President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday night gave reasons why he prevented his Special Adviser on Media and publicity, Femi Adesina, from responding to an attack on him by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Obasanjo in January had issued a statement criticising Buhari’s administration and advising him not to recontest in 2019.
Receiving members of the Buhari Support Organisation at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Buhari said that he stopped Adesina from replying Obasanjo’s letter on account of Adesina’s age and the need to uphold respect for elders.
According to him, the second reason was that himself and the former President were from the same (military) constituency.
Buhari however said Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed, “disobeyed” him on the same issue by responding to Obasanjo’s letter and did a good job of it.
“We were constrained to explain our position when the former head of state wrote a letter. Adesina, my Special Adviser on Media, was agitated and wanted to immediately reply. I stopped him for two reasons; firstly, he was much younger than both myself and Gen. Obasanjo,” he said.
“Secondly, we came from the same constituency with Gen. Obasanjo. So, I wouldn’t know how it would affect him if I allowed him to go wild or to go public. But when Lai Mohammed came I said he shouldn’t.He insisted, he said `no’. He disobeyed me.
“He said I must allow him to talk. Then, of course being a professional information person I listened to him and asked him what are you going to say? He said he was going to remind Nigerians where we found ourselves when we came in as government, where we are now, what we have done in between with the resources available to us.
“And I understand he did a good job because a number of people rang me and said Lai Mohammed has done a good job because I went public several times.
“I said it is on record and I challenged anybody to check from Europe, United States and Asia that between 1999 and 2014 the 16 years of previous administration there was an average production of (crude oil) was 2.1 million per day at the average cost of 100 dollars per barrel. This can be checked in these continents.”
The President said he deliberately refused to replace Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele when his administration took over the mantle of leadership of the country in May 2015 because he wanted to give him the opportunity to salvage the economy from its terrible condition.