The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, on June 18, 2019, appointed a renowned Ibadan based journalist and columnist, Festus Adedayo, as his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity. His appointment was greeted with massive disapproval and outrage by the All Progressive Congress (APC) stakeholders.
The APC stakeholders tweeted a video of their protest where they accused Lawan of rewarding President Buhari’s enemies. “No doubt, the appointments are glaring reward for people who have not only insulted the person of President Muhammadu Buhari but also severally maligned the integrity of the office he occupies,” their spokesman, Andrew, raged.
Giving a voice to the protest of the stakeholders, on June 20, 2019, the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, on her verified Twitter account, tweeted the protest video of the group with a caption: “You cannot drive an agenda with people who don’t believe in that agenda…how will you achieve your purpose if you bring in people who fought against your agenda.”
Afterwards, Twitter was set on fire with the hashtag #sackFestusAdedayo.
The Buhari Media Organisation did not miss out in expressing their dissatisfaction over Adedayo’s appointment. In a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, the group said: “In fact, were surprised that Adedayo would consider, let alone accept, an appointment under the APC after all he had done to denigrate and diminish the party before, during and after the February elections.”
These negative reactions that trailed Adedayo’s appointment were based on the fact that he had been a strong and harsh critic of President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration in most of his opinion articles which were published in some newspapers.
Bowing to pressure, Lawan withdrew the appointment which had barely lasted for 48 hours. However, a couple of hours after the withdrawal of his appointment – on June 20, 2019 – he (Adedayo) posted an article on his Facebook page titled The Festus Adedayo they thought they could pull down where he admitted to being President Buhari’s critic. “Of a truth, I am a venomous critic of President Muhammadu Buhari, with no apologies,” he wrote.
John Chukwu of Ripples Nigeria takes a look at 9 ‘reckless’ attacks Adedayo unleashed on President Buhari, and the APC administration, in his opinion articles.
1. Buhari is incompetent
In The Buhari/Punch Tango, his opinion article, published on September 9, 2018, Adedayo alleged that President Buhari was not capable of governing the country. “Fixated on corruption as the sole key to bailing out the country from its current stasis, the Buhari government has even been grossly deficient in carrying out this self-imposed task,” he wrote.
He also claimed that the Buhari-led administration was in support of the killings and destruction of property by herdsmen. “Its covert support for the murderous herders has become a tale in the rank of a legend,” he wrote.
2. Buhari hardly makes sense while speaking
In his opinion article with the title: Buhari’s WAEC Certificate Home Delivery and El-Zakzaky, published on November 4, 2018, he wrote: “It is also a shame that, almost 60 years after Nigeria produced a Prime Minister in the person of Tafawa Balewa who went on a visit to the United States and was given a rousing ovation due to his brilliant, cerebral ex-tempore speech and a Sardauna of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello whose Queens English was so impeccable that you would fall in love with his diction, we could be saddled with a Buhari, from the same Northern region, who barely makes sense while making speeches and exhibits absolute vacuity in his discourse.”
3. Buhari is like a cartoon character
In his opinion article: Buhari the dead and his body double, that was published on November 18, 2018, Adedayo stated that President Buhari was withdrawn in all fronts and, therefore, was like Fido Dido, a cartoon character. The article was in support of the alleged statement by USA President, Donald Trump, claiming that President Buhari is lifeless.
“The Buhari of today lacks grit, is most time askance, disinterested in virtually everything, unnaturally withdrawn, with a receding memory and acts like one being propelled like the cartoon character, Fido Dido.
“Except the humour he is said to inject into discussions today, you cannot but agree with that snide comment allegedly made by America’s Donald Trump that the figure he saw in Buhari was lifeless,” he wrote.
4. Like a despot, Buhari is desperate for a second term
Onnoghen’s sack as Buhari’s embrace of Laurent Gbagbo, his opinion article, published on January 27, 2019 criticised the President’s removal of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
He wrote: “But, Buhari does not have the constitutional power to sack him (Onnoghen). This Onnoghen sack has even done more. It has shown that Buhari is as desperate as any despot the world over.”
