and guards jealously.
At this juncture, it is important to recall that soon after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, this year, the social media was awash with the purported “news” of his “appointment” as Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Specifically on May 31, this year, a spurious Twitter account surfaced in his name where he was quoted as having “thanked God and the good people of Nigeria for this opportunity to serve”. This was despite the fact that Dr. Onu does not own or operate a personal Twitter account, thus prompting him to disclaim the broadcast in a Statement dated June 1, 2015, which was circulated in the social media.
As one of the founding National Leaders of All Progressives Congress, APC, it is his conviction that nothing should be done to injure the rights of citizens to free speech, especially in a democracy. However, in the exercise of such rights, care and respect must be observed to ensure that it is done within the ambit of the law, guided by respect for the truth, good conscience and sincerity of purpose.
It is hoped that in all circumstances, more so in a democracy, the truth should not be twisted to serve pre-determined ends nor should the rights of individuals be muzzled to score cheap political points.
Finally, Dr. Onu reaffirms his faith in our democracy as the immutable vehicle of popular choice for a new Nigeria, where though tribe and tongue may differ, as brothers and sisters, united in the pursuit of a common destiny, we must continue to stand firm, resolute and together.
Former Chief of Staff to Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu