Wednesday, 4 January 2017

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

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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'
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'

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
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

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