The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina has described his principal, Muhammadu Buhari as a stingy but generous man.
Adesina disclosed this in a statement to celebrate Buhari’s birthday titled “BUHARI AT 79: LESSONS WE’VE LEARNT FROM HIM” posted on his Facebook page.
According to him, the President does not throw money at things or allow misappropriation of public funds but knows how to give when necessary.
Adesina also took a swipe at two former Nigerian leaders, Ibrahim Babangida and Olusegun Obasanjo.
Though he never mentioned their names, he noted that while Buhari lives in a modest house in Daura, both Babangida and Obasanjo own massive hilltop mansion. While Nigeria’s Former dictator, Babangida is said to have a 50-bedroom hilltop mansion in Minna he retired to after leaving office, Obasanjo retired to a 32-bendroom hilltop mansion. Obasanjo also has a presidential library.
“Let me tell you a story. Have you been to the Buhari home in Daura? Modest, modest, modest, is what the structure shouts at you, as you approach. The furnishing; modest. The locale itself; modest. The appurtenances; modest,” Adesina said.
“It is said that President Buhari had used a carpet in that house for almost 20 years. He knew every bit of furniture and fittings like the back of his hands. And then, one day, in his first term as President, he visited home, and a new carpet was in place.
“Who changed my carpet? That was the first question he asked, as he stepped into the house? Imagine the President of Africa’s most powerful country, the largest economy on the continent, having time to ask about a carpet that had become old and threadbare? But that is Muhammadu Buhari for you. Simple man, if ever there was one.
“We know of the 50 bedroom hilltop mansion (even if slightly exaggerated) where his former colleagues live. And we know of presidential libraries and other mansions built by somebody else, through what Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, called ‘executive extortionism.’ But not all these trappings for Buhari. Scant regards for material things, what I recall my father describing as ‘shadows of life.'”
“Devout. Faithful and committed to his God. That is Muhammadu Buhari. Some people, who have not attained one-third of the heights he reached, would already have their shoulders permanently up, kicking at God, saying: “Is this not the great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” (Daniel 4: 29, 30). Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
He added, “You can argue with him. He listens, and is humble enough to change his mind and position. And he would tell you: ‘You are very right,’ adding: ‘My good God!’ And he laughs.
“Stingy but generous. President Buhari is very thrifty. He does not throw money at things, and as his media adviser, I can tell you. He even pokes fun at himself, saying; ‘don’t you know I’m very stingy?’
“True. He doesn’t waste public money. He won’t misappropriate, and neither would he let you, if he knows about it. But when he needs to give, he does. I have personal experiences, which I’ve related before. I won’t repeat them, lest some people ask me to bring part of it, as they’ve done before. Lol.
“No bigotry. He’s a Muslim who loves and respects other religions. Part of the de-marketing against him over the years is that he wants to Islamize the country.
“Really? Then he should start with me, and his other Christian aides. And his Vice President, a pastor. He should urge us to embrace Islam. Has it happened? Not even a whiff of it. When it is time for Christian festivals, Easter, Christmas, he’s the one who tells Christians working with him: “Take some time off. Spend the season with your family.” Bigot? I hear.
“What of his compassion, his love for the lowly. I remember 2015, in the early days of the Administration. Someone had said at the cabinet meeting that the civil service was bloated, and it could be time to cut the size by half.
“The President listened patiently and then said: ‘I agree with you. But times are hard enough, and if it lies in my power, I won’t want to see even one person lose his or her job.’ And so it remains.
“The lessons are plenty. The man has a mind of his own. That’s why I laugh when they say a cabal is controlling him. Yes, he delegates a lot, but to abdicate responsibilities? He takes decisions, and he’s not even afraid of taking tough ones.”