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Nigerian President uses coded Hausa word “fitna” to call for election violence against opposition Updated for 2021

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Updated: February 26, 2021


The Hausa language word “fitna” was used by President Muhammadu Buhari in Zamfara state reportedly to call for violence against the opposition in the February 16 presidential election, according to opposition figure Atiku Abubakar.

But the campaign spokesman of President Buhari said many scholars have given a different meaning to the word and denied the President was inciting violence.

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Festus Keyamo, the campaign spokesman, said the word fitna was taken out of context by the opposition People’s Democratic Party.

“Nothing can be farther from the truth. The Hausa word the President used in Zamfara, which has been taken out of context, is “fitna”. Incidentally all our Hausa language scholars have said the word means different things: it means distress, trial, affliction or temptation. It can also be used to describe rebellion or uprising,” Mr Buhari’s campaign said in a statement to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.

Read his full statement below

Typical of the PDP and Atiku’s Campaign team, they have continued in their favourite pastime of peddling falsehood, scaremongering and misinformation. This time, the candidate of the main opposition himself, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, sensing a comprehensive defeat this Saturday and out of frustration, threw caution to the wind in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State on Monday, February 11, 2019, when he alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari called for violence when he campaigned in Zamfara State.

Nothing can be farther from the truth. The Hausa word the President used in Zamfara, which has been taken out of context, is “fitna”. Incidentally all our Hausa language scholars have said the word means different things: it means distress, trial, affliction or temptation. It can also be used to describe rebellion or uprising.

In this case, President Buhari was actually weighing in on the joke told very often of recent in the North that due to the rice boom, farmers have embarked on pilgrimage and the marrying of more wives. So, what the President meant was actually a joke deliberately taken out of context: he simply told the crowd to ensure they eat very well because of the rice boom before they can contemplate giving in to those temptations.

Even in some private meetings with our campaign team, the President has always commented on this joke. Sadly, out of desperation, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has decided to peddle falsehood.

We urge Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to realize that it is God Almighty that gives power and takes power. He should not use his palpable desperation to return to power (in order to sell Nigeria to his “friends” and to make them rich) to set this nation ablaze by outright falsehood.

Thank you.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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