Nigerians will appreciate President Buhari in 2017—Femi Adesina + How he runs the President’s Media office

Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media & Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari

Mr. Femi Adesina, a news room leader understands the narratives of hunger and the fairy
tale of  excess. He was formerly at the
lower rung of society jingling with the masses. He was in real sense the
connect man between the rich and the poor in the society. He was the news man
who brings the terrible conditions of the poor and down-trodden to the notice of
the rich and influential through his journalistic presentations. He understands
the odor of poverty as well as the nice smell of riches. Today, Mr. Adesina is at the corridors of
power. He is a member of the elite club. He is one of the few Nigerians who
dictates what happens at the top. He is the Presidential Spokesman to the
President of Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria. The former Nigeria’s Guild of Editors’ President
and former Managing Director of Daily
Sun Newspapers
came with over three decades of media business experience to
his new job.

However, one thing remains with him,
his humility. Mr. Adesina remains as
humble as ever. Even though Nigerians misunderstood him over the quality of
actions by his principal, geared towards economic reforms, Mr. Adesina simply believes there is light at the end of the tunel.
In a rare end of the year encounter inside his Aso Rock, Abuja office, Mr. Femi Adesina who is the Special Adviser
to President Buhari on Media & Publicity opened up to your Africa’s Number
1 Celebrity Encounter blog as he told us the story of the good times that are
bound to visit Nigeria soon if only the citizens can be patient enough with Mr.
President.

Femi Adesina to Asabeafrika….’President Buhari has a huge plan for Nigerians’

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Mr. Adesina equally
reveal for the first time since he took up his appointment what it means and
how it feels to manage the image of his principal in a time when the
nation  is groaning under hard economic
conditions. However, the Presidential spokesman gave a sounding promise of hope
and fulfillment at the end of the reforms. The Thursday December 22nd
 2016 encounter with your Africa’s Number
1 Celebrity Encounter blog, Asabeafrika cleared
so many issues beclouding  Mr. Buhari’s
economic reforms. Take a sit, have your best drink and some mouthful chips as
you enjoy the interview.

The GDA meets the Presidential Spokesman Femi Adesina in Aso Rock

Sir, you will agree with me that the
story was  different two years ago when
we were all agitating for the election of this government into power. But
today, the narratives seem to have changed. How do you feel managing the image
of the head of this government, President Muhammadu Buhari at a time like this?

Mr. Femi Adesina to Asabeafrika….’It is too early to judge  President Buhari in 18 months of rule’

Yes, thank
you. Eighteen month down the line in a 48 months mandate, that means  thirty months are still outstanding. I think
it is too soon to beginning to come to conclusions particularly if those
conclusions are negative; because there is still a lot of time ahead. This
government will do well, not only well, outstandingly, eventually. Problems inherited were enormous. But those problems are being confronted and surmounted. You know what was on ground with security and you know all the
efforts that has been made. You know the volume of corruption in the country
and how it is being tackled and then, the economy was primed to collapse by the
time this administration came it is a bit nosedived. So, it is a herculean task
bringing the economy back. But there is no doubt, the job will be done. By the
time this administration would have utilized its four years mandate, Nigerians
would be glad that this administration came.

The GDA engages the Presidential Spokesman

It seems a who lot of opinions  are coming hard on your office for being the
chief spokesperson of President Muhammadu Buhari. How are you handling them?

A humility personified Adesina tries to help the GDA shift the Nigerian flag in his office for a photo spot created by our team

Yes, I have
seen that there are some people who have deliberately decided to be mischievous.
They have deliberately closed their eyes to the enormity of the problems the
government met and all the efforts it is bringing to solve this problems. They
don’t want to countenance at all. They just want to complain and complain so
that they will hound the government and distract it and it will not be able to
perform. But we thank God for the kind of man the president is, it is difficult
to distract him. He is single minded. Once he faces a direction, he goes on that
direction.

President Muhammadu Buhari….Adesina says Nigerians will apologize to him later

He is not easily distracted. So, I will just want to appeal to all
those who are determined to distract the government that they should realize
that it is our country. It is their country as much as the president’s. The
country does not belong to the president (alone) it belongs to all Nigerians.
So, it is whatever we make of our country that it will be.

Mr. Femi Adesina to Asabeafrika….’Nigerians running government down should know that the country does not belong to the President alone’


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With the proliferation of individual
media platforms through Social Media, how do you handle the challenges of mass
opinion against your principal as  the
chief spokesman of the President?

Mr. Femi Adesina to Asabeafrika…’Hate News is a new global challenge’

Well, it is
a global challenge. It is a challenge in America,
in Europe, in Asia and everywhere. Don’t forget, after the American election, the
democrat candidate, Hilary Clinton came out to say that the world is confronted
with an epidemic which is HATE NEWS.
She said hate news is an epidemic and that hate news is spread by social media
but  there is almost nothing you can do
about it.

Mr. Femi Adesina to Asabeafrika….’We tackle Hate News with Great Diplomacy’

It is those who are behind those hate news who must check themselves,
who must tell themselves that what they are doing is negative, what they are
doing is ungodly, what they are doing is unpatriotic. If they don’t check themselves, there is almost nothing anybody can do about it. So, when I see
those ‘concoctions’ I feel sorry for them. There have been things I have seen
on social media that I will ask myself ‘did
I say this?’
. And when I see what they quote, it could be my quote but they
would have twisted it. So, all those things are there, it happens daily. You
just take those things in your stride.

