Buhari Rejoices With Pastor William Kumuyi At 81

President Muhammadu Buhari and Pastor Williams Kumuyi

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has joined Christians and Christian leaders all over Nigeria and beyond to celebrate with the Founder and General Superintendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi, on his 81st birthday, June 6, 2022.

In a statement by Femi Adesina, his special media aide, President Buhari felicitated with the General Superintendent on the auspicious occasion, extolling him for his dedication to soul winning, preaching of the gospel and counselling, which has transformed many lives, and left an indelible mark on the growth of the nation.


READ ALSO: Many Feared Dead As Bomb Rocks Catholic Church In Ondo


The President noted the contributions of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, which started as a Bible study group by Pastor Kumuyi, who was then a lecturer, to the spiritual and moral development of the country, with testimonies in education, health, roads, water supply and provision of scholarships to the less privileged.

President Buhari shared the joy of another age with the octogenarian, his wife, Esther, other family members and friends, while acknowledging the inspiring influence of the many books of the Christian leader, especially the devotionals.

The President prayed that the Almighty God will continue to strengthen Pastor Kumuyi and his family in good health and wisdom.

2023: Governors Not Asked To Pick Consensus APC Presidential Candidate – Adesina

President Muhammadu Buhari presides over a meeting with APC governors at the State House in Abuja on May 31, 2022.

 

Governors under the aegis of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) were not asked to pick a consensus presidential candidate for the ruling All Progressives Congress.

This is according to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, who issued a statement on Thursday denying claims that his principal suggested the idea of a consensus or zoning arrangement ahead of the APC presidential primary slated for June 6.

In his piece titled, ‘Visit to Spain: Let’s Buga for Mr President’, Adesina clarified that Buhari only met with the governors and told them his expectation for the forthcoming presidential primary of the party.

According to the presidential spokesman, Buhari never discussed issues bordering on zoning, consensus, or imposition of candidates during his conversation with the governors.

“No word about zoning, consensus, or imposition of candidate. He just charged them to let their plans converge, so that the party would put its best foot forward. Shortly after the meeting, we headed for the airport,” Adesina stated.

“A short time into the about five hours flight, I went on social media, to see that all hell had broken loose. Trust some Nigerians. When there’s no controversy, they simply create one. They will die of boredom if they don’t have something to wail or ululate about.

“What were they bellyaching on? Oh, he used the words ‘my successor,’ instead of ‘APC candidate.’ That means he wants to rig the election. Otiose.

“Oh, he talked about Governors who performed well being given the opportunity to get a second term, for continuity. That means he wants to impose someone from within the government to succeed him. Consensus is what he wants. Puerile.

“Is consensus not one of the acceptable ways of choosing candidates, according to the Electoral Act? So the party can jolly well decide on the method it wants.

“Oh, he didn’t talk about zoning. APC wants to give its ticket to the North. Really? Did you see anything like that in the speech?”

State Policing: Obasanjo Did Nothing When He Had The Opportunity, Says Adesina

 

Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has taken a swipe at former President Olusegun Obasanjo over what he believes to be the poor handling of the security challenges of the country under his administration.

On Wednesday, the former President had suggested that amid growing insecurity in the country, the creation of state police would be a better option than community policing.

Obasanjo made the suggestion when the leadership of the National Association of Ex-local government chairmen in Nigeria paid him a courtesy visit in Abeokuta.

 

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina by Sodiq Adelakun/ChannelsTV.

 

Read Also: [Insecurity]: State Police Now A Better Option – Obasanjo

But Adesina criticized Obasanjo, insisting that when he had the opportunity to restructure the security architecture of the country, he failed to do so.

“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has a right to hold a different opinion from what he held in the past but I recall that under him, restructuring of the federation was a key issue that Afenifere fought for, and then there was the issue of state police which also resonated loudly under him but he didn’t do anything in eight years. Like I said, he has a right to change his mind now but it doesn’t change the fact that he had the opportunity to do something about it and did not”.

When asked of the major obstacle of President Buhari’s execution of the restructuring, Adesina explained that the executive is not the custodian of political will.

Over the years, many have called for restructuring, with a firm belief that it is a viable solution to the myriad of challenges the country is facing.

One of those who have made that call is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Afe Babalola.

On Monday he called for an Interim National Government after the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure that would pave way for a new constitution for the country.

But reacting to this, Adesina, said: “to the best of my unlearned knowledge, it is not in our cConstitution for an interim government to be set up”.

