Human rights lawyer Festus Keyamo says Gani Fawehinmi was blacklisted by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for supporting President Muhammadu Buhari in 1985.
Keyamo, director of strategic communications for the re-election campaign of the president, says he finds himself in a similar position as the late activist and human rights lawyer.
“In 1984/85, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, my late boss, dared his colleagues at the NBA; he ignored all of them. In fact, it is just like some sections are so alarmed at what I am doing now,” the lawyer told The Interview.
“That was exactly the same position Gani found himself. There is no difference. How would Gani support a Buhari, a dictator? As a result of that, he was put on blacklist by the NBA.
“I hope you know that. It was because of Buhari that Gani was blacklisted. What happened? At the end of the day, in hindsight, years after Buhari left power, when Babangida took over power and now institutionalized corruption, Gani was proved right.”
When he was asked to react to the assertion that his principal projects weakness, Keyamo said: “Your question is the bundle of contradictions we find ourselves in now.
“Do you realise PDP is accusing Buhari of being a dictator? Do you realize that PDP and other people are accusing Buhari of being a tyrant? Have you heard things like that? It is a bundle of contradictions.
“You are saying he is weak whereas other people are calling him a tyrant. So, thank you for reflecting the views that he is not even doing enough. He can be tougher than he is now.”
He said some of the people claiming the south-east has been marginalised “just hate” Buhari.
“Who has he marginalized? The southeast has four senior ministers and one junior minister. The whole of the north has seven junior minsters. Do you realize that? Somebody just told me that in three years of Buhari, no government in history has moved into the southeast with infrastructural development as much as Buhari. They just hate him. They are constructing now, with the sukuk bond of N16.5bn, the Enugu/Onitsha road,” Keyamo said.
“They are also constructing the Enugu/Port Harcourt road. The second Niger Bridge has gone far, they have even expanded the design from two kilometers to seven kilometers.
“Do you know the southeast you are talking about, in 16 years of PDP and with all the trillions of naira they got from excess oil earnings, the least they could have done for them was just to construct that bridge. It was only one major thing they did for the easterners in 16 years – the Onitsha/Owerri road. Only one road of just one hour drive.
“That is all they did in 16 years. Are they not ashamed of that? In less than three years, the federal government is constructing three major highways for them in the east. And it is also rushing the second Niger bridge. It is good that you are not throwing me in the air to say he has failed or marginalized a group. We need to pick out one issue and address it with statistics. It is better that way.”