By Ismaila Chafe
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, has dismissed allegation made against him by a social media commentator, Reno Omokri, that he is an AGIP.
An AGIP means an unprincipled person ready to serve `Any Government In Power’.
Shehu made the clarification in a write-up titled; `The Real Price of Change the Change’’ campaign (2)’ issued in Abuja on Sunday.
The Presidential aide said he was invited to serve the current Buhari administration as one of the two spokespersons of the government, and he subsequently pledged 100 per cent loyalty to the government, adding that “this cannot be AGIP by any standards.’’
The presidential aide, who stated that Omokri lied against him, narrated the circumstances that resulted in his `resignation’ while serving in the media office of a PDP administration.
“”For those Reno tried to mislead, yes it is a fact that I worked in the media office of a PDP administration.
“Not for five years as the new-day pastor published but only for six months at which point it was announced on NTA news, to my surprise, that my letter of resignation had been accepted when I hadn’t written any.
“I learned of course that I was fired because the head of the country at that time, who believed that every published criticism was sponsored by an insider, read the weekly magazine, The News, and didn’t like what was written about him,’’ he said
He further explained: “’Pastor’ Reno lied by calling me an AGIP – The period he was referring to was one in which my boss ran into bad political weather and some of us around him were scapegoated.
“I was locked in DSS detention many times, my houses in Kano and Abuja broken into and valuables, including cash, some of which were never returned, were seized.
“I was going to court for two years and for the most part of which I didn’t have a passport.
“In the course of that trial, the judge presiding called back my lawyers, Niyi Akintola, SAN and Rickey Tarfa, SAN, after an adjournment to say that ‘I didn’t mean that he should be kept in DSS detention. I said he should be taken to Kuje Prison, and that’s where I was kept.
“Under detention in the DSS I was stripped down to the pants and photographed head to toe. All that didn’t make one to capitulate.
“When they lost to Muhammadu Buhari in the party primaries, the candidates in that race, Gov. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, Waziri Atiku Abubakar, Rochas Okorocha and Sam Nda-Isaiah surrendered their media assets to the winner who had the grace to ask me to lead the media team.
“When we won, he (then President-elect Buhari) invited me to serve as one of his two spokespersons and I pledged 100 per cent loyalty to him and that’s where I am. This cannot be AGIP by any standards.
“Reno should stop lying, if only to help the pastoral calling to retain its good name. Otherwise he should quit the ministry.’’
Garba said that he had known and worked with exemplary pastors who were decent and from whom he learned more of the etiquette of truth telling.
The presidential aide gave names of Pastor Emeka Izeze and his brother, Pastor Ifeanyi, or his friend, Pastor Segun Babatope and lately Femi Adesina and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as examples of such trustful pastors.