The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, has revealed why Governor Ayodele Fayose was not among those selected to visit ailing President Buhari.
Adesina, during a press conference at the Presidential Villa, Abuja with the Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande in attendance said, “The visit is a goodwill visit and there is nothing more than that.”
“I believe Nigerians in various positions have yearned to go and meet the President and at some point, this obviously has not been permitted.”
“But given the change in circumstances, you can see that it is coming from London itself and the President is welcoming it.”
“It is a goodwill visit. As a cultural people, we visit people leaving hospital and I am sure the President himself will be delighted to see people coming from the six geopolitical zones to convey the goodwill of Nigerians.”
Shehu said the visiting team would be led by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulazeez Yari.
On why the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, a strong critic of Buhari, was not included in the delegation, Adesina said the question should be directed to the NGF that did the selection.
Adesina also said the President preferred such visits to broadcasting a message to Nigerians
He said, “It is a question of what he (the President) prefers and this is what he prefers for now. He would rather receive that delegation and that is what is happening. If the President opts for address, he will do it.”
When asked why members of the President’s Media team were not part of the delegation, Shehu said the President’s Personal Photographer, Bayo Omoboriowo, would be part of the delegation.
About the pictures taken, Adesina said, “They say a picture conveys more than a thousand words. Bayo will be there and I think it will be more beneficial to Nigerians than if the Special Adviser was on that trip without a cameraman.”
About the timing of the visit, Adesina also justified the visits at a time when the President is said to be recuperating.
He said, “It is the right time for the visit like Mallam Garba said earlier. When somebody has recovered or something or the other happened, it is in our culture for us to visit such a person.
“So, this is the right time because the news is that he is recovering and recovering well.”
When again asked the specific time Buhari would return and if there would be cabinet reshuffle on his return, Adesina said, “That (the President’s date) already is in public domain. He will come back when the doctors certify.”
“It is in the letter he wrote to the AU chairman which was made public this afternoon. He said he was just waiting for his doctors to tell him all is well and then he will return home.”
“In terms of whether there will be a shake-up of government or not, the President is the head of the government and is his prerogative; so nobody can speak for him on that.”