Tag Archives: Femi Adesina

PRESIDENT BUHARI: THE UNHERALDED ACHIEVEMENTS, By FEMI ADESINA

Let me give due credit for the idea of this piece. President Muhammadu Buhari had said recently that elites in the country were not giving due accolades to his administration in terms of where it met the country, what it grapples with, and where it has been able to take the nation to, thus far.

The position of Mr President was widely published by the traditional and digital media, and it became an object of debate.

In the middle of it all, I received a phone call from Prince Nduka Obaigbena, Chairman of Arise Television and Publisher of Thisday Newspapers.

“Mr President says the elite have not given due credit to the administration. That means there are achievements that are not reported, underreported, or not celebrated at all. Come to Arise Television, and talk about it.”

It was a good opportunity. What else was my duty, if not to inform and educate the country (and beyond) on the work my principal was doing for the country? So, to Arise Television I went, on The Morning Show, anchored by cerebral journalist and my immediate predecessor in the office I currently occupy, Dr Reuben Abati.

The sparring session (that’s the way I see it) went well. Abati and his co-hosts came from different angles, trying to take me out with that sucker punch that would send me kissing the canvass. I floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee (apologies Muhammed Ali). At the end of it all, I believe we had a good show, with no side worsted.

So, what are the unheralded achievements of the Buhari Administration? What are the landmarks and milestones given scant attention by the elite, if even recognized at all?

Nigeria has challenges today. Very severe ones. Security is key in any country, if there would be progress and development. But here we are, battling insurgency, banditry, kidnappings, wanton killings, armed robbery, ethnic insularity leading to murder and mayhem, and other vicious criminalities. All these can only make a people sad and dolorous. But is that all there is to Nigeria of today?

The Buhari government is battling insecurity with all it has at its disposal. Naturally, the populace will want faster results, but some things are never by a sudden flight. You don’t just snap your fingers, and the problems disappear. And in the middle of it all, you must still continue to work, and make the time count for country and the people.

So, despite it all, what are some of the unreported or underreported achievements?

Annual budgets and how they perform have always been issues in the country. How timeously has the financial projections been delivered, and what has been the level of performance? These are germane to any economy.

The year 2020 was a remarkable one in the annals of mankind. A novel virus came, which you can’t see, smell or touch, but it succeeded in sending the world into a tailspin. There were national lockdowns round the globe, lives were lost in their numbers, economies suffered, and despondency was the order of the day.

But it was also the year Nigeria had resolved to return its budget cycle to January to December. It was achieved, and despite the fact that fallen oil prices compelled a review, the budget at the end of the day achieved 97.7% performance. Holy Moses! It never happened before. In normal years, without a gripping pandemic, and the need to balance between lives and livelihoods, our budgets never attained such records. You often talk of 50 or 60% performance, at the best. There were years in the past, when we even had 30% performance. But under Buhari, in a year of collapsed oil prices, and income at about a quarter of what we used to earn, here was 97.7% performance. Jumping Jehoshaphat! There must be more fiscal discipline in this government than Nigerians are crediting it for.

But did the news hug the headlines? Did it become the talking point of talk shows on radio and television? For where? No herdsmen were involved, so it was not going to be sweet to discuss. It was going to make the government of the day look good, so the elite was not interested. That was how that budget feat went uncelebrated, unheralded. Shout yourself hoarse announcing it, those who should run with it were uninterested. They would rather talk of yet unfulfilled promises in the areas of security, economy and anti-corruption.

We have always had stiff antagonism between states and the Federal Government. They were always like Tom and Jerry, with each striving to outdo and undermine the other. Till Buhari came.

At the advent of the administration in 2015, at least 27 states could not pay salaries. President Buhari did not ask them to stew in their juice, but rather made deft footworks, which bailed the states out of their predicament. Succor came for the people. Did it hug the headlines? No. Because herdsmen were not involved.

It used to be that Federal Government never gave states their dues in terms of refunds for projects executed. But not under Buhari. At the last count, about 700 billion naira had been paid to states as refund for road projects. The largest chunk of N78 billion went to Rivers, a state governed by the opposition party, and who’s governor rarely has good things to say about government at the centre. Also approved and paid were Paris Club refunds in excess of five billion dollars, owed by previous administrations. Uncelebrated, unheralded.

We have always talked about the need to have modular refineries in the country, to ensure that glitches in the supply of petroleum products were eliminated. For years, licenses were given, but there was only one such refinery working in the country. Till Buhari came, and recalibrated the oil industry. Today, many modular refineries are in the works, almost completed. Late last year, the Waltersmith refinery was commissioned by the President himself, and has gone into operation. But not a whimper from the traditional and social media. Why? No herdsman was involved. No interest.