PDP Interested In Destabilisation Of Nigeria – Femi Adesina

A file photo of the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

 

Presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina on Tuesday condemned the Peoples Democratic Party for predicting a “nationwide agitation” worse than the October 2020 #EndSARS protests.

In a statement, Mr Adesina said the PDP was only interested in the destabilisation of Nigeria so it could return to power.

Mr Adesina said: “Less than 24 hours after the Department of State Services (DSS) raised alarm about sinister plots by some elements to cause disorder in the land, using the energy crisis as a smokescreen, the PDP issued a statement, saying; ‘Our party fears that the situation is getting to a boiling point and can trigger a nationwide agitation that might be worse than the October 2020 EndSARS if not addressed immediately.’

READ ALSO: I Will Ensure State Police As President – Tambuwal

“Which patriotic political party or organization ever threatens its country with anarchy, social upheaval and disorderliness, except one still smarting from its snout being yanked from the honeypot, as happened to PDP in 2015?
But we wish to remind the now tepid opposition party that it was Nigerians that gave it the boot 7 years ago, and those same Nigerians have not forgotten the travails they experienced, at a time the country was awash with money: no power, no infrastructure, insurgents ran riot round the nation, and our collective patrimony was looted blind. Those same Nigerians are not ready for another PDP misrule, not now, and perhaps not for a long time to come.

“Rather than plot and encourage ‘agitation worse than October 2020 EndSARS,’ which it may well be conceiving, the PDP should work for harmony and cohesion in the country, if it ever understands such concept.

“EndSARS signified murder, mayhem, mass destruction, even cannibalism. PDP now wishes Nigeria something worse.

“A presidential aspirant of the PDP has warned that the party would die by 2023, unless it wins the Number One position in the country. And die it would, if the party wishes the country nothing except something worse than EndSARS.”

President Buhari Greets Veteran Actor Pete Edochie At 75

Pete Edochie is regarded as one of the living legends of Nollywood. Photo: [email protected]

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has joined entertainers in the music and movie industry, particularly Nollywood, in celebrating with veteran actor, scriptwriter, and movie producer, Pete Edochie, on his 75th birthday.

In a statement by his special media aide, Femi Adesina, President Buhari congratulated the renowned actor for the many pioneering and motivating roles in the entertainment industry, hitting the limelight in the 80s as Okonkwo in the screen adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”, where his superlative performance brought the spotlight to Nigeria and Africa.

The president noted that Edochie’s background of living and working extensively in various parts of the country and the world, after serving the government as staff of the Nigeria Railway Corporation and Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation, greatly shaped his global outlook and influenced his interpretation of roles as a thespian.

While congratulating Edochie, the usually stereotyped actor as king and father in movies, President Buhari affirms that his role in the founding and growing of Nollywood as one of the biggest entertainment industries in the world deserves commendation, especially in incubating younger professionals and nurturing talents like his son, Yul Edochie.

The president prayed that the Almighty God will crown the award-winning actor, who has many international recognitions, with good health and strength to keep serving the nation.

Electoral Bill: What Buhari Gives With The Right, He’ll Take With His Left – Galadima

A file photo of Buba Galadima.

 

Former National Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Change (CPC), Buba Galadima, believes President Muhammadu Buhari will not sign the amended electoral bill which currently awaits his assent.

Galadima, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday, said Nigerians and the National Assembly should not be deceived into believing that what will be assented to is in the citizen’s best interest. According to the elder statesman, if Buhari “signs any electoral bill with reservations, it means he has not signed the electoral bill”.

“This bill before Buhari contains the views of the representatives of the people; he has no choice,” Galadima said during the current affairs show.

READ ALSOAisha Buhari Attends Plenary At National Assembly

The former spokesman for the presidential campaign council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said Buhari proved him right by not signing the bill when it was earlier sent. He added that the only reason the president is now willing to sign the bill is that the press and civil society organizations are mounting pressure on him. Be that as it may, Galadima believes that the presidency is playing some tricks.

“They are doing a kind of 419, he will sign the bill and send a list of things he doesn’t like which will secretly be passed for him and we are in it. There will be no change even if he signs because what he gives us with the right hand, he will take from us with the left,” he said.

“For you, he has assented to the amended 2010 Electoral Act but in the real sense of it, he will take whatever gains the people had put into the electoral act.”

Galadima’s comments come a few hours after the signing of the re-worked Electoral Act Amendment Bill scheduled for Wednesday was moved to Friday, February 25. A source close to the Presidency, who had earlier indicated that the President would assent to the bill on Wednesday, confirmed the new date to Channels Television. According to the source, the new date will be honoured by the President.

