Mr Femi Adesina, former Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, disclosed how his principal told him he did not know where he was when he was seriously ill.
In his book titled ‘Working with Buhari: Reflections of a Special Adviser, Media and Publicity (2015 – 2023)’, Adesina recounts a visit to Buhari in London in 2017, during which the former president admitted to not knowing his whereabouts at a point due to his illness.
Adesina revealed that there were demands for him to declare the president incapacitated and unfit for office.
The visit, which was organized by Aisha Buhari, the former first lady, was aimed at providing clarity and firsthand information about Buhari’s condition.
Adesina said: “I was under a lot of barrage, particularly from the media, which expected me to declare the President either incapacitated, or dead. Waoh!.
“There was this significant development, which saw us visiting the President in London, August 12, 2017. The team included the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, myself, Garba Shehu, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman Nigeria Diaspora Commission, and Lauretta Onochie, Personal Aide to the President on Social Media.
“The brain behind the visit was the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari. We spoke sparingly; but that day when the trip was being planned, my phone rang, and it was her. After exchange of pleasantries, she said: ‘My husband is not terminally ill. He is just stressed and overworked. I have been warning on it since last year.
“All he needs is rest. I spent 9 days with him, before returning to attend to some women projects. The children are with him. I think you should visit him too. You can’t be speaking for him without seeing him.’ And that was how the visit was arranged, at the behest of the First Lady.
“Let me add that myself and Garba Shehu had made requests to visit earlier, through the office of the Chief of Staff.
“But it was understandable that it was not possible, particularly when the President was at a time struggling for life. It was during that London meeting that he told me: ‘At a point, I did not even know where I was’.
“Serious. Very serious. Those criticising that the media aides were shut out, was it at such a time we were needed? To do what? To use our pens to conduct diagnosis and write prescriptions? Easy, easy does it.”