Infrastructure. Ah, infrastructure. This is where Buhari would leave his largest footprints. Roads. Bridges. Rail. Airports. AKK gas pipeline. All to be delivered before the administration exits in 2023. Second Bridge over River Niger, built with mouth for 16 years under the administration of another political party, is now about 50% completed. Lagos-Ibadan Expressway racing towards completion. Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Expressway being reconstructed. Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki Expressway being reconstructed.for the first time in 40 years. Bonny-Bodo Bridge and road finally underway, more than four decades after it was conceived. Rail projects round the country. Abuja-Kaduna, Warri-Itakpe already in operation, Lagos-Ibadan to be commissioned anytime soon, Ibadan to Kano under works, Kano to Maradi flagged off last week. Brand new airports in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Kano. Enugu has been rehabilitated.

Headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) completed after decades of lack of will, the local content skyscraper dots the Bayelsa State skyline, the Nnamdi Azikiwe mausoleum completed in Anambra State after 22 years, all by Buhari. No plaudits. No accolades. All they talk about are things not done. No thanksgiving to God for small mercies, which are the real mercies. It all reminds me of the line from China Achebe, in Things Fall Apart, about a man and his consort: “If I hold her hands, she says; don’t touch. If I hold her foot, she says; don’t touch. But when I hold her waist beads, she pretends not to know.”

Why is President Buhari touching our waist beads, and some Nigerians, particularly the elite, are pretending not to know?

In areas where we had opacities, there is now transparency. The first audited financial report of the NNPC is now done in more than 40 years. The Open Treasury Portal now publishes Federal Government expenditure online. Corruption is being robustly fought. There is public sector reform in many areas. Our waist beads are being touched, but we are pretending not to know. Wetin?

Let’s look at private investments in the country. Such things never thrive, unless government provides the enabling environment. Now see what we have, under Buhari:

*Dangote Refinery. The largest single-train crude oil refinery in the world.
*Lekki Deep Sea Port. A brand new port to serve as alternative to Apapa port.
*Dangote Fertilizer and Petrochemical plant
*Segilola Gold Project in Osun State, described as “Nigeria’s most advanced gold exploration and production project.”
*Nigeria’s first ever gold refineries under construction in Ogun State and FCT
*Olam’s $150million investment in poultry feed mills, hatchery and breeder farms in Kaduna and Kwara states, commissioned in 2017
*GB Foods 20 billion naira tomato paste factory in Kebbi
*$250 million brewery by International Breweries Plc, commissioned 2018 in Sagamu, Ogun State, said to be the biggest in West Africa
*Indorama Fertilizer Plant Train 2, nearing completion in Port Harcourt
*NLNG Train 7, which will expand the company’s production capacity by more than 30%
*Agric investment hits 6-year high
And many more…

President Buhari is surely touching the waist beads of Nigerians. We should no longer pretend not to know.

*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

Social Media for Good Governance, by Femi Adesina  

Definition and Background

Social Media refers to all websites and applications that give users the ability to create and share content. That’s why it is called ‘Social’. Unlike traditional media which only allows a select group of people, ‘gatekeepers’, to post.

• I used to be a newspaper editor, and it was my job to decide what type of content is published in the paper, and when. The same applies to television and radio. If you want to contribute to any of the traditional media, you have to send your content to them and hope they will feature it.

• But with social media, you can sign up on any platform, create and post your content, and other people will engage with it as they deem fit. Nobody needs the permission of any editors or gatekeepers, and the communication can flow from any user to any other user.

• The most popular Social Media platforms in Nigeria are WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Many young people also use platforms like SnapChat and Tiktok.

• Social Media, like all other media, is itself a neutral platform, that can be put to good or bad use.

• It is human beings who decide what they want to use it for, to build up or to tear down, to unite or to divide, to progress or to retrogress. The same WhatsApp that people use for business promotion and client engagement is what others use to spread fake news. The same Facebook that people use to reconnect with their friends from long ago, is what election manipulators use to try to negatively influence the outcome of elections.

Negative Uses of Social Media

1. Fake News and Hate Speech: We have seen many examples of these in recent times:

• Jubril from Sudan

• Coronavirus Fake News – peddling fake cures, people saying the Virus does not exist, etc.

• The Ethnicisation of Security in Nigeria

2. Destructive Criticism: Not all criticism is good or useful. Some of it is misinformed and and meant to destroy.

Positive Use of Social Media

1. We must be sensible and responsible in our usage of social media. We have a responsibility to do this. Be aware of the laws that guide social media usage, so that you do not run foul of them. For example, the Cybercrime Act of 2015 criminalises cyber-threats, cyber-terrorism, online impersonation, cyberstalking, and distribution of racist or xenophobic material. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse; also saying ‘I was only kidding’ is not an excuse.

