LAGOS, JULY 18, 2016 – Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, says it is not every time that the President Muhammadu Buhari has to consider federal character while making appointments.Buhari’s appointments have been generating controversy, with some Nigerians accusing him of favouring the north above other regions.
But speaking when he appeared as a guest on Sunday Politics, a programme on Channels Television, Adesina defended his boss, but said “every other part of the country would be taken care of”.
“There are some (appointments) that are not necessarily subject to federal character,” he said.
He admitted that the appointments are indeed more in some regions, explaining the selection of security chiefs is peculiar because hierarchy has to be followed.
“When it is the turn of a person to hold a certain office and you say because he is from a certain region you then bypass him for another person, you have been unfair to that person and also to the system,” he said.
“The security system often times operates on hierarchy and efficiency. So if you have a senior person who is also efficient and because he comes from a certain region, you bypass him, I think you are being unjust and unfair to somebody.”
Adesina also said it was unfair to accuse the president of not making enough comments about issues that concern Nigerians, but responding quickly to international matters.
Emphasising that the life of every Nigerian matters to the president, Adesina said Buhari does not fail to act when the need arises.
“It amazes me when people say they have not heard on this and that. What they expect is that the president will come out personally to talk on those things, which I don’t think is the thing to do,” he said.
“Why does the president have aides? Why does he have ministers? Why do we have officials in government? When they have spoken on those issues, I think we should consider that government has spoken on them.
“Yes, the president may have not adopted the style of other leaders, but the life of every Nigerian is precious to him.”
Citing instances when he felt the president ought to have spoken to Nigerians, but he failed to, Seun Okinbaloye, anchor of the programme, asked Adesina if Buhari will be more engaging in the days ahead, to which the presidential spokesman said: “The president will do what is right and proper at all times.”
He attributed the slow implementation of the 2016 to the crisis in the Niger Delta region, saying the economy has been largely affected.
Adesina said negotiations with the militants had commenced in order to find lasting solution to the hostilities in the region.
“Yes the budget has been passed. The intention is to implement that budget as much as possible but then the circumstances are making it difficult because projections are not being met because of what is happening in the Niger Delta and other parts of the economy,” he said.
“But as much as possible the government would still adhere to that project as much as revenue will permit and allow.
“Every option is on the table. There was never a time anything was ruled out. All the options were on the table. You will recall that when some south-south leaders visited the president led by King Alfred Diete-Spiff, he also disclosed that he had encouraged the security agencies to dialogue with the militant and the leadership of that region. So, there was never a time that anything was ruled out dialogue.”