El-Rufai denies sneaking out of Afan Festival in Kaduna
By Ali Adoyi on January 6, 2015 @dailypostngr
Mallam Nasir El-Rufai campaign organization has after several days of wait reluctantly reacted to a report by one of DAILY POST reporter on how El- Rufai, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, allegedly sneaked out of the venue of 2015 Afan Festival which recently held at Kagoro, Kaduna state.
The release that appeared like a verbal attack on DAILY POST reporter, repeatedly condemned the journalistic instinct of the reporter whose name appeared on almost all paragraphs of the release.
Even though the release failed to defend accurately why El-Rufai left the venue of the festival midway, it dissed DAILY POST reporter for allegedly maligning the APC governorship candidate in Kaduna State.
The campaign organization admitted that even though the PDP supporters were overwhelmingly present at the event, the APC supporters were equally present.
It further defended that the massive turnout of supporters of the incumbent governor of the state was because “the National Organizing Committee of the festival normally sends a notice to the government of the day in Kaduna State. This is done because of the security situation in the state and in order to carry the government along with regard to any event because it is the government that guarantees the safety of every invited guest.”
DAILY POST had reported that at the 2015 Afan Festival held at Kagoro, a visibly frustrated FCT Minister and APC governorship candidate in Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufa’i sneaked out of the event midway.
The report had it that the former Minister was reacting to the overwhelming show of support showered on the incumbent Governor, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero by the people of Kagoro and Southern Kaduna. It further said the APC flag bearer’s supporters were eclipsed by a massive support mounted by PDP stalwarts in the zone.
Find the release below:
The lies about El-Rufai at Afan Festival in Kagoro
From El-Rufai Campaign Media Team
Our attention has been drawn to a report in your publication, titled; ‘El-Rufai, supporters sneak out Of 2015 Afan festival at Kagoro’ by a writer identified as Wale Odunsi. While we respect the interest or duty of Mr Odunsi to write a report about such an important event, we point out categorically that the content of the report shows that it is written with the intention to malign the APC governorship candidate in Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. First we wish to ask: Was Mr Odunsi present in Kagoro? To us, clues in the report indicate to us that he was not present and that what he reported was what he overheard. If he was not present, who fed him with this report? For the reasons that we state below, we call on well-meaning Nigerians to dismiss this report as unreliable and just on of those calculated attempts to discredit the APC governorship candidate.
Also, the wordings of the report were too subjective to be taken as hard news. News of this nature should not be laden with subjective statements such as “…when a visibly frustrated former FCT Minister and APC governorship candidate in Kaduna State…” Was Mr Odunsi present to see how Mallam El-Rufai was visibly frustrated? In addition, Mr Odunsi had added that “the former minister was obviously reacting to the overwhelming show of support showered on incumbent Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero by the people of Kagoro and Southern Kaduna.” With this, where the sympathy of this reporter who is supposed to be neutral is cannot be missed. Apart from the other issues that this opinion in a hard news raises, we state that Mr Odunsi’s opinion is to say the least an attempt to cast the festival as a political event which it was not. In fact, the organizers of the event were embarrassed when we put the question to them. The organizer categorically denied that they had any intention to have any political party come and make political points out of their event.
We, in the El-rufai Campaign Team, want to state here that, yes, the ruling party in Kaduna State was present, but the APC supporters were also present in their numbers. How come Mr Odunsi saw the presence of the PDP but failed to see the APC supporters who were also present? The women’s wing, the youth wing of the El-Rufai Campaign Team as well as the party’s branded vehicles from Kaduna and across the state were present at the venue, Fadan Kagoro (Ruler’s Place). As a matter of fact, for the purpose of clarification and in order to show the good people of Nigeria and of Kaduna State in particular how much Mr Odunsi has been instigated to paint the cultural festival of the Kagoro people as a political event, we spoke with both the National Chairman, Mr Philip N. Suku, and the National Treasurer of the Afan Festival National Organizing Committee, Mr Hosea Nkom.
According to Nkom, “The National Organizing Committee of the festival normally sends a notice to the government of the day in Kaduna State. This is done because of the security situation in the state and in order to carry the government along with regard to any event because it is the government that guarantees the safety of every invited guest.”
As Nkom further added, “This automatically makes the state governor of the day the Chief Host. So the government sends invitation to people it might want to be present at the event. The Chief of Kagoro is notified of such a list, while the Chief equally invites the people he might like to have at the event.” This, we want to state, definitely explains how the ruling party came to the venue with the kind of party officials, including State Commissioners and Directors in Ministries that Mr Odunsi referred to in his report.
Asked if any guest was invited to the event on the basis of party affiliation, or if political parties were invited, Hosea insisted that this was not the case and that “the government of the day invites whoever it wants.” Equally, he added that political party affiliation was not taken into consideration when the guest list was prepared. “No political party was invited. It is the government of the day that invites.” On his part, and while stating the relevance of the Afan festival to the people of Kagoro as a unifying force, Suku stated that cultural groups from different communities within Kagoro Chiefdom and outside it usually performed at the annual event.
In his reaction to the allegation that Mr Odunsi made, the immediate past Media Director of the El-Rufai Campaign Team and now a candidate for the House of Reps. under the APC in Kaduna State, Barrister Musa Soba, who was present at the event in Kagoro denied the allegation that Mallam El-Rufai sneaked out of the Town Hall where the event took place. According to Soba, “Right from the time of our arrival around 11am, he (El-Rufai) made it categorically clear that he had a flight to catch at 1:30pm.
So this allegation of sneaking out of such an important event cannot arise.” As to who invited Mallam El-Rufai to the event, Soba said, “Of course it was the Organizers who invited Mallam El-Rufai to the event.” He further added that Mallam El-Rufai was invited as a guest and that he was not given any official role to play: “He was just invited as a guest to grace the occasion.” Soba added that the APC candidate and his running mate, Mr Bala
Barnabas, had attended the event to show their love and support for the people of Kagoro as well as to show respect for their culture. He pointed out further that after he left the Town Hall, Mallam El-Rufai visited the house of the APC candidate for the House Representatives, Mr Charles Bonat, who lives in Kagoro town. We wish to also state that contrary to insinuations, Mallam El-Rufai left the town at exactly 1:30pm, without any negative occurrence as it is being falsely peddled in some quarters.
On a final note, we want to clarify that there are two parts to the activity at the Afan Festival. The first part is where important guests give their speeches and then they are allowed to take their leave. This part takes place inside the Town Hall. The other part takes place after a break, and this involves various cultural displays on the large playground outside the Town Hall.