On January 25, lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives chambers of the National Assembly passed the harmonised version of the bill. The harmonised version was received by President Buhari a week later, as confirmed by his Senior Special Assistant on NASS Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare.

He withheld his assent to the bill in November 2021, citing the cost of conducting direct primary elections, security challenges, and possible manipulation of electoral processes by political players as part of the reasons for his decision.

But the President gave some conditions to give his assent – an action that prompted the lawmakers to re-work the bill, leading to the emergence of two versions in the green and red chambers. The House had re-amended the bill to include the direct and indirect primary options while the Senate re-adjusted it to include the direct, indirect, and consensus modes of selecting political parties’ candidates.

Both chambers later passed the harmonised version – the final agreed version of the amendment to Clause 84 which included the direct, indirect, and consensus primary modes. Amid an outcry from critics, who raised concerns about the delayed signing over fears that the President might reject the bill again, a presidential aide, Femi Adesina, said his principal’s action was within the requirements of the law.

He stated that it would only be appropriate to say President Buhari has acted against the law if he exceeds the 30-day window provided by the Constitution to take a decision on the bill.

UPDATED: Buhari To Sign Electoral Bill In A Matter Of Hours – Adesina

 

It is just a matter of hours for President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the re-worked Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this on Tuesday during an interview on Sunrise Daily.

“He (Buhari) will sign it (the bill) any moment from now,” he said while appearing as a guest on the Channels Television breakfast programme. “It could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be anytime, but within the 30 days.

“It could be signed today; it could be signed tomorrow. In a matter of hours, not days. Hours could be 24 hours, it could be 48 hours; not days, not weeks.”

READ ALSOBuhari Unwilling To Sign Electoral Bill, Says PDP Governors

This comes nearly a month after lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives chambers of the National Assembly passed the harmonised version of the bill.

Passed on January 25, the bill was transmitted to President Buhari a week after, as confirmed by his Senior Special Assistant on NASS Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare.

Weeks after receiving the bill, the President has yet to give his assent – an action that has sparked an outcry from critics who fear he might reject it again.

A file photo of the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

 

Defending his principal, Adesina slammed those accusing the President of delaying the signing of the bill, stressing that the Nigerian leader’s action was still within the requirements of the Constitution.

He stated that it would only be appropriate to say President Buhari has acted against the law if exceeds the 30-day window provided by the law.

“You know before the President will put pen to paper on any legislation, particularly this one that has to do with our electoral fortunes, it has to be looked at and looked at.

“He has to buy opinions from different stakeholders and having been satisfied that the necessary due diligence had been done and he will not be making any error, then he will sign it, and I tell you that Nigerians will get to hear about this bill in hours,” Adesina said.

President Buhari had withheld his assent to the bill in November 2021, citing the cost of conducting direct primary elections, security challenges, and possible manipulation of electoral processes by political players as part of the reasons for his decision.

He, however, gave some conditions to give his assent, prompting the lawmakers to re-work the bill which initially led to the emergence of two versions from the green and red chambers of the assembly.

While the House re-amended the bill to include the direct and indirect primary options, the Senate re-adjusted to include the direct, indirect, and consensus modes of selecting political parties’ candidates.

Both chambers, thereafter, passed the harmonised version – the final agreed version of the amendment to Clause 84 of the bill.

This included the direct, indirect, and consensus primary modes of nominating candidates by political parties for elections.

Some Governors Use Buhari As Excuse For Failure, Says Adesina

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has accused some state governors of using his principal as an excuse for their ineptitude in office.

In an article titled ‘Zulum Zooms In’ posted on his Facebook page on Thursday, Adesina alleged that such governors were seeking hero status by antagonising the President.

“If they owe salaries and pensions, once the month is ending, they begin to abuse the President, thinking their people would forget the outstanding salaries and pensions,” he said.

“When they have not built a single kilometre of road, it is Buhari. When infrastructure has decayed under them, it is Buhari. When they can’t secure the lives and property of the people they govern, it is Buhari.”

He stressed that despite the opposition from these governors, some still come in the “cover of darkness” and were still granted access by the President.

READ ALSO: Buni Committee Proposes BoT Replacement, Other Amendments To APC Constitution

 

Not In Charge

Adesina believes people are not oblivious to the root cause of their issues and will not be distracted by the antics of such governors.

