FEMI Adesina, the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has said he loved the president because of his strictness.
Adesina said Buhari and his father had a similar trait of being strict.
The Special Adviser explained why he had made himself unreachable to the public through phone calls, except via text messages from only the contacts he had saved on his phone.
He attributed that decision to unnamed individuals who released his phone number online during the 2020 ENDSARS protest. He said he could not use his phone for three days because of calls.
Adesina said he watched all the English Premier League matches despite working for the president, with many responsibilities.
Disclosing how he had kept himself away from social functions, he said he restricted himself to activities on government duties, the church, family and watching football.
He said he was not perturbed by floods of attacks on him from Nigerians, and he would not bother to read any publication castigating him.
Adesina said he would return to journalism at the end of his principal’s tenure and would not contest for any political office.
In an interview with the Saturday Sun, which he posted on his Facebook Page, the president’s spokesperson said he had been endeared to Buhari since he ousted a democratically elected government of President Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983.
Adesina’s worst day ever was when General Ibrahim Babangida ousted General Buhari from office on August 27, 1985.
Until he was appointed Buhari’s spokesperson, Adesina was the Managing Director of the Sun Newspaper. He was also the president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors.
Reminiscing on his late father, a school principal, Adesina said none of his seven sons could walk to meet him on the way. They would go in different directions because of their father’s knack for scolding children, habits Adesina summed up as discipline.
He said of his upbringing, “I grew up in a strict home. My father was a principal who ran the school with iron and steel, and he used the method at home. I remember that people who studied in the school over 50 years ago, when they see me now, they will scream as soon as they discover that I am the son of Mr Adesina, the man who beat the hell out of them when they were in school. They would ask how we survived at home.
“He was a very strict man. We were five boys and two girls. You know how a house can be with five boys: uncontrollable, unless the father was strict.”
Adesina said he later realized in life that his father’s high-handedness was for their good.
In what appears like a reward for his father’s toughness, Adesina was given a job many years later by one of his father’s students when seeking a job at the Lagos State Television, though not before he had been reminded of his father’s toughness.
The former student was an ex-head of the Lagos Radio Services, Jide Adekusibe, of blessed memory.
“When he saw me, he said, ‘you are Mr Adesina’s son.’ He did not only beat the hell out of me, he expelled me,” he recalled.
Adesina returned home to report Adekusibe to his father. The father told him his former student was a rascal.
The man, however, gave him the job where he worked for two years.
Adesina moved on and later worked at the Vanguard and Concord newspapers before becoming the founding editor of the Daily Sun newspaper.