The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has explained how his principal repeatedly gives him money to foot some of his bills.
Mr Adesina said claims that Mr Buhari is stingy is erroneous, even as he disclosed that the President repeatedly gave him money to cover some of his needs.
He made the revelation in an article titled: ‘Buhari at 78: If only we knew this president’ on Thursday.
“..In January 2017, I was to receive the traditional title of Nwanne di Namba of Mmaku Kingdom, in Enugu State. Courtesy demanded I tell the President. This man, who prides himself as ‘very stingy’ gave me a handsome amount of money to ferry my friends and family to the ceremony. How much? I won’t tell you, lest you ask for a belated share.”
“And in May 2018, I was billed for China for a 12 days course for senior government officials from Africa. He said when the journey was two days away, I should come to see him. I did. You know what he said? ‘Adesina, I know that you don’t have money. But you are too shy to ask.’ We both laughed, and he gave me an envelope which contained foreign currency. How much? You think I’ll tell you? For where?”
Mr Adesina’s piece was likely aimed at showcasing the generosity of his principal, whose ideology and manner of governance has been criticised repeatedly by many citizens, political analysts, and activists.
The president’s spokesperson claimed that if many Nigerians were as close to Mr Buhari like he is, they would have “handled him with more care.”
“If only more Nigerians knew this President. If only they knew the essential Buhari, the quintessential patriot and gentleman, they would behave differently, handle him with more care, and show him more kindness. Yes, everyone needs kindness, even Presidents.”
“Too many people have chosen to believe the wrong things about President Buhari, and have ossified their minds against the truth. But then, those of us who have had the privilege to work with him, studied and known him at close quarters, have a duty to tell what we have seen. And what better day to do it, than on his birthday.”
“Oh, he eats from the President. What else would he say than to sing his praises. True? False. If need be, I will serve this President for free. I consider it a great privilege to serve a man I admire. Even gratis.”
He claimed that whether Boko Haram and some other ‘elements’ stop their attacks on the nation or not, Mr Buhari has nothing to lose.
“Somebody commented that a blitzkrieg has been launched against Buhari and the government he leads, from all quarters. Some elements in the media, human rights groups, so-called activists, NGOs, Boko Haram, ISWAP, all at once. But is Buhari the loser? Not at all. It’s the country that ultimately loses”
“In about two years and five months, with God being merciful as He always is, President Buhari will land safely, and retire to Daura for a well-deserved retirement at 80. And if those engineering distractions against his government continue, it is the country that would have lost. A great deal.”
He also said the allegations that Mr Buhari is a religious and ethnic bigot are false and could not be substantiated by those making the allegations.
“What are the things some people hurl against the President, which shows that they don’t know him at all? He’s a religious bigot. Really? I’ve not seen a scintilla of evidence in the past five years. Every Christmas and Easter holiday, he calls those of us who are Christians, working with him, and asks us to stay off work, and enjoy the season with our families. That’s not the way of bigots, who would never acknowledge any religion, except their own.”
“As a military commander, history has it that Buhari would always give soldiers working under him time to go for worship on Sunday mornings, just as he did to the Muslims on Fridays. Yet, bigot, bigot, some people continue to shout. ”
“He’s a Fulani, he rears cows, and all Fulani herdsmen are criminals, that’s why he tolerates them. Really? Some people even say all Fulani are herdsmen, whether they see them with cattle or not. Truth is; every ethnic stock has its deviants, its criminal elements. You can’t just demonise all Fulani, simply because you want to excoriate the President. Did he choose to be born Fulani? Did I choose to be born Yoruba, and did the Ishan, Idoma or Ijaw man choose the ethnic stock he wanted to be born into? It’s a biological accident. You have nothing to do with it. A man then doesn’t go repudiating where he comes from, simply because some people have decided to tar his people with the brush of infamy.
“He’s nepotistic. A common refrain, but non-scientific. About three years ago, we did a scientific exercise. We chronicled all the appointments made by the President since 2015, and allocated them to states and regions. The result showed that the Southwest had the largest share. Followed by Imo and Kano states. Then Edo and Katsina. And on and on. But the naysayers ignored facts and figures, and stuck to their false narratives. Nepotism.”
“One day, the President had given me an appointment to announce in the early days of the administration. By then, some people had started talking of a northernisation agenda. So I said, “Mr President, this is the murmur we hear. Why don’t you consider giving this position to another part of the country?”
“He looked at me calmly, smiled, and said: “If a search has been conducted for a position, and someone has been thrown up as the best candidate. And I then bypass him because of where he comes from, or because of his religion, haven’t I been unfair to that person?”
Responding to the rumour that Aso Rock is occupied by Jubril of Sudan, Mr Adesina said he is convinced that Mr Buhari did not die during medical vacation in 2017 because he could recognise him as “Adesina” upon his return.
“This is Jubril from Sudan and not Muhammadu Buhari, who died during the medical vacation in 2017, some people say. You have a clone in Aso Villa, not Buhari. Idiocy, sadly believed by even some intellectuals. Let me tell you a story. On the day the President finally returned to the country in August 2017, after months of absence, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Abayomi Olonisakin, was giving out his daughter in marriage. I had attended the church service, decked unusually in complete Agbada, with a cap to match. From the wedding, I went straight to the airport to join the reception party.”
“We formed a welcome line, as we usually do. And as the President shook each person, he had one wisecrack or the other to say. When he got to me, he took my hand and said: ‘Adesina, this is the best I’ve seen you dressed.’ We both laughed heartily, and the television cameras captured it. I remember that many people asked me later what had tickled me and the President, that we laughed so uproariously.”
“Jubril from Sudan? Would he know my name as Adesina? Would he know I rarely wear Agbada? How ridiculous can some people be?” he wondered.
He also said his principal was kind because he called him when he lost his older sister in 2015 and also for attending his mother’s burial in 2013.
“This President is a patriot. He loves this country dearly. A man of personal discipline. Single-minded about the infrastructural development of the country. And he’s succeeding at it. I have loads of stories to tell to justify each virtue. But time and space won’t permit.”
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