“They play to the gallery, thinking they will receive applause from their people,” he stated. “No, the only sound the people hear is the rumbling from their bellies, due to hunger. And they know where their problems come from.”

Adesina also debunked the claim of two local governments being under the control of Boko Haram, saying that the military was in control of the local governments.

“A couple of weeks earlier, the media had been awash with stories of two local governments being under Boko Haram occupation, credited to the governor, making it seem contrary to the position of the President that no Nigerian territory is now in the hands of terrorists,” he said.

“The two local governments are not under Boko Haram occupation. It is just that the people don’t feel safe enough to return home. Boko Haram is not in charge of the places.

“The military actually occupies the local governments, not insurgents. Just that the people don’t feel confident enough to return yet.”

FG Didn’t Suspend Fuel Subsidy Removal Because Of 2023 Elections, Says Adesina

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

 

Amid the controversy trailing the planned removal of fuel subsidy, Mr Femi Adesina says the Federal Government did not rescind its decision because of the coming elections.

Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, stated this on Wednesday in Abuja when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“It is a valid thing [to do],” he said of the government’s suspension of the removal, adding, “but is this done because of elections next year? No.”

“It is done because as the minister (of finance) stated, the timing is not auspicious, inflation is still high. In the past eight months, we saw inflation reducing but the last month, it went up again; further consultations need to happen with all the stakeholders.”

READ ALSO: FG Suspended Fuel Subsidy Removal Because Of 2023 Elections, Says Akpata

The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had initially announced that the government would only make provision for fuel subsidy in the 2022 budget up till June.

This sparked an outcry from various individuals and groups that accused the government of inflicting more suffering on Nigerians, especially those who were already struggling to make ends meet.

 

Economic Impact

Amid plans by the organised labour to embark on a nationwide protest, Mrs Ahmed announced on Monday that the government would suspend the removal, explaining that to go ahead with the decision at this time would be problematic.

But many, including the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, believe the suspension of the fuel subsidy removal has to do with the coming elections in 2023.

Adesina, in his reaction, said government across the world is always mindful of its actions and decisions in a pre-election year, citing the developments in the United States and their impacts on the country’s poll.

He also debunked claims that the present administration’s proposal to extend the removal of fuel subsidy by 18 months was intended to booby-trap the next president.

“That was not the intention, the intention was also stated – the timing is not right, it will exacerbate the hardship of the people and the President genuinely cares,” the presidential spokesman said.

“Politics is a part of our lives, but elections will just be one event in the life of the country. When elections come, they go, the country continues. This fuel subsidy, whether it stays or goes, is going to have a serious impact on the economy.”

VIDEO: What Presidency Said About Buhari’s Aides Contracting COVID-19

 

There is nothing abnormal in President Muhammadu Buhari’s aides testing positive for COVID-19 because they are humans, the Presidency has said.

Mr Femi Adesina, who is the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

“What I like to say is that presidential aides are humans,” he said in his response to a question about reports of the COVID-19 virus ravaging the Presidential Villa. “They can fall sick, they can contract the virus, and the virus can also disappear.

“Presidential aides are just humans; if anything happens to human beings, it can also happen to presidential aides. The fact that we are presidential aides does not make us immune to certain things. If there is a virus that is ravaging society, well, it can touch anybody.”

‘No Cause For Alarm’

Reports had emerged that some of President Buhari’s aides have gone into isolation after they tested positive for COVID-19. However, the number of those infected could not be ascertained.

Over the weekend, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed to Channels Television that he was infected with the virus.

Despite being fully vaccinated, he disclosed that he had mild symptoms of the disease – a trait connected with the omicron variant, saying he has since gone into isolation and would go for further tests to ascertain his status.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s Spokesman, Garba Shehu Tests Positive For COVID-19

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

 

Adesina, on his part, could not ascertain the actual number of presidential aides infected with the virus, although he affirmed Shehu’s status.

“That will not be within my purview to discuss, maybe if you get the presidential doctor or anybody on the medical side, they will tell you, I wouldn’t know because it is a private thing.

“If it happens to anybody, it’s between that person and possibly the doctor. It is not going to be general knowledge. So, I may not be able to say,” he said.

“So Mallam Garba Shehu has confirmed that, yes, he tested positive but he said it’s mild. And I believe that by now – because it happened since Wednesday – he should almost have beaten it if he has not beat it already. There is no cause for alarm.”

President Buhari’s spokesman also stated that the development in the villa has not in any way disrupted the President’s schedule and routine, as aides who test positive were required to stay away until they have recovered from the disease.

