Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s media aide, Paul Ibe, has said his principal was not silent on the January 16 explosion that killed five persons, injured 77 and destroyed 58 houses in the Old Bodija area of Ibadan, Oyo State.
Ibe was reacting to Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, who remarked on Monday that Atiku had not reached out or condoled with the government and people of Oyo State over the tragic incident.
Makinde stated this in Ibadan when a former governor of Anambra State and presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the last general elections, Peter Obi, paid him a condolence visit over the January 16 explosion.
Makinde said, “Let me use this opportunity to thank former governor of Anambra State and presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, for the visit. I thank him because politics didn’t seep into this. You came here to commiserate with us over the explosion. Actually, the investigation is going on. It was simply illegal miners storing explosives in an environment where they shouldn’t be.
“It is a place where meant for people to live in; It’s not a mining site. So, all the lapses that allowed such to happen have been looked into.
“I am particularly grateful because the musketeers that went for the presidential election have reached out to me. The President has called me, and you have reached out to me, but my own party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has not called or even sent a text message.
“And I am saying it openly so that our leaders will know that there is time for politics. You have a time for governance and you have a time for humanity. So, we want to say thank you so much, sir. We appreciate this visit.”
But reacting, Ibe said Atiku had condoled with the Oyo people over the incident.
He said, “With due respect to Governor Seyi Makinde, we wish to correct his expression about the response of His Excellency Atiku Abubakar to the recent explosion in the city of Ibadan.
“Atiku Abubakar made a condolence message about the Ibadan explosion, less than 24 hours of its occurrence, where he shared his commiseration and empathy with the good people and government of Oyo State over the incident.
“Perhaps the Governor has been too busy to take track of media reports on the incident. But we wish to put on record that on the 17th of January, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar did make a widely available message on the Ibadan incident.”
Atiku has blamed his defeat in the 2023 presidential election on the refusal of Makinde and four other PDP governors to support his ambition.
Makinde and the other PDP governors, who called themselves G-5 governors, supported President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress in the February 25, 2023 presidential election.
Meanwhile, Obi, during his visit to Ibadan, said, “Through the governor, we want to extend our condolences to the bereaved families and to all those who lost their valuable property in the incident and to assure them of our prayers that God will grant those who lost their lives eternal rest. And we want to thank the government for its prompt response and that is what governance has to be.”
Speaking on the economic situation of the country and its effect on the masses, Obi called for a cut in the cost of governance at the federal level as a necessary sacrifice to move the country forward.
“All of us are now involved, and all of us should work hard and make the necessary sacrifices to see that we turn around the situation. That is why it is necessary when things happened here, and the government responded in a manner the government should respond and everybody comes to participate and commend them for doing the right thing.
“It’s a matter of sacrifice, today, elections are over, governance is the key thing and what is required, for me, is to cut down the cost of governance, especially at the federal level. It is unacceptable the way it is going; we need to prioritise critical areas, such as education, health and pulling people out of poverty,” he said.