Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, says his principal has listening ears and is tolerant of criticisms.Adesina said there have been occasions when President Muhammadu Buhari had to see things from his own perspective.
In an interview with Abuja-based magazine Abuja Weekender, the presidential spokesman admitted that the job has been challenging but said he will gladly work with Buhari if given another opportunity.
“The first day I assumed work, he told me, ‘Welcome to Sambisa house’. He also told me, ‘Make sure you always tell me the truth. You know I can argue. I am a general. But if I argue, argue with me,’” Adesina said.
“There are certain things I have had to take him up on, and we discussed them. At the end of the day, he would either see it from my perspective or I would see it from his perspective.
“But one thing is that yes, we can discuss; we can argue. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that is out of bounds. I can discuss anything with him. I have taken him up on a number of things and as we go along, if there is anything I feel we should discuss, I will not hesitate to raise it with him.”
Reacting to complaints on the pace of the government, Adesina said the president was taking his time in order to make significant difference in the end.
“The people want speed that could lead to disorderliness but no, he wants to take things gradually” he said.
“He came in on a four-year mandate – clear 48 months. He has spent just four months, so he still has about 36 months,” he said.
“He can pace himself properly. It is like somebody running a long distance race compared to somebody doing a 100 meters dash. If you approach a long distance race with the attitude of a 100 meters dash, you will burn out. But when you know it’s a long distance race, you’ll pace yourself properly so you last the distance.
“Don’t forget that line in the 1st October broadcast where he said ‘…order is better than speed’. I think that should be a quotable quote for all Nigerians.
“As we speak now, we know ministers are being screened. I think that is like the last scene of the preparatory stage where we have been since June. It is like a period of cleaning the Augean Stable. It will not get cleaned completely in four months but he has done a bit of it.
“When you land and you land in mud, you can’t run immediately; you do some clearing. The president has cleared parts of the murk he met and the ministers can come in onto firmer ground.”