The Presidential Spokesman Speaks with the GDA

I think it is appropriate for me to
ask that how do you manage Hate News?
The ones
that are deliberate concoctions, we just ignore. The ones that are mischievous
we just ignore. But the ones that maybe, they didn’t interpret properly, we
can intervene to help them situate it properly. But if one finds out that it is
a deliberate intent to spread hate and cause disaffection and cause mischief,
then, the best thing is to ignore such. And one thing this administration
believes in is that performance will be the ultimate decider.

Mr. Femi Adesina…His entire office is embossed with the picture of his brand, PMB

The president has done fantastically
well in fighting corruption and taming insecurity especially in the North
Eastern part of Nigeria. But how do you situate people’s perception of him in
the face of hunger, anger and mass poverty in the land?

Mr. Femi Adesina to Asabeafrika….’President Buhari is a single minded man that cannot be distracted’

Yes, it is a
question of having faith in the person you have elected, having faith in your
leader. For instance, if you believe that God can save you and you don’t
believe that the same God can heal you, then, your faith is not complete. What
I want Nigerians to believe is that the same president who has tackled
security, who is tackling anti-corruption will also tackle this economy.

Mr. Femi Adesina to Asabeafrika….’Some People deliberately want to distract our government’

He
will tackle it and it is being tackled. It is a matter of time. He has said
during the budget presentation for 2017 at the National Assembly, that the
recession will be over soon. Early this week, he said, recession will end in
2017. If you have faith in the man you have elected, then, you will receive it
and believe it. Things that have to do with economy are  practical, because when you go to the market,
it is what you buy that you will use to judge. But we will get to a point that
all those things will return to normal.

How do you manage the impact of
hostile western media on the image of Mr. President?

The GDA with President Muhammadu Buhari

Well, the
hostile western media will always be there because there are some, either one,
out of mischief or two, out of ignorance or three, because they have been
purchased. They have been procured to do hatchet jobs and because the
opposition is there, those who are not friendly to the government are there,
and they have ill-gotten monies that they can spend. So, they can procure the
foreign media to do hatchet jobs. When they do that, what can you do? If you
can send a rejoinder, you send. But as much as possible, we interface with them.

The Presidential Spokesman explaining a point to the GDA inside his office

Who is President Muhammadu Buhari at
very close quarters. Is he the mean person many Nigerians perceived him to be?
I will like
to refer you to a piece I did in May this year (2016), if you google it, you
will see. The Headline was “Mohammadu Buhari; Beyond the Iron and
Steel”
if you google it, you get to read. It was a portrait of the
president beyond the grieve and forbidden person that Nigerians think he is.
You know because of the military era in which he and (General Tunde) Idiagbon
were stone faced and not smiling, people think that is the way it is, no.  we have a soft, tender hearted man. A man who
laughs and laughs well.  (Laughter). You
will be surprised, a man whose grand children would come and they will be
jumping all over him, that is not the image Nigerians have of him. But he is a
complete human being. A good human being.

R-L; Mr. Gbenga Olajobi (My Photo Man) Mr. Femi Adesina (Presidential Spokesman) & Gbenga Dan Asabe

Talking about twitter, I am aware the
President has a twitter account just like ex-President Obasanjo and incoming
American President Donald Trump. Who handles Mr. President’s twitter account?

Mr. Femi Adesina to Asabeafrika…’The President will tackle the economy this year’

We have a
unit headed by Tolu Ogunlesi. He runs our digital media unit. So, it is just a
matter of coming up with what we think the President want to communicate with
the public and clearing it with him and once he endorses it, we release it. So,
we have a unit that takes care of the president’s digital communications.

The GDA presents New Book by ex-Minister  of Science & Technology,General (Dr.) Sam Momah (CFR) title ‘Nigeria’s Break-Up: Grave Consequences & Solutions’ to the Presidential Spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina 

Lastly, I want you to tell Nigerians
what they should expect from President Buhari in year 2017. Today, Nigerians
are complaining of hunger, high cost of commodities and living conditions. They
are not happy. Can you kindly assure them on what President Buhari has in stock
for them?
I think it
is the singer Yinka Ayefele who sang ‘E
o je ajeyo, e o tun di lole’
; that means you will eat, you will be
satisfied and you will even pack some when you are going. That is what will
happen in Nigeria. There may be lack
now, it may not be enough now but  time
is coming when there will be excess. More than enough.
Just like the Samaria story in the
Bible?

The Presidential Spokesman explaining more points to the GDA

Yes, the Samaria story. So, that is what will
happen in Nigeria. The president is re-tooling the economy of Nigeria. What we had in previous years
was like a bubble economy with no foundation. And a bubble, when you stick a
pin into it, it will just deflate and that is what happened to Nigeria economy.
It deflated when oil prices fell. So, a new foundation is being laid for the
Nigerian economy and we would get to a time of surplus. I just hope that those
who are complaining now would remember to say ‘President Buhari, we are sorry’. Now let me tell you a story. I
think that was Mexico ’86 World Cup.
The Argentine team was coached by Carlos
Bilardo
. Before they went for that world cup, there was no name they
didn’t call Carlos Bilardo, they said he built the most useless Argentine team ever in history. They
abused him, abused his father, abused his mother. And Carlos Bilardo
took the team to Mexico and they
began from group stages to quarter finals to semi-final to final and they won
the cup. And when Carlos Bilardo took the team and the cup back to Argentina, you know what the media said
No.

Adesina….A man of many laurels

Sorry, Bilardo!.
We were wrong (Laughter)
So, we shall soon need to say ‘SoRRY,
BUHARI!?
Yes, ‘Sorry
Buhari!. I hope we would get to that point when all those who have been making
noise, the people I call the wailing
wailers
, one day, they will say ‘Sorry Buhari! We are wrong. 

The GDA with the Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina