Buhari more popular than Awolowo, Azikiwe, Aminu Kano, others – Adesina

THE Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina has said that the president is the most popular leader in the country.

Adesina said Buhari enjoyed more popularity than any living or late leader, including the late Obafemi AwolowoNnamdi AzikiweMoshood AbiolaShehu ShagariAminu Kano and Bashir Tofa

Leaders in that category include: Murtala MuhammedAguiyi IronsiIbrahim BabangidaErnest ShonekanAbdulsalam AbubakarOlusegun ObasanjoMusa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.

Adesina said this to buttress last week’s remark by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the president. 

Osinbajo had, while addressing top officials of the Nigerian High Commission in London, said that Buhari was possibly the most popular politician the nation had ever had.


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“The president is possibly the most popular Nigerian politician that we ever had in generations. He is possibly the only person who can go into a place or somewhere without bossing people to gather, and they will come and listen to him speak.

“We need that level of credibility to be able to solve problems in our country. And I think because of his level of credibility, despite everything, he is still the only one that can call everyone, and even people, who do not necessarily agree with him know that he is a man of his words,” Osinbajo had said while addressing his hosts on national cohesion.

Adesina latched on to the comments to praise Buhari in his weekly Friday’s article ‘From the Inside.’

He said Buhari did not want anything for himself but the good of the nation.

He said: “I am old enough to have seen our colourful and even swashbuckling politicians in action. I have seen the great Obafemi Awolowo. The charismatic Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik of Africa). Shehu Shagari. Amino Kano. MKO 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 around him as bees do to honey.

“I have been around the country with the president. I have also been to several countries of the world with him. I have not seen any other Nigerian leader, past or present, with his kind of allure, pull, fascination, magnetism.”

He recollected how Nigerians ‘trooped’ out to welcome the president at the Abuja airport when he returned from London, where he received treatment for months in 2017.

Adesina said the crowd that accompanied the president through the Airport Road and the cheers he received among residents of the communities along the Airport Road were the best he had witnessed in the city.

“We entered the vehicles lined up, and the convoy moved. It was perhaps the longest journey I’d ever witnessed from the airport to the town. Where did they come from? Like locusts, they swarmed onto the road, at many times forcing the convoy into a crawl. I didn’t know that such a huge population resided in the communities along the airport road.

“Not induced or procured in any way, the people trooped out in their thousands to welcome the president back home. A multitude of ordinary Nigerians, the ones bearing the brunt of whatever was happening in the country then. They came onto the roads, waving, cheering, heralding the man they loved back into the country. Many times, the convoy was forced to a dead slow, until the president had to wave at them, and they cheered uproariously.”

Meanwhile, Adesina was quick to note that critics would assume that Osinbajo extolled Buhari as a ploy to gain his nod to succeed him.

He did not, however, foreclose the possibility of Osinbajo succeeding his boss. 

He said the vice president would wait on God for instruction and that he was not the type that sought any office by all means.

Contrary to Adesina’s claim, Buhari may not be as popular as he used to be before becoming president in 2015.

Buhari commanded huge followership before 2015, but he appears to have lost a chunk of his popularity, given Nigeria’s rising economic and security crisis under his watch.

Many of his loyalists before the 2015 general elections have become his fierce critics. They attack him openly.

Two of his current leading critics are his former running mate and overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church Tunde Bakare, and his former ally, Buba Galadima.

They have repeatedly rated the president low. 

Bakare had, in February, reportedly said power had changed the president from the person he used to know.

In series of letters and at various public events, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who preferred Buhari to former President Goodluck Jonathan whom the president defeated in 2015, has also accused Buhari of underperformance.

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has regretted voting for the president.

The Arewa Youth Forum, the umbrella body of youths in the North, has also condemned the president and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), for worsening insecurity in the North.

Though some chieftains of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have recently defected to the APC, pundits have said they did so for their political interest and not for their fondness for the president or his party.



    Buhari rode to power on the back of the masses who assumed he would alleviate their burdens.

    But prices of most commodities have doubled within the six years the president has been in power, and insecurity has worsened, especially in the North-West.

    The country has never been divided along ethnic lines as it currently is.

    Agitations for self-determination has grown in the South-East and South-West following alleged marginalisation and nepotism that have characterised the president’s administration.

    Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's The ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022 and has been the organisation's News Editor since September 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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    1. Mr. Adesina, you sound like you also lived with and travelled around the world with all the past presidents and great men you mentioned. Your assertions may be true, but they lack the rational justification that should accompany such. It smacks of spuriousness and stands as a despicable and blatant assault on our national and collective sensitivity. You could have sounded your trumpet without making the comparisons. I come in peace.

    2. Comment:Mr Femi now l know you are very sick upstairs. God will judge you over this your sick statement soonest. Shame on you, idiot.

    3. I agree absolutely with you, Femi. He is more popular than all of them in dividing Nigerian along ethnic lines and in practicing masterly inactivity when thousands are being slaughtered in middle belt, South East and South West. May God have mercy on a cheer sycophant like you.

    4. No!! No!!! Mr Adesina please don’t just give your self up to political sentiments. His Excellency the Vice President is equally wrong.
      Previous leaders of Nigeria had their popularity in, first the nationalistic commitments they had to their various political groupings. The first Republic leaders had used all they had to build their people. Some of them were homeless, some had no foreign bank account, their wives were never seen as 1st wives or ladies, there’s no evidence of them receiving treatment in foreign hospitals, etc etc etc.
      Agree Buhari is popular and has enjoyed mass support of people when the nation was fumbling for an alternative to PDP. However, trending issues in governance has shown that the President has derailed. If free and fair opinion polls (in form of exit poll) is to be taken he’ll be the most unpopular president.
      I know Mr President personally, but I cannot understand how he allowed himself to be lured into this mess of a leadership style.
      Good example; with all the debts and inflation in the country the Vice President is of the opinion that the value of naira is artificial. Has there been any “natural “ rating of any currency? The value of the United States dollar is high because of the global custodies the country has in global trade. Pull that away and give to Central Africa Republic it’s currency will be strong.
      I appreciate the fact that you’re serving under Mr President and I have never seen any serving Nigerian Political Office Holder ever disagreeing with his boss in fear of loosing his office.

    5. Correct, he is popular for every wrong thing… NEPOTISM, COMPLICIT WITH FULANI TERRORISTS, should I continue???


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