The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), inherited a “terribly” divided country from his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, in 2015.
He said Nigeria had always been divided and there was nothing special about the comments made by Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Adesina, who is the President’s most senior spokesman, said this on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme on Wednesday.
He said in a country of 200 million people, it would be impossible for everyone to agree and perceive things the same way.
The President’s aide added that not every criticism should give cause for concern.
Adesina stated, “Nigeria had always been divided. Always. Right from amalgamation in 1914, Nigeria has always been divided. Nigeria is an inconvenient amalgamation but we have worked at it and I tell you that there is no time in the history of this country that the country was not divided but then we had kept at it and we were trying to make it work.
“As of 2015, when President Buhari came, Nigeria was terribly, terribly divided; divided along religious lines, divided along ethnic lines; divided along language, divided hopelessly, terribly and that is the division that the President had been working at. But you see that a lot of people instead of letting harmony return to this country, thrive and luxuriate in widening the gulf. They play politics with everything.”
He said although the government would continue to respect Soyinka as a Nobel Laureate it would not accept everything he says.
Adesina said Soyinka had been a government critic for decades and had even criticised Buhari when he was a military head of state in the 1980s.
The President’s aide said in 2015, Soyinka did not support Buhari but only tagged him as slightly better than Jonathan.
As regards criticisms fired at Buhari by Obasanjo, Adesina said it seemed the former President was still upset that Buhari won the election despite his opposition to his bid to run for a second term.
He said Obasanjo had been critical of every past government and so his recent statement would not bother the Presidency.
“There is no government he has not criticised. The only government he has not criticised is the Olusegun Obasanjo government. So, that kind of person has a right to air his opinion and you also have a right to take it or not to take it,” Adesina said.