“Well, I think Mr. President is quite fine, he is doing his normal routine, following his normal schedule. But if anybody close to him tests positive, that person is required to stay away till he tests again, and he tests negative. Mr President just follows his normal schedule and routine,” he said.

Electoral Amendment Bill: Buhari Will Do What Is In Nigerians’ Interest – Adesina

 

As Nigerians await President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the presidency says he will take action that is in the overall interest of the masses.

The National Assembly had on November 19 transmitted the bill to President Buhari for assent in pursuance of Section 58 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the Acts Authentication Act 2004.

However, the President is yet to sign the bill into law, four weeks after the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill and approved the electronic transmission of results.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said his principal is currently consulting with all stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before making his position known on the issue.

READ ALSO: NASS Transmits Electoral Bill To Buhari For Assent

While noting that his principal cannot be preempted, Adesina noted that the President would decide on the pending bill at the appropriate time.

File photo of the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

 

“The President is consulting, he has to consult with all the stakeholders and then arrive at a position that is best for the country,” he stated.

“Part of that consultation was the communication with INEC and there are other stakeholders that have also been reached for positions and counsel on that. At the end of the day, Mr. President would aggregate all of it and what is best for the country is what he will do.”

Although he didn’t specify a timeframe, the presidential spokesman explained that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami is being carried along by the President as far as the bill is concerned.

When asked if the President would sign the bill or reject the document, Adesina did not reply in the affirmative or negative.

Rather, he stated that his principal who is there to ensure that processes are enhanced in the country, believes that the new law would boost the nation’s electoral process, hence would look at the bill very critically.

Buhari More Popular Than Azikiwe, Awolowo, Aminu Kano – Adesina

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

 

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says President Muhammadu Buhari has attained greater acceptance among Nigerians even more than some fathers of the federation.

Adesina made this assertion on Thursday in an article titled “The Essential Buhari: Vp Osinbajo Got It!”.

In establishing his argument, the presidential spokesman alluded to a comment made by Professor Yemi Osinbajo in London last weekend.

Speaking with top officials of the Nigerian High Commission, Vice President Osinbajo said “the President is possibly the most popular Nigerian politician that we ever had in generations”.

Osinabjo added that “he (Buhari) is possibly the only person, who can go into a place or somewhere without bossing people to gather and they will come and listen to him speak”.

Building upon this premise, Adesina said he totally agrees with the VP’s assessment of the president.

“I am old enough to have seen our colourful and even swashbuckling politicians in action. I have seen the great Obafemi Awolowo. The charismatic Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik of Africa). Shehu Shagari. Amino Kano. M.K.O Abiola. Bashir Tofa, and many others in action. But I have not seen anyone with the kind of attraction, magnetic pull, that Muhammadu Buhari has. And that is round the country, north and south. People swarm around him as bees do to honey.

“I have been around the country with the President. I have also been to several countries of the world with him. I have not seen any other Nigerian leader, past or present, with his kind of allure, pull, fascination, magnetism. And that is why VP Osinbajo is right to have described him as possibly ‘the most popular Nigerian politician that we ever had in this generation,” Adesina submitted.

The special media aide stressed that he has personally experienced the love, loyalty, and dedication Buhari enjoys from Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion, or age, adding that it is above the acceptance that has been accorded other politicians both past and present.

Below is the full article as published on Adesina’s official Facebook page.
 
“THE ESSENTIAL BUHARI: VP OSINBAJO GOT IT!

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is an honest man. Whatever he tells you, please take it seriously. You can even take it to the bank, as it’s a cheque that will never bounce.

Last weekend in London, while speaking with top officials of the Nigerian High Commission, VP Osinbajo said of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Mai Gaskiya (Honest Man): “The President is possibly the most popular Nigerian politician that we ever had in generations. He is possibly the only person, who can go into a place or somewhere without bossing people to gather and they will come and listen to him speak.

“We need that level of credibility to be able to solve problems in our country. And I think because of his level of credibility, despite everything, he is still the only one that can call everyone, and even people who do not necessarily agree with him know that he is a man of his words.”

There may be a tendency to say; what else do you expect a number 2 man to say of his principal? He won’t excoriate or flagellate him in public, and because he may possibly need his support for the number one position at a time in the future, so he would say sugary things.

For a typical politician, ambitious, cold, calculating, scheming, yes. But those of us who work with the duo know that Professor Yemi Osinbajo is not in that mould.

