Ex-SGF Lawal criticises Tinubu over attempt to gag press, detention of Emefiele, Bawa

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The attempt by President Bola Tinubu to stifle press freedom and the ongoing detention of Godwin Emefiele, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Abdulrasheed Bawa, the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), have drawn criticism from former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal.

Lawal responded to Felix Morka, the APC spokesman, by saying in a statement on Wednesday that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had changed since its founding in 2013–2014 and that Peter Obi, not Tinubu, had emerged victorious in the 2023 presidential election.

The former SFG claims that Nigerians are denied their right to free speech in addition to the APC turning into an Islamic party.

The former SGF criticised the threats made against journalists by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission while President Tinubu was in office, calling them disrespectful and intolerable.

He stated, “We thought the APC would be a national party that would carry along all the various socio-political and religious tendencies of the country when we founded it way back in 2013/2014.

“We were cautious back then to include all of the nation’s religions and tribes in the party’s leadership and membership makeup.

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“We desired a party that would include every Nigerian.” This served as the basis for the principle that the National Chairman and Secretary would not belong to the same tribe, religion, or geographic area.

Regretfully, APC has now evolved into Nigeria’s Islamic Party. The National Working Committee (NWC) comprises Muslim members exclusively from the North and a small number from the South.

With Kadmul Islam serving as national chairman and a Muslim serving as national secretary, the party’s only remaining task is to change its name, but even this might not take too long.

“We aspire to an inclusive Nigeria.” We envision a Nigeria that even acquiescants can identify with, where everyone is free to follow their dreams in peace while pursuing wealth and a fulfilling life.

As you and I are doing now, we want a Nigeria that ensures the right of its people to free speech. It is reprehensible and disgraceful for NBC to intimidate journalists while Bola Tinubu is in charge, if he truly battled Abacha for democracy and freedom of speech.

“While it is unacceptable that political parties be used to intimidate and harass people for voicing their opinions in public, it is also indefensible to keep the governor of CBN and the chairman of the EFCC under arrest for protracted periods of time without or before trial.

“No Nigerian, I’m sure, is relishing the sense of national dishonour and humiliation we are experiencing as a result of these ceaseless revelations about the identity or nature of our “President”; or that the majority of Nigerians can no longer count on at least one meal a day; or that we are unable to attend wedding ceremonies in Imo or Zamfara States because of insecurity.”

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