A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, on Monday apologised to his followers on Twitter and Facebook friends over a post deemed insulting to Jesus Christ.
His tweet on Sunday stated, “@zebbook: If Jesus criticises Jonathan’s govt, Maku/Abati/Okupe will say he slept with Mary Magdalene.”….LWKMD…..”
The retweet of the sarcastic post which many Nigerians, especially Christians, took offence at was directed at defending a former Education minister, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, and attacking the Information minister, Labaran Maku; Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs Dr. Doyin Okupe; and Presidential Adviser on Media and Publcity, Dr. Reuben Abati and invariably, the Jonathan administration.
Despite offering an apology on both Twitter and Facebook, el-Rufai’s comment still sparked public outrage.
His apology stated, “Hello Friends. I have been travelling and trying to catch some sleep in between the last 24 hours and missed all the furore arising from my retweet of Ogunyemi Bukola’s (@zeebook) joke, Maku et al and Jesus. I must say I am taken aback by the extent of desperate misrepresentation of what was an innocuous attempt to show the godlessness of the Jonathanians to denigrate anyone that dares to ask them to be accountable.
“To those who were genuinely offended by the retweet, I apologise. I did not meant to offend anyone, neither did the @zeebook I know and featured as one of the Young Voices in my Friday Column. Jesus or Isa Alaihis Salaam is a respected prophet of Islam. Every Muslim accepts this in addition to his miraculous virgin birth. It is therefore absurd for any Muslim believer to disrespect Jesus Christ.
“I hope those in this class will see my point of view and accept my apologies for any offense or disappointment caused. And I advise everyone to read @zeebook’s timeline and mine to read EXACTLY what was tweeted rather than the second-hand reports of certain people who ALWAYS twist whatever I write or not write to achieve their morally-repugnant objectives.”
But many of his Facebook friends and Twiter followers slammed him for the comment and for also shifting the responsibility for the blame on those he called “Jonathanians”
Emmanuel Ogbeche stated on Facebook, “This is no apology. I don’t know what el-Rufai means by ‘Jonathanians’. You retweet an offensive tweet and claim Jonathanians are making mountains out of nothing? Sick!”
Easyaffection: tweeted, “Sir with all due respect. I get u point in this joke. But why Jesus? It’s not funny.”….ask @zebbook….”
Hakeem Babatunde Disu while commenting on El-Rufai’s Facebook page said, “Mallam indeed misfired, you don’t make jokes on such sensitive matters knowing that nations have gone to war on issues of lesser importance. Tweet or re-tweet, it was a big error.”
Iyabo Charles wrote, “El Rufai thought you were a responsible politician, but now I see you are one of the big hegoats using religious & sacred names for your innocuous post. Go and hug transformer and never again will I follow you on facebook because I have totally lost respect for you.”
However, while some rejected El-Rufai’s apology, others gave him a second chance and warned him against repeating the same mistake.
Suzan Okpara said on Facebook, “I understand where you are coming from Mallam and I stand with you but for Christ sake for all the people physical and spiritual why is it that it’s our dear lord and personal saviour you had to use for your riddled sarcasm. Please we forgive you as good Christians but don’t try that again for whatever reason.”
Brendan Chu said on Facebook El-Rufai’s conduct was far below acceptable standard but lauded him for realising his mistake.
He said, “Thumbs up Mallam, you are truly a man. Anyone who stands up and defends what he or she has done and apologises honestly when such deed is judged to be below the acceptable standard deserves the respect of all.”