2. You can use Social Media to hold government to account, but you have to be factual and non-destructive. Avoid gratuitous insults.

3. Social Media is useful for drawing the attention of Government to things that require their intervention. But it must be factual information, and must be directed to the right channels.

4. For young people, there’s a lot of Self Development that can be done on the Internet. You can learn an infinite amount of skills and courses on the Internet. We can all play our part in advancing good governance in Nigeria by developing our skills and talents to the best of our abilities.

5. Abia State is known around Nigeria and beyond as a bastion of innovation and creativity. Your shoes and clothes are world-famous, among other things. Social Media can be a tool for learning how to improve the quality of your products, also for finding new markets and customers.

Government and Social Media

• For Government, Social Media should be seen as a credible feedback tool, where the citizenry can comment and contribute to governance. But you have to take the effort to sieve through the feedback, not all of it will be constructive or useful.

• Government agencies should endeavour to be officially active on Social Media platforms, and regularly share updates on their activities.

• Events like this Social Media Converge, with His Excellency the Governor in attendance, should be encouraged, as a way of bringing various stakeholders together, to discuss how to maximise the advantages and minimise the downsides of Social Media.

Social Media for Good Governance is a collection of talking points for a discourse at the Social Media Converge in Umuahia today.

It was delivered by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity.

Femi Adesina to deliver Lead Speech at Abia Social Media Converge on Feb14

The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina will be the Lead Speaker at the Abia Social Media Converge billed to hold on Valentine Day, February 14, 2021.

According to an advertorial made available to Jungle Journalist Media Limited by the Abia State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, the event will be an interactive session with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu tagged ‘Social Media for Good Governance’.

Venue for the event is Michael Okpara Auditorium, Government House, Umuahia. Time is 2pm prompt.

The session will be moderated by the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon Chinedum Orji. It will feature games, networking, prizes, and party.

Music will be provided by J Martins, Exnel, Bright Chimezie and others.

Some comedians who will feature on that day include Dauda, MC Clockwise, MC Pipiro among others.

A ‘GOOD SETBACK’ BY 60 Years, by Femi Adesina

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has a fixation with 60 years. At the height of its heady days in power, it challenged its Chi (personal god) to a wrestling contest, vowing that it would rule Nigeria for minimum of 60 years. We know how the story ended. The Chi gave the boastful party a thunderous pin-fall. So great was the fall that not all the king’s horses nor all the king’s men could put Humpty Dumpty together again.

The Sugar Candy Mountain of 60 years ended in 16 years, with the bloody nose Nigerians gave PDP at the polls through the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015.

Since that time, however, PDP has not stopped fantasizing about 60 years. Addressing the media recently on the 5th year anniversary of its nemesis, President Muhammadu Buhari, in power, the party, through Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary, said the President and his team “have taken our country 60 years backward.” Lol. What a neurosis with 60 years.

When the PDP lies, it speaks its mother tongue, its natural language, “for he is a liar and father of all lies.” The party has become willfully blind and deaf to all progress going on in the country.
Back to English Literature class in secondary school, we were taught what an oxymoron was: figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction. That is why we want to examine the ‘good setback’ the Buhari government has given Nigeria, taking her back 60 years, according to the PDP.

There are minimum of 600 road projects going on in different parts of the country today. What a good setback. The Buhari government is doing what Napoleon couldn’t do, and so, it is taking the country ‘backward.’
Hear the story of the Bodo-Bonny Road. It had been on the drawing board for 48 years. It is supposed to be the first link road between Bonny, where the country’s cash cow, the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) project is sited, and the rest of Rivers State. But no access, except by boats and helicopters.

For almost five decades, the Bodo-Bonny Road was only in the realm of imagination. Till Muhammadu Buhari came. Work commenced on the $333 million project in 2017, and estimated time of completion is 2022.

The 38 kilometers long road runs through low lying marshland swampy terrain, with many culverts, two creek bridges of about 500 meters in length, and a major river bridge of about 713 meters length. Yet, Buhari is building it, in conjunction with NLNG. What a backward movement!

We have said a lot about the Second Niger Bridge. And we shall never stop talking about it. The project makes our heart to beat Du du ke, du du ke, each time we remember it.

The first bridge was built in 1965, and is the major gateway to the land of the wise men-the East. But the sole bridge has become grossly inadequate, and people virtually see hell on it at major festive times.

