When President Muhammadu Buhari accepted the mantle of leadership of Nigeria in 2015, it was with a mindset focused on transforming Nigeria and uniting all her people for positive national building action. Prior to that, Nigeria was broken and there was need for a renewed effort at national cohesion and consensus building. In pushing to achieve purpose, President Muhammadu Buhari looked towards the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), a professional association of Nigerian editors, to pick their president, Femi Adesina, an erudite newspaper man, who rose from the ranks to become one of the biggest names in Nigeria’s media space, to lead the charge in creating a narrative that would relaunch nigeria into a glorious era.
Adesina’s ascendancy to an office vacated by his friend, Reuben Abati, was of huge significance. He had before him a nation reeking from the effects of broken nationalism to help rebuild. In discharging the functions of that office, Adesina has brought to bear his deep experience in managing information and driving change through positive narrative. In doing this, Adesina comes across as a viable link in the chain that has kept the narrative about the Buhari presidency coming positive. With his deep contacts within the media circles, Adesina, a quiet and deeply reflective fellow, was able to pull the media along towards helping President Buhari to change Nigeria for the better.
At the heart of changing the narrative on Nigeria and driving a new understanding for nation building, the media has come across as being very critical. The role of the media has remained constant. This is such that even when the opposition drives a narrative that goes to denigrate the purpose and vision of government, Adesina has been found to be in the middle managing the situation and helping the media gain better understanding of issues and trends affecting the Buhari presidency.
Though many see Adesina as a personal friend of the President, the friendship has however been one driven by professionalism and deep respect for the opposition view. This was exemplified openly when Adesina held the reigns at The Sun Newspapers. While he deployed his skills in marketing Buhari to the voting public, he also refused to use his powers to foreclose divergent views about the candidate. By allowing that, Adesina helped to create a very healthy rivalry and understanding at The Sun, which in essence, enhanced the professionalism of the newspaper and its writers. Somehow, the newspaper has been the utmost beneficiary of that singular leadership charge by Adesina.
That understanding has been with Adesina since he assumed office as official spokesman of the president. Though he is within official ranks where he could throw his weight around in forcing media owners and operators to come down hard on writers and reporters who share opposing views, or who had deployed their skills to drawing negative, and often dangerous and nationally injurious narratives, Adesina has rather remined truly professional in the discharge of his office. rather, he opened up his office to become a rallying point for all Nigerians who seek genuine information, and education, on the real issues involved in President Buhari’s administration. He is neither combative nor combustive and is in perfect control of his emotions.
Deeply detribalized, Adesina epitomizes loyalty and honesty. Not known to fight for anything, Adesina rather allows the true love of God to radiate through him touching all who genuinely search for meaning. I have been to his office on several occasions and can confirm that he knows no tribe nor religion when he is called upon. This is a quality that has earned him the respect of so many people who have interacted with him. That is why I believe that President Buhari was deeply insightful when he pointed at Adesina as his spokesman.
As President Buhari works his team for the challenges of the ‘Next Level’, he ought to retain Adesina and empower him more to deliver on the task he began in 2015. The implication of this is that Adesina is ably suited to understand the nuances of the Buhari administration and is intellectually gifted to interpret and translate same to understandable nuggets for the public. This is what Buhari now needs as he seeks to take more Nigerians out of poverty by the run of his tenure. Having worked with Buhari since 2015, Adesina has more than a perfect understanding of the president and is in a better position to translate even his body language for Nigerians.
This, I suppose, is what defines Adesina as a super media and communication guru in the Buhari administration. The Next Level, for him, will be to deploy advantages he has had working as a media practitioner in the past three decades, to strengthen the Buhari persona, re-emphasizing the human side of the president. Adesina, an incorruptible media guru that is not given to foul means, remains a veritable link that had glued the media and the presidency, creating a better appreciation of the value and import of Buhari’s policies.
Ikejiani is the publisher of Amoi and a promoter of the diversification policies of government.