Presidential Spokesman Garba Shehu and SaharaReporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore on Tuesday exchanged rhetorical blows on Twitter over the role played by Late Ismaila Isa Funtua during his (Sowore) incarceration in DSS custody.
The war of words between the two started after Sowore posted a video on his Twitter handle where he alleged that the deceased media mogul attempted to cow him to denounce his #RevolutionNow protest which led to his arrest.
Sowore quoted the Late Isa Funtua to have said that “you can’t defeat the government”
— Omoyele Sowore (@YeleSowore) July 21, 2020
Sowore’s rhetorics did not sit well with Garba Shehu who was said to be part of the delegation that visited him in detention.
Shehu in a post titled “ISMA’ILA ISA: SOWORE HAS NOTHING TO GAIN BY ATTACKING A DEAD SOUL” said the meeting was on their own accord and not from the government as Sowore inferred.
He also said other members of the delegation – Vanguard Newspapers publisher, Sam Amuka and ThisDay Publisher and President, Nigerian Press Organisation, Nduka Obaigbena- agreed that Sowore was a “rascal”
Shehu’s statement read: ISMA’ILA ISA: SOWORE HAS NOTHING TO GAIN BY ATTACKING A DEAD SOUL.
“Let’s get the facts straight on the meeting with Sowore in SSS detention.
“First, it is important to state that the meeting was not instructed by the government. Nobody sent anybody to go and “negotiate” Sowore’s freedom as he put it.
“The late Malam Isma’ila, on his own called me to ask that I broker a meeting with him and two others with the SSS, which they agreed to.
“It is important that I state that it was the force of Malam Isma’ila’s argument that made the meeting possible.
“Vanguard Newspapers publisher, Sam Amuka and ThisDay Publisher and President, Nigerian Press Organisation, Nduka Obaigbena, all agreed that Sowore was a “rascal”, who had used his newspaper “to abuse all of us,” but agreed, nonetheless to go and press for his release.
“As the late Isma’ila put it, although he (Sowore) got into his problems due politics, not journalism the fact of him being a publisher imposed a duty on the media leaders to seek ways of making him free.
“The meeting ended well, and contrary to the posturing by Sowore, he said he was happy with a resolution proposed but that his lawyer, whoever that was, needed to come on board.
“The fence mending process, apparently collapsed after the meeting of the trio with the lawyer in Lagos.
“I don’t know what Sowore wants to achieve by distorting the facts of what transpired, but my advice to him is that he should stop his attacks on a dead, well-meaning intercessor.
“Knowing the way the secret service works, it should surprise no one if they keep a recording of that meeting.
“Faced with this posturing and the unfair attacks on the dead, we certainly will be forced to ask for the release of tapes, in case they are available for the public to judge.
ISMA’ILA ISA: SOWORE HAS NOTHING TO GAIN BY ATTACKING A DEAD SOUL.
Let’s get the facts straight on the meeting with Sowore in SSS detention.
— Garba Shehu (@GarShehu) July 21, 2020
Apparently not willing to give up on the exchange, Sowore took to Garba Shehu’s comment section to give further clarification on the encounter.
Throwing his first rhetorical fist, Sowore said he is ‘glad you admitted you led a delegation to meet me in DSS detention because the delegates said you arranged it.’
He also stated that he was informed that the delegation’s plan was to have the meeting on tape and accused Mr Shehu of lying about any agreement between the two parties.
Sowore said: “Glad you admitted you led a delegation to meet me in DSS detention because the delegates said you arranged it.
“It is very true that I was nice to your team because you weren’t my problem, you were just an errand boy. In fact I patted you on the back saying I had never met you before you were respectful but I knew you were there on a hatchet job.
“You mentioned that the DSS may have a tape, in fact I was told that was the plan before you even arrived.
“Contrary to your lie, I refused to enter into any agreement with you because I insisted only the presence on my lawyer could make that possible.
“My insistence then got Isa Funtua riled and he said that my lawyer was only grandstanding and that he too had been imprisoned by Buhari in 1983 and that no one can defeat the government. Your wicked self kept quiet but Nduka noticing I was upset took me to the DO’s ante room
“When I arrived downstairs I made a telephone call to my lawyer, Femi Falana in the presence of the DSS officials telling him that I do not want to negotiate my freedom and that when he meets your team he should restate my position, he did exactly that, your team got upset again.
“Soon as I made that call to Falana I was stopped from ever making any further calls until my continued detention became an INT’L issue, I was then offered a bugged cell phone with which I granted an interview to @PremiumTimesng, while I was calling my family the phone was seized”.
@GarShehu 1. Glad you admitted you led a delegation to meet me in DSS detention because the delegates said you arranged it.
— Omoyele Sowore (@YeleSowore) July 21, 2020
The exchange between the two has generated different reactions among Nigerians on social media.
See some reactions below:
Well l am not a supporter of this government, but ISA funtua visit to sowore at DSS detention was laudable and commendable. Sowore only wanted cheap publicity from is. Funtua was trying to broker peace. Howbeit, at in government favour, but to come that low is something…
— Olushola Olufolabi (@olushola_shola) July 21, 2020
Good day Sir, please don’t even answer him or even pay attention because little does he know that every soul must surely taste and like the Chinese proverb which says “never mock or insult the dead unless your are immortal”, may we meet our creator in a state of grace and peace.
— Louis Edet Jnr (@JnrEdet) July 21, 2020
Why didn't you write this when Isa funtua is alive because Sowore made the video long ago before he died?
— Olubunmi (@AbiriJoseph1) July 21, 2020
He addressed that in his interview with @ARISEtv. Where he said he went to that meeting as a person who loved the media. And sowore decided to twist it.
— Erickson (@Ericodong3) July 21, 2020
Don't worry bross..we know all of u in government are having your field day, living large & fat with our commonwealth and doing nothing for Nigeria except all the brilliant ideas that end on the pages of newspapers. Let what you guys fear the most continue to haunt you all.
— Samuel 'Yega (@ChemicalCitizen) July 21, 2020