Government after government had built a new bridge-with their mouths- particularly since we returned to democratic rule in 1999. Whenever elections approached, and they needed the votes of the people, they would take cutlasses, hoes and shovels, go to the site of the bridge, and pretend to be digging the ground. Once elections were over, and they had got the votes they wanted, it’s goodbye basket, I’ve carried all my apples.

Till Buhari came. Without fanfare, no bravado, no theatrics, he set to work. The bridge is 48% completed today, with sights firmly set on the first quarter of 2022 as delivery time. What a backward move, according to PDP. And to think the party can’t even complete its head office, despite raising billions of Naira, which developed legs and vanished.

What about rail? Have you seen the Warri-Itakpe line, which had vegetated for over 30 years? What about Abuja-Kaduna, already put to use? And Lagos-Ibadan, about 90% done? Ibadan-Kano has been awarded, there will be Lagos-Calabar, and many others. But PDP says the rail lines are leading us backwards by 60 years. What a good backward movement!

Airports. The country was rated as having some of the worst airports in the world before Buhari came. But today, see ultra-modern terminals in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Kano, and Enugu is coming on stream shortly. But they say it’s a flight backwards. Oh, I see. Such people may never then fly forward ever and ever. They are perpetually stuck in reverse gear.
Agriculture. We used to import everything. Even when we had a celebrated farmer as President, we brought in rice from all over the world, and beans from Burkina Faso. Maize, wheat, sorghum, millet, we imported everything. Fertilizer was one huge scam, when we planted nothing.

Then Buhari came. He told Nigerians to return to the land. And he put his money where his mouth was. Agriculture was massively funded, and today, we have pyramids of rice round the country. We no longer import any type of grains, rather our neighbors come to buy here. We are almost self-sufficient in food.
Imagine if such hadn’t happened, and COVID-19 came. No foreign exchange to import food, all international borders closed, nothing to eat. Nigeria would have been in terrible crises. But we thank God Buhari came this way. He made all the difference. Yet PDP (Papa Deceiving Pikin) says it’s backward movement. I like that kind of backstroke, don’t you?

Eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth, before Coronavirus threw a spanner in the works. Yet, they say it’s all backward movement. Non-oil exports have grown highest in the country’s history. We are taking massive leaps in the Ease of Doing Business. Light appears at the end of the long tunnel of lack of electricity, with a transparent deal with Siemens of Germany. For the first time in over ten years, Nigeria is conducting transparent bidding process for 57 Marginal Oil Fields to increase revenue. Insurgency, crime and criminality are being robustly fought. COVID19, which has humbled the great powers of the world, is also being battled relentlessly. What of corruption? No retreat, no surrender. Do the crime, do the term. More than 1,400 convictions, and over N800 billion recovered in recent times. Yet PDP says it’s backward movement. I hear.

When AfDB President, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina came to see President Buhari recently, I had a private dialogue with him. And he told me of an African leader who met him and said: “Those who don’t want you for a second term in office say you are not doing well. But if what you are doing is a bad thing, please continue with those bad things for the sake of Africa. We appreciate what you are doing.”

Doing admirable bad things. Another oxymoron. But some morons don’t know oxymorons. So they talk of Nigeria being taken back 60 years. What a good backward movement. Nigerians want more of such.

Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

EXCLUSIVE! 60 Years in 60 Minutes: Femi Adesina narrates the story of his life to Jungle Journalist Media Limited

Some weeks before the total lockdown of Nigeria and the rest of the world, two journalists found their way into the regal office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, where they were privileged to speak with the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Chief Femi Adesina.

ThankGod Ofoelue, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Jungle Journalist Media Limited, and his counterpart, Chidipeters Okorie, who is the Publisher of Time Africa Magazine met with Chief Adesina, where he entertained them to a one hour story about his life.While the interview went on, they had the rare opportunity of meeting with the Executive Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), who breezed in to have a brief chat with the Media Adviser.

Adesina told a lot many things about himself that is nowhere else in the public domain.

Here, Jungle Journalist Media Limited reproduces word for word, the adventures of Femi Adesina, from birth to present, narrated in 60 minutes.

Excerpts:

Some people look up to you, especially we that are new in journalism. May we know who Femi Adesina is?

(Laughs) You want me to tell the story of almost 60 years in how many seconds? He is a Nigerian journalist, hails from Osun State, schooled in Osun. Then it was Western State, then it became part of Oyo State, then it became part of Osun State.

I went to the university in Ife, and went into journalism and since then,1986, I have not done anything else. Though I have not been in the newsroom since 2015 when I came to work in the newsroom, but I see what I do now as an extension of the journalism.

On the other side, I was involved in news processing, managing a newspaper, but now I am a content provider for the media. That’s Femi Adesina.

Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari and his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Femi Adesina

Tell us about your childhood

My childhood- my father was a principal and my mother was a school teacher. You know when an educationist brings you up, it’s tough. Our house was like an extension of the school. My father tell stories of how tough he was. Just as he was tough in school, so was he tough at home. But it worked together for our good, because today, we are thankful he bought us up that way. We are five boys and two girls. If he didn’t bring us up that way, we may have got out of hand.

Where is he now?

Gone. Gone the way of all flesh. My father died in 1995, he was 70 and my mother died in 2013, she was 75.

What exactly would you say you captured from them?

I want to also believe that the discipline helped me in life. I wouldn’t call myself someone that lived carelessly. My parents thought us to always be focused and to stay in line. So it reflects in everything I do. And I like the personal discipline he gives you.

For instance, people ask me what I admire about President Muhammadu Buhari. It is personal discipline. If you see him, it’s patterned lifestyle. In some ways he reminds me of my father, those are some of the things I admire about him among many others. In terms of integrity, in terms of incorruptibility, my father was well known for those qualities.

What was your university days like?

We had a very tough father so going out of the house to school was like liberty. All the things we couldn’t do under him, we began to do, all the things young men will do. But what changed the direction of my life was that I got born again early. Immediately after National Service, we got born again so it kept me in check.

In the university up to national service, if you wanted to see anybody that could organise a party, it was me. But fortunately, I got born again and so didn’t burn my candle at both ends.

President Buhari in warm handshake with Adesina

What did you study in the university?

English, and then I later did professional studies in journalism.

You have any regrets from that past?

No I think I was lucky that I didn’t dance too far. I danced enough but not too far.

At what point did you meet your wife?

I met my wife in 1988, the same year I got born again. I actually met her when I was going to a crusade, and she sat behind me when I got to that crusade. It was at that crusade that I gave my life to Christ. One thing about me is that once I decide a thing, I don’t look back. Once I answered that altar call, my life changed. In fact, all my friends with whom we did all the things we did together couldn’t believe it.

Femi Adesina(second from left), and his wife, Nike Adesina

What particularly attracted you to her?

I wouldn’t know, I remember, you see, she is a twin. My sister was living in a house along with her twin. They are not directly identical but they have some similarities. I was walking along the road and then I saw her. I thought it was her twin and we greeted. After I walked down and she had walked down, I wanted to look back to be sure if she is the one I know. As I looked back, she also looked back and we caught each other in the act. So later at the crusade, she came, sat behind me and that was how we started talking.

One thing about me and her is that we can talk. We can talk and talk for hours, and it has helped us in the marriage. We have been married for 29 years, but because we talk about everything, it has really helped us.

Adesina stretches his hand to receive a handshake from President Muhammadu Buhari

What is your family like?

I have two kids, grown now because my son is 27 already and he is a pilot. Then my daughter studied French, she runs a French Training Institute, and am glad that both of them are doing very well.

Tell us about your job experience

I left university in 1986,and went to serve in Lagos State Television. In my secondary school, my teachers, I dint know what they saw in me and will either say that I will be a journalist or a lawyer. So eventually I opted to go into journalism. I would have read journalism direct but Ife didn’t offer it then. So I studied English. Then I went to LTV, then to Radio Lagos, then Vanguard and from there I went to Concord Press and then to Tribune and was in the editorial board. Then to the Sun. I was the founding editor of Daily Sun.

What has the road being like? Rough?

No, I take pride in the fact that I climbed every rung in the profession. I started as a cub reporter, and then I became s staff writer, then a senior writer. Then I became Chief Correspondent. From it I became a Deputy Features Editor, then Features Editor. Then I became Editor at the National Concord all the rings of the ladder I climbed, and when Sun was established, I became the Founding Editor. After five years, I became Executive Director of Publications. After that, I became Deputy Managing Director/Deputy Editor in Chief. Then I also became President, Nigeria Guild of Editors.

So if there is any position in journalism, I have held it all.

Currently, people are beginning to say that Adesina is becoming too ‘pen arrogant’ in terms of addressing issues. What do you think of this?

I really don’t know what they mean by that, but one thing about me, my father used to say ‘Femi will always say his mind’. I told you my father was tough but it didn’t stop me from saying my mind. Even now as I work for the president, if there is anything to say, I say it he way it is. Am the type of person that says my mind, and I can say it to anybody with joy being rude or disrespectful.If some people interpret that as being arrogant, it’s because they don’t understand who I am.

What is the work like at the Presidency?

