By Nicholas Ibekwe:
The Nigerian Army has denied the statement credited to the Chief of Army Staff, Abdulrahman Dambazau that “he is only loyal to President Yar’Adua and no one else.”
In a statement signed by Chris Olukolade, the director of army public relations, the army described the comment made by Joe Igbokwe, the publicity secretary of the Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress (AC), as “completely unfortunate”, adding that Mr. Igbokwe’s comments is a “denigration of the person of Gen. Dambazau and the Nigerian Army as a whole” and “were meant to put words in the mouth of the army chief”.
The statement further said that Mr. Igbokwe was yet to state “when, where and to whom Gen. Dambazau made the statement they now attribute to him.”
Who said it?
Interestingly, in a telephone interview with NEXT, Mr. Igbokwe sounded incoherent and was unable to state where and when Mr. Dambazau made the statement.
“I read it em… I read it em… just like any other … I wasn’t the first to say it,” Mr. Igbokwe stammered. “It’s all over the place now.”
When pressed further to state specifically at what venue Mr. Dambazau made the statement, Mr. Igbokwe asked our reporter to go and search for it on the world wide web.
“Go to the internet,” he said. “Before I even said it, Ijaw people led by Clark… yes, it is David Clark. Quote it as it is. Quote what you saw there. Use what you saw there.”
Getting bolder, he added: “Go and do more investigation. “If you don’t know that there is a power game going on in Abuja, I won’t tell you.”
When asked if he personally interviewed Mr Dambazau, he retorted, “Am I a reporter? I’m not a reporter; I am a spokesperson of the party. Is not that I cannot remember. Just ignore me.” Meanwhile, the army’s statement proceeded to “reassure Nigerians that it has not shifted from its commitment to the tenets of democracy and absolute loyalty to constituted civil authorities”.
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