He is honest, factual, totally dependent on God for whatever the future holds. Nothing is a matter of life and death, and so he could have chosen to keep quiet about the attributes of the President, so that he wouldn’t be misconstrued.

When he said Buhari was possibly Nigeria’s most popular politician that we have had in generations, I believe it, not just by the hearing of the ear, but because my eyes have seen it.

I am old enough to have seen our colorful and even swashbuckling politicians in action. I have seen the great Obafemi Awolowo.

The charismatic Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik of Africa). Shehu Shagari. Amino Kano. M.K.O Abiola. Bashir Tofa, and many others in action. But I have not seen anyone with the kind of attraction, magnetic pull, that Muhammadu Buhari has. And that is round the country, north and south. People swarm around him as bees do to honey.

I have been around the country with the President. I have also been to several countries of the world with him. I have not seen any other Nigerian leader, past or present, with his kind of allure, pull, fascination, magnetism. And that is why VP Osinbajo is right to have described him as possibly “the most popular Nigerian politician that we ever had in this generation.”

I remember that day in August 2017, when the President returned to the country finally from his medical vacation. From January of that year, he had been in and out a couple of times, but spending weeks and months outside, attending to his health. And finally, on August 19, he returned home, triumphantly.

We were at the airport to receive him. I have told the story a number of times, to dispel the idiocy that it was a certain Jibril of Sudan that came back, and not Buhari. The daughter of the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin, was getting married. And I had attended both the church service and reception, decked in full Yoruba traditional attire of Agbada and a cap to match. Straight from the ceremony, I went to the airport to join the welcome party for the President.

We the principal aides were on a line to receive the President as he descended from the aircraft. And he shook hands with each person, having one wisecrack or the other to say, as is typical of him. When he got to me, he said, “Adesina, this is the best I’ve seen you dressed.” And we both laughed.

Jibril of Sudan? How did he know I was Adesina? How would he know how I normally dressed? Idiocy, I say again. But that is just a digression, not the story I really want to tell to support the topic at hand.

We entered the vehicles lined up, and the convoy moved. It was perhaps the longest journey I’d ever witnessed from the airport to the town. Where did they come from? Like locusts, they swarmed onto the road, at many times forcing the convoy into a crawl. I didn’t know that such huge population resided in the communities along the airport road.

Not induced or procured in any way, the people trooped out in their thousands to welcome the President back home.

A multitude of ordinary Nigerians, the ones bearing the brunt of whatever was happening in the country then.. they came onto the roads, waving, cheering, heralding the man they loved back into the country. Many times, the convoy was forced to a dead slow, until the President had to wave at them, and they cheered uproariously.

It took double or triple the normal time before we could get to the Presidential Villa.

When about a year later, those who thought they owned the country told the President pontifically to dismount from the horse, and not run for a second term in office, I thought they were overreaching themselves. And so it was. The President ran in 2019, and he won, even with a wider margin than he did in 2015, when he had knocked a ruling party off its perch.

So, when Professor Osinbajo says we possibly have the most colorful, popular politician with us, it is by no means patronizing. Even now, with all the challenges in the country, let President Buhari make a public appearance anywhere, he is still happily received, against the conjecture of naysayers and evil hearts, who conjure unrealistic things.

Now, having such a leader in our country, one who wants nothing for himself, and is only actuated by touching the lives of the people positively, how should we utilize him? Give maximum support, and help him to realize his vision, not virulent opposition as we see from certain untutored quarters. It is in our collective interest to support such a man for the glory and benefit of our country.

VP Osinbajo said only Buhari has the credibility to be able to solve some problems in our country now. Yes, he’s the one the populace chose, voted into power, despite all odds. Hear the VP: “And I think because of his level of credibility, despite everything, he is still the only one that can call everyone, and even people who do not necessarily agree with him know that he is a man of his words.”

Very true. This is our President, a man out to serve, and not to be served. The virulent opposition we see in the land can only be self-serving, an odious attempt to grab power for power’s sake. I’ll rather follow an honest man, for the sake of our country.

One more thing. The VP also told his London audience that we are better off as one people, one country. “Yorubas are not better off on their own. Igbos are not better off on their own. The North is not better off on its own. We are better off as one nation, that is why we are strong, and that is why we can face the world.”

One hopes those beating the drums of discord, evil speech and dismemberment are listening. Nigeria is stronger, better off as one united entity. Issues we have can always be resolved, without breaking into splinters. That is the only way the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain.”