I am here today because I admire the person I have come to serve. If it were not President Buhari, I definitely wouldn’t be working in government. All my career from the day I left school was in the private sector. I didn’t plan to ever work in government. But because I had always admired President Buhari, right from when he became the military Head of State, I was already a 3rd year student in the university when he cane and so you can’t call it hero worship, I knew my mind. I was old enough to know what I wanted and I began to follow him since that time.I love his discipline, his simplicity, his accountability, integrity. He is not like the average man who lets it eat into his head, he holds power with simplicity. All the things I like, all the things I admire are found in him, so the offer now came to come and work with him, I took it.At that time, I was MD/Editor of a thriving newspaper, I was president, Nigerian Guild of Editors, I didn’t need a job. But because it was Muhammadu Buhari, I took it. I was not looking for a job, I didn’t want it, I didn’t want to work in Government. But because it was Muhammadu Buhari, I took it. If it was somebody else I would never have accepted it. That was not what I wanted for my life.

What is the one thing you don’t like about Mr President?

There is no human being alive that is perfect. But when you have people who have virtues that outstrip their failings, you easily overlook the failings.

My next question is multi-headed: how do you cope working in the presidency and managing to be with your family?

My family lives in Lagos and it’s a big sacrifice. Before I came to work in Government, I had been married for 25 years, I have never separated from my family except when you travel as a journalist and you know we travel often. But to live apart, it has never happened. So for the first time, 25 years into marriage, I had to come to live in Abuja and it’s not easy.

There are lonely days and lonely nights, but fortunately my children were already grown when I came to work in Government. My son was already a pilot, my daughter was in final year. If they were younger, I would have moved them to Abuja. But I try to go to Lagos as often as possible, minimum once a month. My wife spends all her vacation here and my son, because he is a pilot, anytime he stops over in Abuja comes to stay with me.

Adesina(Left), Okorie(middle) and Ofoelue(far right) during the visit

I remember when you lost your sister and I read your lamentations

It was very painful, every time I remember it. She was a professor in dramatic arts and she was travelling from Ibadan to Lagos, she had an accident and died. It’s still very painful. Don Williams said ‘some broken hearts never mend. In that area, all Adesinas broken hearts are not mended, but we still trust in God and have moved on.

What is your regret in life?

I can’t think of any rather there is plenty to count, really plenty. I think the reason I have no regrets is that I got converted early. So all the mistakes I could have made, I didn’t make them because God was guiding my steps. My only regret now is when I fail God.

What time do you have to write all the things that you write?

I have one grace, and it’s because writing flows in me naturally. I can write anywhere – in the plane, car, anywhere. In fact as a reporter, most of my best stories were written on the road. On the express, I will be writing. When I get to the office and submit it to the editor, it will lead the paper and people will not know they I wrote it on the highway.

So God has given me that grace, and that’s why I still can write despite the nature of the job I do.

