It’s gone really nasty and dirty between c who is President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity and Reno Omokri, media aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
It all began on May 25, 2018 when Omokri went after Shehu by labelling him an AGIP (Okay, that’s not the name of a gas station in this context. It’s actually an acronym for Any Government In Power. It essentially means the person being attacked will serve any government as long as he’s guaranteed food for his belly).
Omokri wrote that: “And as for Garba Shehu who told me to tell my friends in the PDP that they are not coming back to power, my response to him is that he should buy a mirror and what he will see is the face of PDP.
“In fact, Garba Shehu was affiliated with the Peoples’ Democratic Party for 12 good years. He was in the PDP for more years than he has been in the APC. He was in the PDP longer than I, Reno Omokri, have been associated with the PDP”.
Omokri added that Shehu’s office at the time was opposite his.
“Garba Shehu cannot deny this because his office was opposite mine at the presidential villa between 2003 when I returned from the United Kingdom and 2005 when I went to the US.
“Garba Shehu used to craft very strong anti-Buhari press releases for the PDP during his 12 year sojourn as a PDP member, which included years spent as SA media under Obasanjo. Now he crafts press releases for the same man he once attacked against the same people he once praised”.
Of course Shehu didn’t take Omokri’s attack lying down so he called Omokri a pathological lying Pastor.
“Pastor” Reno Omokri is forcing me to do what I don’t do. I don’t react to published criticisms. I have spent my entire career in the media and as one who criticizes others; you must be ready to take criticism.
“This is about exposing a liar masquerading as a pastor. By the way, I have known and worked with exemplary pastors who are decent and from whom you learned more of the etiquette of truth telling.
“Take for example Pastor Emeka Izeze and his brother, Pastor Ifeanyi, or his friend, Pastor Segun Babatope. And lately, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President and Pastor Femi Adesina.
“For those Reno tried to mislead, yes it is a fact that I worked in the media office of a PDP administration. Not for five years as the new-day pastor published but only for six months at which point it was announced on NTA news, to my surprise, that my letter of resignation had been accepted when I hadn’t written any.
“I learned of course that I was fired because the head of the country at that time, who believed that every published criticism was sponsored by an insider, read the weekly magazine, The News, and didn’t like what was written about him”, Shehu wrote.
Shehu added that Omokri was an errand boy in the corridors of power who only used to perch on a stool in an office.
“Another point the “Pastor” keeps making is that he was my colleague at that time. No, he wasn’t. His boss was. The Reno I knew was a Personal Assistant (PA) to a Principal Officer like me. He didn’t attend meetings and didn’t receive official briefings as we did but ran errands for his boss.
“Not being a principal officer by status, he could not have had an office opposite my own. He may, however, have perched on a stool in one of those offices but I didn’t take particular notice of which one. He was, however, very personable at that time.
Pastor’’ Reno lied by calling me an AGIP – meaning an unprincipled person ready to serve any government in power. The period he was referring to was one in which my boss ran into bad political weather and some of us around him were scapegoated.
“I was locked in DSS detention many times, my houses in Kano and Abuja broken into and valuables, including cash some of which were never returned were seized. I was going to court for two years and for the most part of which I didn’t have a passport.
“In the course of that trial, the judge presiding called back my lawyers, Niyi Akintola, SAN and Rickey Tarfa, SAN, after an adjournment to say that “I didn’t mean that he should be kept in DSS detention. I said he should be taken to Kuje Prison,” and that’s where I was kept. Under detention in the DSS I was stripped down to the pants and photographed head to toe. All that didn’t make one to capitulate.
“When they lost to Muhammadu Buhari in the party primaries, the candidates in that race, Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, Waziri Atiku Abubakar, Rochas Okorocha and Sam Nda-Isaiah surrendered their media assets to the winner who had the grace to ask me to lead the media team. When we won, he (then President-elect Buhari) invited me to serve as one of his two spokespersons and I pledged 100 per cent loyalty to him and that’s where I am. This cannot be AGIP by any standards.
“Reno should stop lying, if only to help the pastoral calling to retain its good name. Otherwise he should quit the ministry”.
If you are wondering who Shehu kept referring to as “my former boss” here, it is Atiku Abubakar who was Vice President to Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007.
Atiku and Obasanjo fell out before their first term even got off the ground.
Omokri returns with more insults
Shots fired??!! Hold on a second. Omokri read Shehu’s essay and doubled down.
“In his statement calling me a liar, Garba claims that I alleged that he was a Special Assistant in the Buhari Administration for five years. That claim is either a function of dishonesty or semi literacy because I never made such a claim. I said that Garba was an SA in the Obasanjo administration and served that government and the PDP for years. This is a fact!
“Even if Garba Shehu denies that his office was opposite mine, at least he was forced to admit that he worked at the Presidential Villa at the same time I did for a PDP administration.
“Garba Shehu says he is not an AGIP (Any Government in Power), but then the facts contradict this. What do you call a man who now issues statements for a man and a party he once attacked against the men and party he once praised?
“People like Garba Shehu ridiculed Fayose’s stomach infrastructure, yet they are ardent disciples of stomach infrastructure! When PDP was providing Garba’s stomach infrastructure he was attacking Buhari. Now that Buhari provides Garba’s stomach infrastructure, he is attacking PDP.
“For 20 years I‘ve been loyal to PDP. I have NEVER looked left or right. I remain loyal to Goodluck Jonathan in power and out of power. I have maintained my conscience. I will NEVER be a food is ready character like Garba Shehu, who jumps from PDP to APC depending on which party has food.
“Can you imagine this Any Government in Power (AGIP) character called Garba Shehu attacking me? I can NEVER be bought like you. Insult Buhari for PDP one day, insult PDP for Buhari the next. It is shameless political prostitutes like you that make decent people run from politics!
“Only a shameless character like Garba Shehu, who worked as SA Media in the PDP Government of Obasanjo can turn around today to now insult the same Obasanjo under whom he served for the same Buhari that he once attacked when he was in the PDP. People whose loyalty can be bought!”
Alright guys, we are done. But you have to agree that was a huge pile of mess from presidential aides.