How “My 100 Days Covenant With Nigerians” Went Viral Without Buhari’s Approval
The draft of “My 100 Days Covenant with Nigerians” accidentally went viral in January before the policy and research directorate of the APC presidential campaign organisation had discussed it, TheCable can report.
However, TheCable can also report that while it is true that Candidate Muhammadu Buhari did not see or approve of the “100 Days” document, campaign insiders insist that he saw the second document, “My Covenant with Nigerians”, contrary to claims by his media office.
The first document puts timelines to promises to be fulfilled within Buhari’s first 100 days in office, but the second document contains only milestones without specific dates. It would appear Buhari’s grouse is with the one that has timelines, but his media team has denied both documents.
A member of the policy support group — a body of intellectuals sympathetic to Buhari’s cause — had originated the idea of condensing all the campaign promises into an easily readable and digestible document.
The volunteer, a political scientist who holds a PhD and once lectured at Canadian and American universities, developed the outline of the document, spicing it with his own ideas of how the APC presidential candidate could align with the hopes and aspirations of Nigerians and appeal to the electorate.
The man behind the idea, who is well known in the Nigerian civil society circles, was one of the several intellectuals who worked day and night behind the scene to promote the candidature of Buhari.
Having sketched the outline of the document, he sent electronic copies to members of the APC policy and research directorate for further discussion, inputs and adoption — ahead of a final presentation to Buhari for approval. GONE VIRAL
TheCable understands, however, that a member of the directorate, a medical doctor and politician from the south-west, sent the document to his friends who then published it on the internet before it had even been discussed or approved.
All efforts to recall the document failed as it had gone viral, with thousands of Buhari’s supporters instantly sharing it on Facebook, blogs and Twitter.
The following day, traditional newspapers picked it up and gave it wider publicity — but there was no rebuttal from the campaign organisation as the document became an instant hit. It was believed to have won a lot of supporters and admirers for Buhari, especially on the aspect of publishing his assets and encouraging all would-be appointees to follow suit.
His opponent, President Goodluck Jonathan, had refused to make his assets public, famously saying in a TV interview that he did not give a “damn” about the criticisms against his stand. Thereafter, the APC policy directorate, headed by Kayode Fayemi, former governor of Ekiti state, developed a different document, “My Covenant with Nigerians”, which it passed on to Buhari for approval.
“The second document prepared by the directorate aligned more with the party manifesto but there was no timeline attached to it. It was well received by Buhari who read through it and made comments and corrections,” a member of the campaign team told TheCable.
The document was then produced in pamphlets and distributed at the venues of the town hall meetings held by Buhari across the country — and there was no objection from the candidate or members of the party hierarchy and the campaign organisation.
NOT MY WILL
Femi Adesina, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, was the first to hint that Buhari was not on the same page with his party on the documents.
“You need to get his words right, go and check all that the president said during the campaign, in no place would you see it attributed to him as a person [as promising to publish his assets],” Adesina said in a recent interview, sparking off debate in the media.
“But then there is a document by his party, the All Progressives Congress, saying he would declare publicly, so we need to set that right, it’s a declaration by his party.”
Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, has now denied outright that Buhari saw either of the documents, blaming it on “too many communication centres” during the campaign, some of which he said were “on the loose”.
“As the director, media and communications of that campaign, I was responsible for internal and external communications and these so-called documents that were flying around didn’t have my signature,” Shehu said.
“I didn’t fund them and I didn’t authorise them. From what President Buhari himself had said at Chatham House (on February 26, 2015), he had no iota or knowledge of those documents. So, people cannot hold him to account on something to which he did not commit himself.”
TheCable understands some of the people who worked for Buhari during the campaign are unhappy with their “public execution” by the presidential spokesmen.
“To describe people who toiled tirelessly and selflessly for the campaign as being ‘on the loose’ is most uncharitable and very unfair,” one of them told TheCable.
“This is not how to reward people who did not collect one kobo, people who paid their way to the country from Europe and from the US to work for Buhari. You should have seen people working day and night simply because they believed it was time for change in Nigeria.”
WHAT BUHARI SAID AT CHATHAM HOUSE
Buhari had said at the Chatham House while responding to a question on his first 100 days in office: “The second [question]: high expectations and what to do with the first 100 days.
Yes, I respect that question because quietly I was thinking about these high expectations. Those who are following the trail of our campaigns can see how people are turning out, some becoming emotional and crying.
“I am really getting scared that if I get there they will expect miracles within the next week or months. That would be very dicey handling that one. I think we have to have a deliberate campaign to temper high expectations with some reasonableness on the part of those who are expecting miracles to happen.
“Just to go first to the ‘first 100 days’, some of it is fraudulent and I don’t want to participate in any fraud in any form. Nigerians know that we are in trouble as a people and as a country. When we get there we will quickly get correct intelligence of what is on the ground and inform Nigerians and just learn what I have just read.
“We will make sure that the misappropriation and misapplication of public resources will not be allowed. You would be surprised by how much savings we will realize. That saving will be ploughed back into development and this is what I can promise. But I would remove that ‘100 days’”.
Culled from TheCable