He added: “Buhari’s recourse to spitting on the constitution he swore to uphold, his desperation for a second term., as well as that of the hawks surrounding him – in whose veins blood does not flow – will certainly drag Nigeria towards Cote d’Ivoire and land Buhari on the laps of Gbagbo.”
5. Buhari has low mental capacity
Adedayo, in his opinion article published on February 3, 2019, titled: Soyinka, Atiku and fruits of the poisonous tree, asserted that the President is blank and does not have the mental capacity to lead a diversified country like Nigeria.
“As things stand today, no one can claim to know what Buhari stands for and what is inside of him other than that expired shibboleth of kwaraption. He does not talk to the Nigerian people and his minders have conveniently shielded him from scrutiny of the people who voted him into office.
“This was why, at an earlier edition of this same Kadaria interview, Nigerians were thoroughly shocked and dejected that a man of such degenerative mental capacity is one administering this complex country,” he wrote.
6. Tinubu is the cause of political disunity in the South-west
South-west’s fatal leap, one of his opinion articles published on March 3, 2019, accused the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, of being the reason for the political disunity in the South-west geopolitical zone which according to him; was more pronounced in the voter apathy seen in the zone during the last presidential election.
“Asiwaju is the architect of this destructive political dissonance in the West today and should be held culpable for its dwindling lot. He sowed the seed of this discord right there in Ondo State in the 2016 gubernatorial election,” he wrote.
He also took an indirect swipe at Tinubu when he added: “Their own bequeathals are the legacy of bullion vans parked by the frontage of their home and the self-peacocking boast that a state doesn’t have their kind of personal ill-gotten wealth.”
7. Northern leaders are irresponsible
In his opinion article: Nigeria and violent revolt of the Almajiri, published on May 5, 2019, Adedayo posited that the banditry in the North, as seen in Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina States etc, which has caused the loss of lives and property, was an aftermath of the irresponsible leadership of Northern leaders.
“Nigeria is in this banditry mess due to the irresponsible and subjugating leadership of northern leaders since amalgamation,” he wrote.
He also accused the Almajiri system of producing the bandits. “Over the years, the system has produced hardened criminals, outlaws, prostitutes, cultists, terrorists. They are drafted into insurgency at the flick of a finger and are the bandits of today terrorizing Nigeria and who are no longer content with the dole outs of food left-over from society,” he wrote.
8. Buhari cannot ensure peace in Nigeria
Can’t we outsource Nigeria to Miyetti Allah? This is another of Adedayo’s opinion article, published on May 12, 2019. In this article, he averred that President Buhari was incapable of ensuring peace in the country because he, allegedly, was pandering to the murderous instincts of herdsmen by sending a delegation to meet with the National Leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, (MACBAN) in Birnin-Kebbi, capital of Kebbi State in a bid to engage them.
“The most painful implication of this negotiation with Miyetti Allah is that Buhari is openly raising his arms in the sky in surrender as affirmation of his inability or incapability to ensure peace in the country,” he wrote.
9. Buhari legitimizes herdsmen’s killings
In another of Adedayo’s article, Who will be Nigeria’s last President? published on May 26, 2019, he accused Buhari of making herdsmen’s killings lawful and criticized the federal government’s decision to establish a radio station for the herdsmen. “Miyetti Allah and its herder compatriots were killing Nigerians in their hundreds and Buhari was concocting all manner of theories to legitimize their onslaughts; nobody spoke,” he wrote.
He also hinted that Nigeria may break up after President Buhari’s second term: “I have this hunch that by the time President Muhammadu Buhari leaves office after his second term, there may either be no Nigeria as properly so called or the nagging questions of our existence would have led to the ultimate violent resolution of our identity and leadership crises,” he wrote.