By Dare Lawal
During the declaration event by Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, 15 October, in Abuja, the director general of his campaign organisation, Audu Ogbeh, delivered a very solid speech. The politician who is a former chairman of the PDP but now a top APC chieftain, however made a statement which brought him criticism from the Bring Back Our Girls movement.
Ogbeh, while commending the movement in his speech, however insinuated that the Bring Back Our Girls movement comprised of members of the opposition APC.
He was condemned immediately by a leader of the group, Obiageli Ezekwesili.
She said on Twitter: “I take very strong exception to what is being credited to Mr. Audu Ogbe of APC. Another tragic low in making #ChibokGirls political pawns.
“I am neither covertly or overtly a member of teh APC, PDP or any other party. It is false and wrong to say @BBOG_Nigeria is led by members of APC.
“If Mr. Ogbe is being correctly quoted, he can only be referring to those of their members who are part of @BBOG_Nigeria as are PDP members.
“Yesterday one of our most vexed speakers on our #ChibokGirls is a staunch PDP member who said he was responsible for PDP’s only seat in Borno. Never has there been any speck of political party consideration in anything that the strategic team of the group that I chair does.”
Audu Ogbeh has now apologised to the movement for his statement. In a letter to the leadership of ‘Bring Back Our Girls Group’, dated, Tuesday, 21 October, Ogbeh expressed his unreserved apology over the comment which has prompted many – including a presidential aide, Reuben Abati – to question the credibility of the group.
Here’s what Ogbeh said to the group in his letter:
“I feel obliged to let you know that my statement at our function last week was not intended to paint your group as an APC Sub-group. This is because from what we now know, less than 2% of the group are our party members, but members we value highly.
The rest of you are not and may not even belong to any political association whatsoever. This is not to say that you have no right to be if you choose to.
If my statement caused you discomfort, I do apologize, but reiterate that i have nothing but respect and admiration for you for keeping a six month vigil and telling the world that the Nigerian conscience is not entirely dead. The world is watching us and making judgements.”