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“The president is not sick, the president is well’ – Femi Adesina

Valentine Chinyem

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The president is not sick, the president is well, according to Femi Adesina, his special adviser on media and publicity.

Adesina said this on Monday when he appeared as a guest on Politics Today, a programme on Channels Television.

Dismissing the reports that Buhari embarked on a sudden vacation, Adesina said having worked “non-stop” for eight months, the president, being human, needed respite and asked for it.

“Any man can fall sick, old or young, but the president is not sick, the president is well,” he said.

“The president has worked for more than eight months non-stop, and he felt it was time to take a respite and he asked for six days leave and he did it the proper way. He communicated it to the national assembly, handed over power to his deputy and nothing is wrong with that.”

When told that the vacation appeared sudden and if there was any reason behind that, Adesina asked: “Do you go on vacation because you are sick? You need respite from time to time and when you think it is time for respite, you take it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with his state of health.

“Nigerians have been lied to for so long that they are now finding it difficult to believe the truth and that is the problem. You have told the truth yet they did not believe it because they have a carry-over of those who have lied to them for many decades but this government will not lie; it will tell the truth.”

Adesina defended the president’s foreign trips, saying the arguments that Buhari travels often lack basis. He added that the trips abroad had yielded several results, among which is the tremendous gain in the fight against insurgency.

“He went to Chad; he went to Niger; he was to go to Cameroon but then the G7 invited him to Germany and what were those trips about? Security,” he said.

“They invited him to brief them on the security situation in Nigeria. Those trips were about Nigeria’s interest. When he assumed office in May last year, there were a minimum of 20 local governments in custody of Boko Haram, local governments where they had hoisted their flags, where they had declared their caliphate.

“Now, today, not a single local government is under their territory. The governor of Borno state still reiterated it today. He didn’t do that by sitting pretty on his seat. He needed to build a coalition to form a regional force, which has been done, to battle insurgency.

“Don’t also forget that our president is so much in demand. In September last year when he went for the UN General Assembly, the envoy of the UN said there were about 23 requests from foreign leaders to speak with our president; he could only oblige eight of them.”

Adesina waved aside the allegation of Ayo Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, that the president spends about $1 million on each of his foreign trips.

“What is the source of that? You know it’s a laughable source. You know this is not true. If anyone has contrary evidence, let him bring it forward,” he said.

“The person alleging that the president spends $1 million should be able to prove it. It should be empirical. Anybody can get up and quote any figure, do we begin to lose sleep over that? The president himself has responded to that.”

On the number of aircraft in the president’s fleet, he said: “It’s the president’s decision; it’s his prerogative to cut down or not to cut down, and if he has not done it, if we elect him, if we trusted him enough to elect him, we must also trust him to take the right decisions.”

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