Facts Are Stubborn Things, by Femi Adesina

Next week, the Muhammadu Buhari administration would be exactly five years in office. Four full years of a first term, and one year accomplished in the second term of four years.In five years, President Buhari has touched Nigeria in diverse ways, despite myriad of challenges; economic, security, political, social, and many more.The fact sheet will be unfolded few days hence, but today, as build up to the anniversary season, let’s dwell on some unassailable truths that can never be swept away. As Sir Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister said; “Truth is incontrovertible. Ignorance may deride it, panic may resent it, malice may destroy it, but there it is.”The President and his team are steadily and painstakingly retooling Nigeria. Out of sheer and deliberate ignorance, some people deride it, saying we see nothing, we hear nothing. Yes. When you have become deliberately blind, you can see nothing, even when it is thrust before your very eyes. You won’t see it. When you have become willfully deaf, when it is noised to your hearing daily, you won’t hear.Some other people do theirs out of panic. Shall it be said that what Napoleon couldn’t do, has been done by that simple, unassuming man from Daura? Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Daura of all places. That small place. Not a man from a major city. And he wants to be recorded in history as the man who turned Nigeria right side up. They resent it out of panic.Yet some others operate out of malice. He is not of my ethnic stock. Nor of my religion, language, political party. Why must Nigeria work under him? It won’t happen. We won’t see anything, nor hear anything. In fact, he is doing nothing. The country is even worse off than he met it five years ago.There is a quote often attributed to John Adams, a former American President, though some people claim it was not original to him. It goes thus: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”A number of times, I have written about a private journey I took to Onitsha, in Anambra State, last December. I was on the same flight with the Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Highness Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe. When we landed at Asaba, and I had paid him royal courtesies, he asked me to give the thanks and appreciation of his people to the President on the Second Niger Bridge, currently under construction. For many years, many administrations had made unfulfilled political promises on the project.“As you drive on the Niger Bridge, just look to your right, and you will see the new bridge coming up,” the revered monarch had said.“Please tell Mr President that we are very happy, and we thank him.”
I saw the Second Niger Bridge, and it kindled the joy kiln in my heart. But you know what? Some people pass on the 1965 Niger Bridge, see the new one in the works, and just pretend not to.Some others see it, and they are angry. Will this Daura man succeed where others have failed? But facts are stubborn things. “Truth is incontrovertible. Ignorance may deride it, panic may resent it, malice may destroy it, but there it is.”Have you seen the Owerri Interchange lately? It is the 1.6 kilometers bridge and 10.3 kilometers highway being built by Julius Berger, at Onitsha/Owerri road, Obosi junction. It will lead to the Second Nigeria Bridge.In March, before the COVID-19 pandemic caused national emergency and halted the project, Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) visited. Very impressive. Now, here’s the news:
As part of the Phase 1 of the easing of lockdown occasioned by Coronavirus in the country, work is restarting on 53 infrastructure projects in 26 states, across the country.Despite the crash in revenue due to the collapse of oil prices in the international market, 11 contractors have been mobilized back to site in 26 states. And the Owerri Interchange is one of the scenes of action.The Second Niger Bridge is projected to be completed in the lifetime of this administration, in fact by February 2022. The man from Daura will go into records as the person that did it, with Fashola as the midwife. Facts are stubborn things.In Phase 2 of the easing of the lockdown, you know what will happen? The Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) will roll out 92 repair works across 24 states in the country. That will be different from the 53 projects in 26 states. Nigeria will be one huge construction site, at a time the economy is down, and revenue has shrunk considerably. That is the hallmark of a government out to serve the people, come rain or shine. Minister Fashola says the objective “is to get all those depending on daily living back to work, when the COVID-19 is finally contained.”Strides in agriculture will not stop. Nigeria is on the verge of food self-sufficiency. Rice, beans, maize, millet, all grains, we import none, unlike in the past. What if President Buhari had not invested in agriculture right from 2015?How would we have survived at a time like this? Where would we run to? We run to the sea, the sea would be boiling. We run to the bush, the bush would be burning. We run to the rocks, the rocks would be cracking. Where would we have run to? Yet some people say: we can’t even see what the government is doing. Yes, willfully blind people won’t see. But facts are stubborn things.What of railway lines criss-crossing the country? Lagos to Ibadan is ready. Abuja to Kaduna had been in operation.Ibadan to Kano is in the works.Roads? Lagos/Ibadan Expressway is 61% completed. Abuja/Kano is bursting forth. Enugu/Port Harcourt. And many others. In fact, there is a federal road project ongoing in almost every state in the country.
Airports. New terminals at Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt. Many others under construction.Solid minerals? Contribution to Federation Account In 2015 was N700 million. In 2016, it went up to N2 billion,and N5 billion in 2017. It hasn’t stopped growing since then.We have a Social Investment Programme that is the biggest and most ambitious in Africa. President Buhari recently directed that those on the social security register be increased from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million. Yet, all that some people can do is pick holes. They forget that there was a time in recent history that the country didn’t have a social security register at all. They won’t even let the one that has been established grow.Corruption is being fought to a standstill. The same with insecurity in different parts of the country. External reserves are growing at a time of economic crisis. Yet some people don’t see what the government is doing. But those who see, and hear, are full of appreciation.True, facts are stubborn things. “Truth is incontrovertible. Ignorance may deride it, panic may resent it, malice may destroy it, but there it is.”

Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

BREAKING NEWS FROM ASO VILLA, by Femi Adesina

Quite a challenging week it has been for Nigeria, and, indeed, the rest of the world. Except perhaps in China only, where the affliction started from, figures of Coronavirus infections continue to mount in other parts of the world. Italy and Spain have been particularly badly hit.

But as the world reels under the impact of a most pernicious pandemic, a suicide bomber wreaking deadly havocs, merchants of fake, hateful news remain fully at work. Aso Villa, the seat of presidential authority, has been their focus for most of the week. They have kept churning out spurious reports after the other about President Muhammadu Buhari, and some other people who work with him. If you choose to believe them, the President by now has even been evacuated, and is receiving medical attention at an undisclosed location somewhere in the wide world.

Breaking news from Aso Villa. That is what you have had day after day. And each time I am contacted to authenticate one story or the other, I tell the enquirers that the Presidential Villa is part of the world, part of humanity, and the people there are not immune from what is happening in the rest of the world.

But the outright fake, hateful news, I have ignored all week. Not a word in response.

How do you begin to give wings to concocted stories through responses that will make the falsehood fly faster? No, purveyors of wickedness should not have the satisfaction of drawing us out all the time, and getting some tacit endorsement for their flight of fancy.

