The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere has faulted the President’s special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina for comparing his principal, Muhammadu Buhari, to Nigeria’s Independence heroes, Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe.
Naija News had reported Adesina as saying,
“I have seen the great Obafemi Awolowo. The charismatic Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik of Africa). Shehu Shagari. Amino Kano. M.K.O Abiola. Bashir Tofa, and many others in action.
“But I have not seen anyone with the kind of attraction, magnetic pull, that Muhammadu Buhari has. And that is round the country, north, and south. People swarm round him as bees do to honey.”
In a statement on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, Afenifere described the comparison as “mischievous and mistaken”, pointing out that people are only attracted to Buhari because he is the President.
According to Ajayi, “For sure – and for various reasons – a person occupying a leadership position is always an attraction anywhere in the world.
“To use the instances cited by the spokesman to gauge the popularity of the President, we can say that those who met him at the airport on his arrival from a medical trip could be in three or more categories.
“Those who genuinely wished him well and were happy to see him back. Those who were there to be really sure that the rumour of his death they heard was not true. And those who always go to any place that people gather – especially when or where a leading figure is or will be present.
“To use the crowd that gathered where President Buhari is not only as a measure of his popularity is erroneous. Admittedly, crowd-pulling can be an indicator of popularity.
“But this is not likely now given the level of mistrust that people have in governments. The mistrust that governments created over the years through its various policies of alienation and disempowerment.
“From the foregoing, it can be stated without equivocation that the majority of the crowd the spokesman talked about would be those curious to see whether their presence and prayers could make Mr President to see that they are suffering and in need of benign policies from the government.
“Comparing President Buhari to Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe therefore is not only mistaken, it is mischievous, to say the least.”