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Buhari At 78: If Only We Knew This President, “By Femi Adesina”

A file photograph of Mr Femi Adesina.


Ask for a President beleaguered from all sides, and I’ll present you Muhammadu Buhari, the ramrod straight man from Daura, in Katsina State, who turns 78 at present.

In the build-up to the 2015 presidential election, we used to say every part had been thrown at him as projectiles, besides the kitchen sink. Permit me to replace that expression. Today, every part potential has been thrown at President Buhari, together with the kitchen sink. Anything. Everything. Fake information. Hate speech. Lies. False propaganda. Evil ideas. Malediction. Odium. Opprobrium. Ogbunigwe. Ogulutu.Surface to air missiles. All offensive weapons. But the person trudges on. Calmly, sedately, peacefully.

If solely extra Nigerians knew this President. If solely they knew the important Buhari, the quintessential patriot and gentleman, they might behave in a different way, deal with him with extra care, and present him extra kindness. Yes, everybody wants kindness, even Presidents.

President Muhammadu Buhari

Remember that tune by Mary Mc Kee and The Genesis?
You’ve received to attempt a bit of kindness
Yes, present a bit of kindness
Just shine your gentle for everybody to see
And should you attempt a bit of kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded folks, on narrow-minded streets.

Too many individuals have chosen to imagine the improper issues about President Buhari, and have ossified their minds towards the reality. But then, these of us who’ve had the privilege to work with him studied and recognized him at shut quarters, have an obligation to inform what now we have seen. And what higher 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 want be, I’ll serve this President without cost. I think about it an awesome privilege to serve a person I love. Even free of charge.

Somebody commented {that a} blitzkrieg has been launched towards Buhari and the federal government he leads, from all quarters. Some components within the media, human rights teams, so-called activists, NGOs, Boko Haram, ISWAP, unexpectedly. But is Buhari the loser? Not in any respect. It’s the nation that in the end loses, simply as Eric Donaldson sang in ‘Little Did You Know:’
You assume that you’re hurting me
But little do you know you might be solely hurting your self
Little do you know you might be solely hurting your self.

In about two years and 5 months, with God being merciful as He at all times is, President Buhari will land safely, and retire to Daura for a well-deserved retirement at 80. And if these engineering distractions towards his authorities proceed, it’s the nation that will have misplaced. An ideal deal.

What are the issues some folks hurl towards the President, which exhibits that they don’t know him in any respect?

He’s a spiritual bigot. Really? I’ve not seen a scintilla of proof up to now 5 years. Every Christmas and Easter vacation, he calls these of us who’re Christians, working with him, and asks us to remain off work, and benefit from the season with our households. That’s not the way in which of bigots, who would by no means acknowledge any faith, besides their very own.

As a navy commander, historical past has it that Buhari would at all times give troopers working underneath him time to go for worship on Sunday mornings, simply as he did to the Muslims on Fridays. Yet, bigot, bigot, some folks proceed to shout.

He’s a Fulani, he rears cows, and all Fulani herdsmen are criminals, that’s why he tolerates them. Really? Some folks even say all Fulani are herdsmen, whether or not they see them with cattle or not. Truth is; each ethnic inventory has its deviants, its prison components.

You can’t simply demonize all Fulani, merely since you wish to excoriate the President. Did he select to be born Fulani? Did I select to be born Yoruba, and did the Ishan, Idoma, or Ijaw man select the ethnic inventory he wished to be born into? It’s a organic accident. You don’t have anything to do with it. A person then doesn’t go repudiating the place he comes from, just because some folks have determined to tar his folks with the comb of infamy.

He’s nepotistic. A typical chorus, however non-scientific. About three years in the past, we did a scientific train. We chronicled all of the appointments made by the President since 2015 and allotted them to states and areas. The outcome confirmed that the Southwest had the most important share. Followed by Imo and Kano states. Then Edo and Katsina. And on and on. But the naysayers ignored info and figures and caught to their false narratives. Nepotism.

One day, the President had given me an appointment to announce within the early days of the administration. By then, some folks had began speaking of northernisation agenda. So I stated, “Mr President, this is the murmur we hear. Why don’t you consider giving this position to another part of the country?”

He checked out me calmly, smiled, and stated: “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?”

Food for thought, certainly.

This is Jubril from Sudan and never Muhammadu Buhari, who had died through the medical trip in 2017, some folks say. You have a clone in Aso Villa, not Buhari. Idiocy, sadly believed by even some intellectuals.

Let me inform you a narrative. On the day the President lastly returned to the nation 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 full Agbada, with a cap to match. From the marriage, I went straight to the airport to affix the reception social gathering.

