On Monday, May 20, 2015, few days to his inauguration, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the appointment of Mr Femi Adesina as his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity.
Dear Femi Adesina, Did President Buhari go to London for prayers?
One year after his appointment, the Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina may have given critics more reasons to question his competence.
A seasoned journalist, Mr Adesina was until his appointment the Managing Editor and Editor-In-Chief of The Sun newspaper.
His appointment caused a buzz on social media with most Nigerians questioning his his competence even as others expressed confidence in him.
Shortly after his appointment, Adesina disclosed that he encouraged President Buhari to contest the 2015 Presidential Election for the fourth time. A reason, most political watchers gave for the President's choice.
He said: “You know, in 2011, he (Muhammadu Buhari) said he would not contest the Presidency again but in the run up to the 2015 election, I felt he should still run and I wrote that the fact that he said in 2011 that he would not run again could not be carved in concrete and he could change his mind if he wanted and the rest, they say, is history. He changed his mind, he ran and he won.”
Popularly called "A Buharist" by his colleagues, Adesina became the President's image maker. For a man who had no social media presence at the time, Nigerians wondered how he would perform the task.
One year later, Adesina might have given his critics points to support their earlier argument that he was not qualified for the position as President Buhari an Mr Adesina seem not to be on the same page as regards some critical issues. The most recent is the President's health condition.
The President cancelled his trip to Lagos where he was billed to commission some projects in the state. His vice, Yemi Osibanjo, represented him at the event.
The president cancelled his trip to Rivers state to flag off the clean up of Ogoniland. Sources said he was receiving treatment for an ear infection known as Meniere disease at the Aso Villa clinic. However, Governor Ayodele stated that his decision was due to the assassination threat from militants in the area.
Meanwhile, Adesina in a swift reaction on Saturday, June 4, 2016 said the president was hale and hearty.
“Didn’t you see pictures of him receiving Anglican bishops yesterday (Friday)? Did he look sick? The president is as fit as a fiddle. Anyone who says he is sick is telling lies,” he said.
On Monday, June 6, 2016, President Buhari departed Nigeria for London to see an Ear, Nose and Throat (E.N.T) specialist, a move widely condemned by Nigerians following the federal government's decision to end medical tourism.
The Commonwealth doctors in a statement signed by Dr Osahon Enabulele have also expressed dissatisfaction with the President's trip.
Before his departure, President Buhari had accepted that he was ill saying “Is there anybody that doesn’t fall sick?”
Again, shortly after the president's departure, Adesina told journalists that Buhari was embarking on a 10-days vacation to London. He insisted that the President was not sick but needs the prayer of Nigerians. Most Nigerians wondered if President Buhari was going to meet an Imam or Pastor in London.
He went on to say that: “The buzz going round town is that the President is ill, but ‘ill’ will be a misnomer, it should not be the right word to use.
“The President is going for a 10-day rest and during that period he will see specialists who will look at his ear because he has been treating that ear locally for sometime.
“Nigerian physicians have looked at it and now they have said ‘you are going to UK, now that you will be there. Let specialists look at the ear."
“They have treated it locally so it is not a question of whether the President is ill. If he is ill, it presupposes that there are certain things that he cannot do.
If what the presidential aide said is anything to go by, then Nigerians deserve an an explanation from Mr Adesina as to why President Buhari should travel to London for vacation despite the resorts, hotels and relaxation centres we have in Nigeria.
Former Presidents who were sick have travelled abroad to seek medical attention, why is President Buhari's case different? What does Mr Adesina stand stand to gain from telling Nigerians that President Buhari is not sick? Does the job of a media aid include conflicting details? Is Mr Adesina working remotely from the Aso Villa?
While these questions are seriously begging for answers, an online news platform, Sahara Reporters have alleged that the president is battling with cough, a severe condition which may lead to an extension of his 10-day vacation. As usual, Nigerians are waiting for Mr Adesina's defensive position.
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