A former Governor of Abia State, Ogbonnaya Onu, has denied reports that President Muhammadu Buhari called him before appointing Babachir Lawal as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Prior to Lawal’s appointment, Onu who is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress was believed to have been favoured by Buhari to emerge as the SGF.
However, following Lawal’s appointment, there were reports in the social media that Onu told a friend that Buhari called him to explain that he would not be named SGF, shortly before new appointments were announced last week.
The former governor denied the rumour on Tuesday in a statement issued by his media office and signed by Sunny Onyeukwu.
He also denied reports that he lamented that ever since he failed to get the SGF position, people seeking patronage had deserted him.
The statement partly read, “In the Facebook post, Dr. Onu was falsely and perhaps, maliciously credited as having told an unnamed friend of Mr. Ajayi Temitope in a 35-minute telephone conversation that prior to the announcement of appointments into the offices of Chief of Staff to the President, SGF, 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 the 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 the 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.”
Onu noted that he had no Twitter account and urged Nigerians not to believe things purportedly posted by him on the social media without cross-checking.
He said he would continue to support freedom of speech but called for caution in information dissemination.