“There was a time in this country when bombs went off like firecrackers. There could be five to six bombings in one day. Now we can have two-three months, with no single case of bombing. Let’s be thankful for small mercies.”
— Femi Adesina (Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity).
I earnestly waited for a rebuttal from the Presidency, pointing out that the statement was taken out of the context of the Presidential Spokesperson’s interview and it was harbingers of fake news trying to spread hate among Nigerians.
Because of course, no Special Adviser to the President would ever make such a careless statement. The response never came. Then I tried to do a little digging myself. The newspapers must have been wrong this time, I thought. So I went to look for a video of the interview and to my utmost shock, Femi Adesina actually did say that.
Why should Nigerians be grateful that bombings have reduced? Shouldn’t we be celebrating that there are no bombings at all? The security of the nation is and should be the utmost concern of the President. Why should people die under your watch in the first place?
Lives are precious, either it’s one or one hundred. Might I remind Femi Adesina, that one of the core campaign promises of the Buhari/Osinbajo campaign in 2014 was to defeat the Boko Haram insurgency and end the insecurity in Nigeria’s restive northeastern region? Why then are we even having the conversation of bombings five years after they’ve been in office?
It is the responsibility of the President to secure the lives and properties of a nation’s citizens. While he may not be able to secure the properties of citizens in the diaspora, it should to a large extent be able to secure their lives whenever the need arises. The title ‘Grand Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces’ isn’t just bestowed on every elected President because it sounds pleasing to ears. It is a call to action. Shoes to fill. Responsibility to step up to.
Femi Adesina equally forgets, that empathy is a must-have tool for political appointees or elected officeholders. The average Nigerian is an angry one, perhaps due to the fact they are citizens of a country blessed with so much and has done so little for its people.
And so your approach to handling issues that concern them must come from a place of deeply rooted empathy. The need to show care and concern through your words and actions. He is supposed to act as the bridge between the President and his people. When you make loose statements such as these, you only incite anger and hate, and fear.
Ever wondered why most Technocrats reject political appointments? What Femi Adesina has become is why. Before he was appointed the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, he was a renowned journalist who was known for fearlessly speaking his opinions and was a strong critic for bad governments.
He got into office and it seems like he forgot all he stood for. Everything Femi Adesina has done since then has been a direct contradiction of the man we knew him to be. It seems like many others like him, he too has been corrupted by the ‘virus.’
On the other hand, I like Femi Adesina. Not for his person, but for his loyalty. He’s consistently defended his boss since Day 1 even if it meant spreading lies and propaganda. Dare I say, that we all need a Femi Adesina in our lives not because of the lies or propaganda, but for his fearlessness in standing up for his boss and friend.
Femi Adesina’s loyalty to his boss is commendable, but he forgets that the president wouldn’t occupy the office forever. His time would be done and he would return to live among us, the people he neglected because of his loyalty. He cannot stay on that high horse forever. Posterity would remember him for whatever he’s done, either good or bad.