We shaped a welcome line, as we normally do. And because the President shook every particular person, he had one wisecrack or the opposite to say. When he received to me, he took my hand and stated: “Adesina, this is the best I’ve seen you dressed.” We each laughed heartily, and the tv cameras captured it. I keep in mind that many individuals requested me later what had tickled me and the President, that we laughed so uproariously.

Jubril from Sudan? Would he know my identify as Adesina? Would he know I hardly ever put on Agbada? How ridiculous can some folks be?

Another story. The journalist Lindsay Barret had been a very long time good friend of the President. One day, he despatched me to present his greetings. When I did, the President stated: “Lindsay Barret. I remember meeting him at the war front in 1968. He was covering the war. There was a day he was almost killed in an ambush, and he then described himself as a ‘devout coward,’ who was lucky to be alive.”

Jubril of Sudan? And he remembers Barret, whom he met on the struggle entrance in 1968? Tell it to the marines.

Ask me for a loyal man, who by no means forgets a very good flip, and I’ll present you Muhammadu Buhari. Among the final class of Ambassadors, he had personally picked Justice George Oguntade, who was despatched to the United Kingdom, and Justice Sylvester Nsofor, who he deployed to America. The latter died solely final week, aged 85.

How did the 2 males acquire the favour, loyalty and respect of the President? In his many authorized battles after disputed election ends in 2003, and 2007, they’d given dissenting judgments at each the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, nullifying the election outcomes, saying Candidate Buhari had been cheated. The man by no means forgot, and sought them out in due time. The identical additionally occurred to a few of us working with him at present.

A sort man. I’ve plenty of tales to inform, however let me prohibit myself to a couple. In December 2015, I had misplaced my elder sister, a Professor of Dramatic Arts, in an auto crash. While I used to be crying like a wailing wailer, who was on the cellphone, consoling and condoling with me? Muhammadu Buhari.

And earlier than he grew to become President, when my mom handed on in 2013, and we had a commendation service for her in Lagos, who flew in all the way in which from Kaduna to attend? Muhammadu Buhari. He sat via the Christian service. Yet, they are saying he’s a bigot. I hear. Bigot from Sudan.

And in January 2017, I used to be to obtain the standard title of Nwanne di Namba of Mmaku Kingdom, in Enugu State. Courtesy demanded I inform the President. This man, who prides himself as ‘very stingy’ gave me a good-looking sum of money to ferry my family and friends to the ceremony. How a lot? I gained’t inform you, lest you ask for a belated share.

And in May 2018, I used to be billed for China for a 12 days course for senior authorities officers from Africa. He stated when the journey was two days away, I ought to come to see him. I did. You know what he stated? “Adesina, I know that you don’t have money. But you are too shy to ask.” We each laughed, and he gave me an envelope which contained international foreign money. How a lot? You assume I’ll inform you? For the place?

This President is a patriot. He loves this nation dearly. A person of non-public self-discipline. Single-minded in regards to the infrastructural improvement of the nation. And he’s succeeding at it. I’ve a great deal of tales to inform to justify every advantage. But time and house gained’t allow.

However, let me inform this ultimate one, as instructed to me by a retired Colonel of the Nigerian Army.

He stated he was a Major on the Second Mechanized Division, Ibadan, when the then Major General was posted there in early 1983, as General Officer Commanding.

There was a cocktail reception, billed for 8 pm. Fifteen minutes to the time, the brand new GOC walked briskly in. Only a sprinkle of officers had arrived. He moved around the venue, surveying the place, and on the dot of 8 pm, with the corridor nonetheless scanty, he went to the gate and directed the sergeant-major on responsibility to lock the internal one firmly, admitting no person.


Yes sir!

The GOC went again inside, held the cocktail with the few officers accessible. Event over, he went again to the gate, to see the battery of latecomer officers huddled there. He surveyed them, after which instructed:

All of you, see me within the workplace tomorrow by 8 am.

Yes sir!

The GOC walked briskly away. And you recognize what? As early as 6 am the subsequent day, a lot of the officers had reported in his workplace. Once bitten, twice shy.

At 78, the President nonetheless scrupulously respects time. Do they make them like this anymore? Doubtful.

Yet, many individuals are plotting, and engineering all kinds of artifices, to make sure Buhari doesn’t succeed. Who loses? The nation!

There is that this traditional Yoruba movie, Saworoide, which I watched years again. Adebayo Faleti, who wrote and starred within the movie, seemed on the stratagems and underhand dealings of man. And he sang, moderately philosophically: Koi ye gained, yio ye gained lola.

Translated freely, it means: They don’t perceive at present. They’ll perceive tomorrow.

It’s higher for lots extra cynical Nigerians to grasp this President at present, moderately than tomorrow, for the great of the nation. That could be the perfect birthday reward they may give him.

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