Aisha Buhari has thrown her support behind calls for the removal of Festus Adedayo as the spokesperson for Senate President Ahmed Lawan.
Writing on Twitter, the first lady said, “You cannot drive an agenda with people who don’t believe in that agenda.” Her comment was in response to a video showing a protest against the appointment.
The call for Mr Adedayo’s removal was spearheaded by a horde of pro-APC loyalists on social media. They cited the columnist’s history of anti-government rhetoric, a disposition they said was inconsistent with the ideals of the ruling party.
Mr Lawan, who was elected Senate president last week, bowed to pressure late Thursday and rescinded the appointment of Mr Adedayo. He had earlier named him on Wednesday alongside other media aides in his first set of appointments.
But APC social media personalities immediately grouped to fault Mr Lawan for not being sensitive with his choices, saying those so far named, especially Mr Adedayo, had long criticised the party and worked against its interest at the general elections.
Mr Lawan initially dug his heels in on the appointment, but it became too difficult to ignore after a protest was staged by APC loyalists at the party’s campaign office in Abuja on Thursday morning.
Mr Lawan has “decided to rescind its decision on the appointment,” of Mr Adebayo, a statement from the Senate President’s office said Thursday afternoon. Other media aides named alongside Mr Adebayo would, however, be retained, the statement added.
Those who led the campaign included Ayo Oyalowo and Ayo Akanji, two of the most vocal APC voices on social media. A video that circulated online showed more than a dozen APC social media commentators took part in the demonstration.
Mr Oyalowo, 46, said during the protest that Mr Adedayo and other controversial appointments by Mr Lawan went against the party’s “agenda.”
Mrs Buhari on Thursday reacted on Twitter to the video of the protest against Mr Adedayo’s appointment, shortly before the announcement that Mr Adedayo had been dropped.
“You cannot drive an agenda with people who don’t believe in that agenda…how will you achieve your purpose if you bring in people who fought against your agenda,” Mrs Buhari said.
Social media commentators said Mrs Buhari’s eagerness to take sides in the partisan protest could further worsen political polarisation in the country’s social media space, where pro and anti-government bickering has intensified following the general elections.
A spokesperson for the First Lady, Suleiman Haruna, did not return requests for comments Thursday afternoon.