Kassim Afegbua, spokesman to ex-military President Ibrahim Babangida, claimed yesterday that he has been receiving death threats from unknown quarters following his issuance of a statement asking President Muhammadu Buhari to jettison his reelection bid in 2019.
The authors of the death threats are not sparing his family, Afegbua claimed, moments after his interrogation on the statement, by the Department of State Security Service (DSS).
The former Edo State commissioner said in a statement in Abuja that he has been receiving phone calls threatening him and his family.
But he vowed that he would never be intimidated by anyone or group for issuing the statement, claiming that nothing would stop him from exercising his right of free speech.
Afegbua was first invited for questioning by the police on Wednesday and later by the DSS over the controversial statement.
“In the last six days, I have gone through traumatic experience when I was declared wanted by the Nigeria Police. By the strength of that unprofessional declaration, I was treated like a common criminal and fugitive until I showed up at the Police Headquarters, Abuja, to physically present myself.
“After what the Police termed a no case issue, they were apologetic and I took my leave.
” In the evening of that day, Wednesday, February 7, 2018, I got a phone call inviting me to the Headquarters of the Directorate of State Security (DSS).
“I honoured the invitation on Thursday and spent seven hours waiting for attention. I left the office at 6.50pm when it became clear nobody was ready to tell me what the invitation was meant for. I was informed to report back on Friday 9th February, 2018 at 11am.
“On arrival on Friday, having spent two hours, I was attended to by the Director of Operations and two others who interrogated me on the said statement I issued.
” My interrogation was recorded electronically and was made to write a statement affirming the issued statement, having collected all my personal details; house address, account number, international passport number and other information.
“I find this whole episode quite nauseating and utterly condemnable. I cannot rationalise why just a statement would amount to subjecting me to rigorous interrogation especially when there was no complainant.”
He added: “The action of the Nigeria Police coupled with that of the State Security Service is at best that of a meddlesome interloper and sheer bullying, leaving serious developmental issues to chasing shadows with a view to intimidate, harass and embarrass me.
“Let me state at this point, that my life is in danger as we speak. I have been receiving series of unknown phone calls from people threatening me and my family.
“But I am resolute in the true spirit of a free born, that threats, intimidation, harassment and psychological torturing has never and will not stop me from exercising my right of free speech as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; as well as carrying out my professional responsibility.
“I am most humbled. And the Almighty Allah will meet all of you in your hour of need. On a lighter note, the support, accolades and motivation I received during this period have given me added confidence to seek elective public office in no distant future.”
Babangida,in the contentious statement ,had said inter alia: ” In the fullness of our present realities, we need to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his term of office on May 29th, 2019 and collectively prepare the way for new generation leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country.
” While offering this advice, I speak as a stakeholder, former president, concerned Nigerian and a patriot who desires to see new paradigms in our shared commitment to get this country running. While saying this also, I do not intend to deny President Buhari his inalienable right to vote and be voted for, but there comes a time in the life of a nation, when personal ambition should not override national interest. “This is the time for us to reinvent the will and tap into the resourcefulness of the younger generation, stimulate their entrepreneurial initiatives and provoke a conduce environment to grow national economy both at the micro and macro levels.?”Contemporary leadership has to be proactive and not reactive. It must factor in citizens’ participation. Its language of discourse must be persuasive not agitated and abusive. It must give room for confidence building. It must build consensus and form aggregate opinion on any issue to reflect the wishes of the people across the country.
“It must gauge the mood of the country at every point in time in order to send the right message. It must share in their aspirations and give them cause to have confidence in the system. Modern leadership is not just about “fighting” corruption, it is about plugging the leakages and building systems that will militate against corruption.
“Accountability in leadership should flow from copious examples. It goes beyond mere sloganeering. My support for a new breed leadership derives from the understanding that it will show a marked departure from recycled leadership to creating new paradigms that will breathe fresh air into our present polluted leadership actuality.?”My intervention in the governance process of Nigeria wasn’t an accident of history. Even as a military government, we had a clear-cut policy agenda on what we needed to achieve. We recruited some of the best brains and introduced policies that remain some of the best in our effort to re-engineer our polity and nation.
“We saw the future of Nigeria but lack of continuity in government and of policies killed some of our intentions and initiatives. Even though we did not provide answers to all the developmental challenges that confronted us as at that time, we were not short of taking decisions whenever the need arose.”