The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina; says he once told President Muhammadu Buhari about the grumblings of some Nigerians regarding the skewed appointments in favour of the North.
Adesina said the President responded by telling him that it would be wrong to deny competent appointments based on where they are from.
The President’s spokesman said this in an article titled, ‘Buhari at 78: If Only We Knew the President’.
He said, “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 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?’”?
Adesina claimed that a previous tally of the President’s appointments showed that the South-West had the highest number of appointees.
The President’s aide said there was no truth to the allegation that Buhari was guilty of nepotism.
He said Buhari was neither a tribalist nor a religious bigot because the President attended his mother’s funeral service in 2015.
Adesina stated, “A kind man. I have lots of stories to tell, but let me restrict myself to a few. In December 2015, I had lost my elder sister, a Professor of Dramatic Arts, in an auto crash.
While I was crying like a wailing wailer, who was on the phone, consoling and condoling with me? Muhammadu Buhari.
“And before he became President when my mother passed on in 2013, and we had a commendation service for her in Lagos, who flew in from Kaduna to attend? Muhammadu Buhari. He sat through the Christian service. Yet, they say he’s a bigot. I hear. Bigot from Sudan.”
He also described Buhari as a generous man who had on two occasions handed him envelopes of money to attend events.
Adesina, who said he would not disclose the amount, said he would never forget what the President had done for him.
The President’s spokesman added, “And 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-day course for senior government officials from Africa. He said when the journey was two days away, I should come to see him. I did. Do 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? Do you think I’ll tell you? For where?”
Adesina said he believed so much in the President’s capacity to lead that he was even willing to serve Buhari for free.
“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 said.