By Lawrence Olaoye
Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, has said that his principal deserved to be re-elected in 2019.
Adesina, in an interview with newsmen yesterday, scored the President high in the areas of economy, security and fight against corruption.
Asked whether he had done enough in his first term to deserve re-election, Adesina said “I believe that if the president wants to run, he can run. I will support him. I will always support him any day.
“Then, has he done enough? More than enough. In fact, a second term will give him chance to consolidate on what he has done.
“The things he has done are apparent: security, despite the challenges of the moment, you can’t rule out what he has done in security. Economy: economy went into recession, stayed there just for one year, it has come out and the indices are are good. Even the World Bank has projected 2.5% growth for Nigeria this year. So, in the economy, the government is doing well. The economy is like a plane with its nose up. As long as you have a plane with its nose up when it’s taking off, it’s good news.
“Anti-corruption, no friend, no foe. That goes on.
So, those three things he appointed for himself, one, to secure the country, two, to fight corruption, three, to revive the economy, they are going well.”
Asked what Buhari thoughts are on the oncoming general elections, Adesina said “About election, the president has always said, he said it publicly before but those of us who are his aides when we talk we reiterate it that if it is the only thing he does, he wants to give free and fair elections to the country, elections that are acceptable.
“And you would have noticed that since this government came, there have been elections APC didn’t have to win.
“It was not like that in the past when a certain party was in power. They won all the elections that held in states.
“But you saw Anambra. Just this weekend, you saw a senatorial election there. Some months ago, in November, you saw the governorship election. If APC had wanted to overrun Anambra using federal might, it would do and it would win the election.
Election had held in Bayelsa under this administration, APC didn’t do it. Ondo, APC won fair and square. Kogi, it won fair and square. Where APC wins, it wins. Where it loses, it loses. That’s the attitude of the president. Your party doesn’t have to win by hook or crook.
So, he says if it is the last thing he does, he will leave free and fair elections for Nigeria. So, he will bequeath free and fair election to Nigeria and that is happening.
Then, talking of his own personal ambition or lack of it, we have to wait until he blows the whistle. You can’t start a race until the whistle is blown. So, when he blows the whistle and say ‘yes, this is my ambition,’ then, the race start.
So, for now, we just say that we keep waiting on him to tell us what direction to go.”
On his views on some persons calling on Buhari not to view for the second term by adopting the Nelson Mandela’s option, the Presidential spokesman said “Of course, this is a democracy. People will always have a right to their opinion. You know one thing about democracy is that there is multiplicity of opinion. So, those who believe in the Mandela option, it is their right. And it is also the right of the president to run or not to run. So, you don’t abridge the right of anybody under a democracy.”
On report that Buhari had already named the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, as the Director-General of his campaign team ahead of the Presidential election, Adesina said “Well, me I believe that things like DG will come when you have become a candidate. If the president steps into the fray now, he’s an aspirant just like any other aspirant. Having a DG comes when you become a candidate of the party.”
On the challenges posed by Buhari’s health, he said “Yes! Health is wealth. The president is not a frivolous person. If he thinks that his health cannot carry anything, he will not do it. So, of course, his health will matter a lot. It will be very important but we need to give the glory to God for the way he is now.
Every day you see the president, you see a glow about him, you see a freshness about him. I think he’s even in a better state than when he came in 2015. It’s all to the glory of God.
So, once he assesses that his health can carry it, there’s nothing wrong if he steps into the fray. But he had the final decision.”