Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media to President Muhammadu Buhari, has described how his principal joked about the coup that led to his ouster as Nigeria’s Head of State.
Buhari took over power after the military coup of December 31, 1983 saw to the sack of elected government of President Shehu Shagari.
In 1985, another coup d’état, on August 27, led by the Chief of Army Staff, General Ibrahim Babangida, overthrew Buhari.
In an article titled ‘PMB at 77: ‘Please tell Baba we are with him all the way’, in commemoration of the president’s birthday on December 17, Adesina recalled how Buhari referred to the episode in 2015 when he replaced Service Chiefs.
“Let me say this, with the presumed permission of the President. He kept the Service Chiefs he inherited in 2015 for a couple of months. And when it was time to let them go, he sent for me one afternoon. He gave me the names of the new appointees, and told me not to announce till the next day.
“I have informed the outgoing Service Chiefs some minutes ago. But I don’t want their families to hear the news over radio or television. I want them to get home, and break the news themselves,” the President said.
“I told him we would not be able to keep the news under wraps till the next day, that it should rather be announced immediately. He looked at me, laughed, and said: “You have not been sacked before. That’s why you are talking that way. Me, I’ve been sacked from office before, and I know how it feels.” We laughed.
“When the chief executive of a major corporation was also going to be replaced, he gave me the new name, and said I should not announce for an hour or two, so that the outgoing man would have received his letter, and not hear it from the media.
“On this auspicious day, I celebrate our President. Cynics and scoffers would say why won’t you applaud him since you are part of the largesse of office. Yes, I hold office under the President, but I am yet to see the largesse. Maybe tomorrow. Or day after.”