A top aide of the President tested positive early in the week. He is receiving adequate care, and he has our best wishes. But for the sinister minds, it was floodgate to all sorts of malediction. All sorts of Breaking News followed:

‘Intensive care machines brought into Aso Rock.’ ‘President Buhari coughing ceaselessly.’ ‘PMB under intensive care.’ ‘Adesina among those who accompanied Abba Kyari to Kogi.’ (I never did). ‘Garba Shehu under self-isolation.’ ‘Buhari may be smuggled out of the country, as condition worsens.’

And by yesterday, a recorded message started circulating on WhatsApp, saying President Buhari had been sneaked out of the country. To where? By who? Their fecund imaginations did not say.

And more Breaking News: ‘Buhari bans journalists from covering Aso Villa.’ (A man supposedly in intensive care was still banning reporters. Lol). ‘Buhari in self-isolation’ (Yet he was in the office on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, even receiving visitors). ‘Aso Villa shut down.’ And the vile beat goes on…

Why do some people conjure nothing but evil? Why do they imagine vain things? In 2017, while President Buhari had his medical challenge, they were on orgy of negative wishes, misinformation, and disinformation. But God pulled a fast one on them. He brought the President back, as right as rain. Haven’t they learned their lessons?

With the good people, however, positive things are happening. Tony Elumelu’s UBA is giving N5 billion to help Nigeria and Africa. Abdusamad Rabiu (BUA) has donated one billion Naira in cash. . Folorunsho Alakija has imported test kits and other materials for Nigerians, worth hundreds of millions of Naira. Aliko Dangote, after an initial donation of N200 million to combat Coronavirus, is leading top bankers and the private sector generally to raise aid. GTBank has donated a 100 beds care center. The Redeemed Christian Church of God has provided ventilators. And many more. These are the people and organizations that should define us as a people, not the conjurers of wickedness and doomsday. God is surely greater than them. And Nigeria too.

Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

BREAKING: Presidency bars media houses from Aso Rock

Aso Rock today barred AIT,Arise TV, STV, Ben TV and other TV and radio stations from covering activities at the Presidential Villa.

Also barred were reporters from Punch, Thisday,Tribune,The Guardian,Vanguard ,Daily Trust and other major newspapers, while a few were allowed to send in their photographers.

A Press Release from Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina stated that the measure was due to Coronavirus which forces a limitation to the number of people expected at a gathering.

Those approved for coverage include Channels TV, NTA, TVC, NAN, Sun, VON, and FRCN.

Photographers include: Thisday, Guardian, Leadership, Vanguard and Daily Trust.

NORTHERN ELDERS FORUM: GENERAL WITHOUT TROOPS

Professor Ango Abdullahi on Sunday signed a long-winding statement on many issues relating to the North, and purportedly to the country.

The former vice chancellor signed the statement under the banner of Northern Elders Forum (NEF).

Hearing that title, you would think the body was a conglomeration of true elders. But the truth is that NEF is just Ango Abdullahi, and Ango Abdullahi is NEF. It is a quasi-organization that boasts of no credible membership, and its leader is akin to a General without troops.
Before the 2019 presidential election, the one-man army called NEF had shown its antipathy against President Muhammadu Buhari, and its preference for another candidate. They all got beaten together.

NEF is merely waving a flag that is at half-mast. President Buhari steadily and steadfastly focuses on the task of retooling Nigeria, and discerning Nigerians know the true state of the nation. They don’t need a paper tiger to tell them anything.

Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media and Publicity)

February 9, 2020

Media Adviser to Buhari, Femi Adesina hosts Jungle Journalist, Time Africa Mag

The Media Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Femi Adesina played host to the publisher of Jungle Journalist Media Limited, ThankGod Ofoelue in his office at Aso Villa, Abuja.

Chidipeters Okorie, who is the publisher of Time Africa Magazine was also a guest to Adesina, who was very glad to welcome fellow journalists.

The trio engaged in robust conversation, which later culminated in a full length interview where the President’s Media Adviser narrated the story of his life and times. By the way, watch out for a mind blowing story from this media soon.

While discussions were on, the team of visitors were delighted to see His Excellency, Governor Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu who just breezed in and exchanged pleasantries with Adesina.

Speaking of the visit on his Facebook page, Adesina wrote:

“HOSTING MY KINSMEN

They are Igbo, I am Yoruba. But we are kinsmen. Members of the pen fraternity.

My pleasure to host at State House, Abuja, ThankGod Ofoelue, who worked with me at The Sun Newspapers (he now runs Jungle Journalist Media Limited), and Chidipeters Okorie, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Time Africa Magazine.

“And what a good time we had. Always a pleasure to see one’s kith and kin” .

More photos from the visit: