From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has dismissed as fake news the story that a Department of State Service (DSS) intelligence report to President Muhammadu Buhari stated that the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu’s decision to nominate a fellow Muslim as vice-presidential candidate for the 2023 presidential election is a recipe for renewed sectarian crises that could destabilize Nigeria.
A two paragraphs statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, read thus: “ We wish to advise well-meaning Nigerians to ignore a laughably puerile report by an apparently pirate online newspaper seeking to sow division and chaos on the choice of Governor Kashim Shettima as the Running Mate of our Party’s Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“This so-called newspaper is like a deadly virus. Stay safe by keeping away from its toxic reports.”
The Leadership Newspaper story had said that the classified report was sent to President Buhari by the State Security Service and shared with an online newspaper, Peoples Gazette, by national security officials this week.
According to the medium, the document, which was delivered to the president by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd), stated that Tinubu should consider the security implications of his selection before making it public.
“The SSS produced the report and handed a copy to the NSA,” an intelligence officer told The Gazette.
“The NSA looked at the report and added it for security briefing to the president.
“Simply put, our understanding is that the alliance will destabilise Nigeria and embolden attacks on Christian citizens from their fellow Muslim citizens.
“The distrust Christians are likely to harbour against a presidency occupied by two Muslims won’t make our work easy at national security level,” the source who spoke to The Gazette said.
The official said President Buhari was not involved in the deliberations that led to Tinubu’s announcement of Kashim Shettima as his 2023 running mate to the ire of Christians across the country.
“People can say whatever they like about Mr President, but as a senior intelligence administrator I can guarantee you he was not involved in Tinubu’s decision at all,” the official said in a remarkable moment of candour.
According to the newspaper, another official said the report was commissioned after Tinubu became the standard-bearer of the ruling APC on June 8 and started embracing the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket as the most potent strategy to be elected as president in an ethnically and religiously polarised country like Nigeria.