The presidency has said that President Buhari’s comment during his visit last Thursday to Imo state does not mean he was unhappy with Governor Uzodimma as some section of the media portrayed. Some section of the media quoted Buhari to have told the Governor that he would be “Careful with your future invitation”. Consequently, the media space has become awash with the statement to mean the president was not happy with the governor’s invitation. Dispelling the perception in a statement by the media aid to President, Femi Adesina, he said. “We have observed that President Buhari’s concluding remarks at the meeting with Southeast leaders during his one-day visit to Imo State is being deliberately contorted and twisted out of context. “The purveyors of disinformation want Nigerians to believe that the President bluntly told Governor Uzodinma, ‘I’ll be careful with your future invitations’. “They have adduced different meanings to the phrase, contrary to the context wherein the President spoke during his successful dialogue with leaders of thought from Igbo land. “When he arrived at the banquet hall of Imo State Government House for his last assignment in Owerri, the President was welcomed by over 50 leaders from the Southeast, who had waited patiently for him for a Town Hall engagement, after commissioning strategic projects in the state.
“The President began his extempore speech by acknowledging the calibre of personalities present at the dialogue including the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Prof George Obiozor, former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (Rtd), former Senate President Ken Nnamani, former Military Governor of old Imo State, Senator Ike Nwachukwu, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, Chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, Deputy Governors of Abia, Anambra and the SSG of Enugu State, who represented the Governor, the Anglican Archbishop of Owerri Province, Most Rev David Onouha, and his brother Bishop of Enugu, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Ahaejiagamba Ndigbo, just to mention but a few.
Adesina added that Buhari was elated with the welcome he received from the personalities describing it as overwhelming as all the ‘who is who in the southeast were there to welcome Mr. President.
He revealed that what exactly Buhari stated was that: ‘I am overwhelmed by this reception, overwhelmed in the sense that when I accepted the invitation by the Imo State Governor, who wants to justify investments the government has done to the people of Imo State, I thought I would see the bridges, the roads, and a few renovations.
‘‘He didn’t tell me he was going to get the whole Igbo leadership here. So, in the future when he invites me, I’ll know what to do. But I think he has done what the military didn’t like. He has achieved surprise. He has surprised me beyond description.”
Later Buhari made reference to his earlier remarks by saying what he meant by surprise action as done by the governor on a lighter note he affirmed to the governor that, I cannot thank you enough, but I will be careful with your future invitations.”
Meanwhile, governor Uzodimma in a statement through his chief press secretary, Oguwike Nwachukwu, blamed the development on the opposition for being mischievous.
Nwachukwu said, the opposition “In their desperation, they doctored and proceeded to post on social media platforms, a misleading video on President Buhari’s remarks during his Town Hall Meeting with highly respected Igbo leaders who were in the audience at the exclusive meeting, in total disregard for the good intention of Mr. President’s remarks,”.
He added: “Because the opposition in Imo State is too bitter with hate to notice even the smallest of humour, nobody would have been surprised if they also lost their sense of understanding when President Buhari went humorous in his remarks.”
The press secretary added that let him explain what Mr. president meant to say in the language they would understand if at all they would be ready to learn.