The Presidency has argued that having some people around the president did not start with President Muhammadyu Buhari.
He maintained that the seat of power believed that elsewhere such people are called ‘kitchen cabinet’.
Speaking at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Press Corps at the weekend, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu, said a lot of the people called cabal in the presidency were successful people making extreme sacrifices serving government.
“Every president must have people who advice him. It is not a sin, it is not an offence to have people that you take into confidence.
“What is the meaning of cabal? I just googled Thesaurus and among many other definitions, what they are saying is that cabal means ‘conspire, intrigues, mystique, occult, secret.’ There is no government in this country that we have had that some people were not accused of being a cabal in that government and it is because every administration, every president must have a secretariat.
“Elsewhere, they call it ‘kitchen cabinet’, but in our own country we are being derogatory and we term them cabal so that it will tarnish their own good standing.
On the controversy over plan to regulate the activities of the social media, the president’s spokesman ruled out political undertone. “Social media has become a problem for many families because rights of women and children are being abused.
“There is a need to protect vulnerable members of the society. There is to protect minority whether tribal or religion in our own country.
“So, it makes sense that you, as media stakeholders, come around the Minister of Information and Culture and formulate.
“The minister is saying come, sit down with me and let us talk about it. I was told that the day he called on NUJ, they walked out on him. If that report is true, I think it is very unfortunate. I think we need to come around him and offer media driven solution so that at the end of it, this country will have a vibrant and effective social media communication system…
“I will like to appeal that please give serious consideration to some of these elements and see how the media in the country can work together with government to find communication solution to purely communication problem.
“It is not political, the government has no reason to undermine or weaken the mass media. When you realise it, in country where the mass media are being suppressed, where there is no freedom of expression and information, you find out that the media space tends to decline, it becomes smaller, media houses close down but the irony of what is happening in the country is that while some civil society groups are crying that freedom of expression is being threatened, in any case we know why they were shouting, they are looking for donors abroad who will send in US dollars for the protection of hate speech, that basically it is a selfish thing. But in a country where we are expanding the media space,” he said.
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