- Thanks Adesina for defending him ‘against mischief makers’
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said yesterday that he had spoken with President Muhammadu Buhari, in the first publicised verbal communication between him and his spokesman since the president embarked on a medical vacation on January 19.
Adesina said Buhari called him at 2.43pm yesterday.
Details of the call were posted by Adesina on his Facebook page.
The president’s spokesman stated, “At exactly 2.43 pm today, Saturday, February 25, 2017, my phone rang. Who was at the other end? Tunde Sabiu, personal assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari.
‘”Hold on for Mr President,’ Tunde said.
“And in a matter of seconds, the very familiar voice came: ‘Femi, how are you?’ (He calls me Adesina most times, but today, he opted for Femi)
“I screamed, Mr President, I have missed you. How are you sir?
“He first laughed. That familiar laugh. Then he said, ‘I am still resting. Thank you for holding out against mischief-makers.’
“I said it was my duty, the very least I could do, adding how happy I was to speak with him.
“’How is your family?’
“I said we were fine, and he asked me to extend his greetings to them.
“’I hope to call you again,’ Mr President said, and I bade him farewell, adding: “Best wishes, sir.”
“It was a defining moment for me. For more than a month, I had always spoken with aides who are with the president in London.
“Not once did I ask them to take the phone to him, deliberately so, because I didn’t need to speak with him to validate the fact that he was alive. And since he was on vacation, he had a right to his privacy.
“Of his own volition, President Buhari spoke with me. It made my day. Even if he hadn’t done so, he would have remained my president, my leader, and my man. Any day.”
Buhari is on medical vacation in London, and there has been widespread speculation about his health.
Meanwhile, Buhari’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, has narrated how he missed the president’s phone call yesterday. Shehu stated yesterday on his Facebook page that said the president originated a call to him from London after he had spoken with some members of the presidential media team. But he missed the call.
Shehu, however, revealed that he received a text message from the president. He said the president had earlier spoken with the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and Adesina.
Shehu stated, “A day for the presidential media team. We are thankful to the president, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), for sparing the time to make calls to the media team.
“The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, and the special adviser, Femi Adesina, responded to the calls, exchanged greetings and thanked him for calling.
“I had an SMS from him thereafter because I missed my call! I humbly join them to say thank you, Baba Buhari!!
“We are together with other Nigerians of all faiths, in praying for his safe return.”
Buhari proceeded on a 10-day vacation on January 19. In a letter he transmitted to both arms of the National Assembly, the president said in his absence Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would act as president. But he later extended his stay indefinitely via another letter to the Senate requesting an extension of time to enable him complete his medical check-up in London.