Update: Doyin Okupe Denies Equating Jonathan With Mandela

The Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, has denied equating his principal with the late former President of South Africa, Dr. Nelson Mandela.

Head of Media in Okupe’s office, Mr. Bamidele Salam, said in a statement that the claim credited to Okupe was an invention by some individuals whose motive, he said, was to mislead innocent users of the social media. “I check (sic) through the history of Nigeria among our past and present leaders, the only one we can call our Mandela is President Jonathan. There is no President in Nigeria that has sacrificed 13 hours to discuss with ASUU,” Okupe allegedly said in the statement that had gone viral on the social media. 

While giving a background to this statement purportedly likening President Jonathan to the former South African President, Okupe said the AIT programme where he allegedly made the statement was recorded at about 5pm on Thursday, November 5, whereas the death of the South African leader was announced almost four hours later. He, therefore, wondered how he could have spoken about a living Mandela as if he were dead and then compared him with any other person. 

“It is clear that the authors of these false quotes are linked by the same desire to mislead innocent members through a consistent pattern of published falsehood in a manner as to portray Okupe as an enemy of adherents of a particular faith, geo-political zone or some other noble causes in the polity,” Salam’s statement read in part. Salam said it was unfortunate that many online commentators believed what he described as false publication and continued to make disparaging comments in response to the untrue posting. 

He also alleged that a group, known as Arewa Vanguard, had also lied by quoting Okupe as saying at a press conference that the ongoing strike by the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities was being sponsored by a former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and a former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu. He said the statement was obviously from the imagination of the author who, he said, had misled a number of people into making invidious remarks about the Presidential aide, whose statements about the ASUU strike, according to him, are always signed and presented to the media.
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