By Sunday Oyinloye
Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media to President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria is a senior colleague and a man I hold in high esteem. As the President’s spokesman, I have had exclusive interview with him twice and I could see how passionate he is when it comes to the issue of his principal. It is almost safe to say that he could find no fault in his boss. He literally “eats” Buhari, “drinks” Buhari and ‘dreams” Buhari.
The man appears to be so loyal to his boss that most times I wonder if he would be able to tell him the home truth. You want to ask me what loyalty has to do with the truth? In Nigerian politicsyou arelabeled a dishonest person if you tell your principal his shortcomings or weak points.
In his tribute to mark the 75th Birthday of the President, Adesina made a revelation. According to him , on June 1, 2015, President Buhari admonished him thus:
“Adesina, always tell me the truth, that is what I want from you. In this type of position that I have found myself, it is easy not to be told the truth, people will just tell you what they want you to hear. But from you, I want the truth. As a General, I may argue, but please, argue with me. Tell me the truth”
Adesina was so spiritual in eulogizing Buhari that he had to quote both the Bible and the Quran to drive home his point that his boss is a true friend of the masses. More than two years after the “Tell me the truth” meeting and a year after the Media Adviser told the President that Nigerians are hungry, I believe Adesina should see his principal again and tell him another truth. However, I am not sure if he would be able to tell his boss that he is not in control and that there are some hands and voices louder than that of the President in his administration.
I cannot not imagine the Media Adviser telling his boss that a cabal is running his government and that some political appointees appear to be untouchable. I am not sure he will be able to tell the President that the inter-agency rivalry in his administration is unprecedented.
Nigerians are very familiar with the dangerous “game” between EFCC,DSS and NIA which is very embarrassing not only to the government but the country as a whole. Please, let no one tell me that democracy is at work like that as those in government always say when things go wrong. If Adesina meets the President again, I wonder if he would be able to tell him that some of his appointees are working at cross purposes.
I wonder if he will have the courage to tell the President that the cabal running his government and infighting among his appointees will make him work very hard if he wants to be re-elected.
Again, I am just wondering whether he will be bold enough to tell Mr. President that he is selective in persecuting his anti-corruption war and that some of his men have embarrassed him long enough. I am sure the Media Adviser will have no problem telling the President that power supply has improved , however, I hope he will also tell him that many roads in the country are still death traps.
I am still wondering if Adesina will be able to tell his boss that Nigerians are not happy with the kid gloves he used in handling the menace of killer herdsmen who have taken so much lives in the country without being labeled as terrorists. There is no doubt that the Buhari administration has done some good things but some of the avoidable mistakes of the immediate past administration are being repeated.
Yes, those who love Buhari call him “Lion the King” and even his wife, Aisha was quoted to have said when the “Lion the King” returns from his medical vacation from UK, he would roar, interestingly, Nigerians are yet to see the Lion roar against the cabal running his government.
I have said it before, that Buhari’s problem is not the likes of Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fasoye who criticizes the President at every giving opportunity, at least he knows the Governor’s stand, rather his major problem are few of his appointees who seem to have caged the Lion. Some of them are like serpents.
Dear President, your problem has to do with enemies within. Old soldier never dies. As a General at 75, you should be courageous enough to fight the serpents under you the way the eagle would handle a snake, otherwise, the road to 2019 for you may be very rough than your supporters are making you to believe Mr. President, there are some truths that probably it is only an outsider like me that can tell you . Many Nigerians see you as a good man but a weak leader who lacks good administrative skills, they see you as an honest man who sincerely wants to bring about positive change but doesn’t have control over his appointees.
As Adesina rightly said in his tribute, there is a reason why God has kept you alive. To me, the reason is for you to now resume as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Even if you are not the Lion which your supporters call you, you should be seen to be roaring like a Lion, the same advice I gave to your predecessor which he never listened to.
Mr. President, If you don’t want to go the way of your predecessor, Dr.Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, it is time to be a man, otherwise your enemies will have the last laugh.