Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, was a guest on Radio Continental, Lagos, Today, August 19,2015. Here are excerpts from the interview.

(OAP stands for On Air Personality, while SA stands for
Special Adviser).
OAP: We have lots of tweets and I wouldn’t be asking
much questions. This is a tweet from Florence
Olumodumi asking President Buhari to publish all
government officials and their phone contacts in public
domain.
I don’t think so… Even Barrister Ubani is shaking his
head.
This is another tweet, “We voted President Buhari
based on his promise, his words should be his bond,
loots should be recovered. What are your thoughts on
that one, Mr Adesina?
SA: Mr. President has re-committed himself to that and
he would recover looted funds. He said monies are
abroad in billions of dollars, and Nigeria will ask the
countries to return them. But those who took out the
money will be tried here in Nigeria. He made that
promise last week and there is no shaking on that one.
OAP: Olarenwaju Akeem is asking what method will
President Buhari’s government use to bring past
corrupt leaders to book? There is too much noise in
the air.
SA: I would say, this is not targeted at anybody but the
President believes that anyone who has questions to
answer should be ready to answer those questions.
After answering the questions, if they are found quilty,
they would be tried.
OAP: I want to ask this, on the appointment of
Ministers, are we still looking at September? I just want
you to say either Yes or No.
SA: Yes is the answer.
OAP: Good. There are issues of these corruption cases
and some of us are really supportive that the
government should go all out, investigate and recover
our stolen monies but people are saying that there is
so much in the air, in newspapers and on the social
media. Some of us are saying that they would rather
want security agents to go all out to find those
culpable and with overwhelming evidence, charge them
to court immediately. We don’t want issue of we will
probe or investigate. Nigerians would rather like to see
action rather than all these. I don’t know what you
have to say.
SA: The President has said that it’s a matter of weeks,
and anybody alleged to have stolen money will appear
in court. We are almost there. And because of the
caliber of those involved, it is also good to prepare the
ground. So that nobody will shout of being unjustly
persecuted.
OAP: Please sir, I want you to bear in mind that almost
96 or 97 per cent of Nigerians are in support of the
President to fight the corruption war. And he should
not at any time be pressured or distracted or
intimidated by the few political elites that have looted
money from our treasury all these while. We may not all
be in Abuja to lend our support but I tell you that all
over the country, the reaction of people on the streets
and on Social media is that they are clearly behind
their President on this fight. And he must not fail
because failure in this regard means that he will lose
the goodwill of most Nigerians that actually elected
him. I just want to chip this in to encourage Mr
President.
SA: I will pass that information across.
OAP: Thank you. Talking about passing information to
Mr President, Gbenga Segun is on Twitter this morning
, and he says Nigerians want Mr President to publicise
his assets within his 100 days. And how sure are you
that President Buhari will make it happen within his
100 days, which is close by?
SA: Well, that is an issue on which statements have
been released. I would rather we leave it at what has
been said, what is in the public domain already. Don’t
also forget from the interview in the Punch newspaper
last Sunday, Chairman of Code of Conduct Bureau said
that assets have not been verified. The forms have
been deposited but yet to be verified.
OAP And why would it take this long to verify?
SA: Well, the Code of Conduct Bureau said it has not
concluded verification yet.
OAP: We don’t want the lethargy of the process to be a
hindrance to the President in declaring his assets
publicly. It is important for some of us who supported
him that these assets must be made public and that of
the Vice President. It is very important for some of us,
because a lot of people have been calling us names,
saying the President made a promise and is not
fulfilling it.
SA: I am sure the President would do the right thing.
OAP: There is the fixed charges issue trending online
and Nigerians are not particularly happy about the
response of NERC’s Dr Sam Amadi. He said that fixed
charges are inevitable. You don’t give light and you
still go ahead to charge. It does not make sense. The
president should intervene on this.
SA: Ministry of Power was in a meeting with the
President last week and I remember that I saw Dr.
Amadi there. I will also pass this across.
OAP: This is from Fashina Taiwo and he says , ” Sir,
will the President include the physically challenged in
his cabinet?
SA: Well, I can’t say definitely, as the president has the
final prerogative on who makes his cabinet. But he
surely cares for the physically challenged.
OAP: I have another tweet from Oluwadare, “What
exactly is the President doing about high electricity bill
and that of NITEL? It is in the news today.
SA: Just yesterday, the President asked of details of
the sale of NITEL when the Ministry of Communication
Technology came on a briefing. The President himself
said that NITEL assets have actually been thrown
away, and that is to show you he is on top of it, ..
OAP: Everyone has a question for the President on
Twitter on corruption , which you have answered. On
our own, I think Barrister Ubani has some questions,
that he may want to ask.
Ubani: The issues of forgery case in the Senate, and
ICPC investigating Mike Okiro ( former IG) and coming
up with an indictment. They said he should return
some money, but exonerated him on administrative
issues. I don’t understand that. And again, the forgery
case of Senate rules, there is a report this morning that
the Ministry of Justice and Police are saying we have
received and not received the reports and all that.
SA: I followed the two matters closely. Yes, I know that
there was a police report on the Senate rules saga, but
we need to wait till charges are filed. But on the ICPC
and former IG, the Ministry of Justice may need to
advise on that.
OAP : There is this tweet from Akinfemiwa Segun,
which says, Sir, what does it take for an ordinary
Nigerian to have a one on one with Mr President.
SA: Good, good! We are working on something that will
make Nigerians to be able to interact with Mr President
from time to time. And when that matures, it will be
unfolded and that person who asked that question will
get the opportunity.
OAP: When the President comes to Lagos, will you
bring him to Radio Continental?
SA: Don’t be surprised that Mr President may just show
up (General laughter) .
OAP: You have worked with the President for a while
now, what is it like, being there?
SA: I would say it is awesome! You know , for me, I see
it as a national assignment. I came from a job that
you would call a comfort zone and I had to leave that
to work here. I will tell you that I am happy doing it
and as I see things unfolding in the country, I am
quite glad because those are the things I’d always
wanted to see.
OAP: Does the President entertain your arguments, as
his Special Adviser?
SA: Do you know on my first day of resumption, that
was what he told me. The President said ” Please, tell
me the truth always. I am a General, I may argue, but
please argue with me. ”
More laughter
OAP: That is a good one.
SA: Since I have that opportunity, I have always
argued with him, as necessary.
OAP ; Beautiful, beautiful. Abraham Lanre Sule is
asking on Twitter, what is Mr President doing on
education and teachers’ welfare.
SA: Yes, we have a timeline of September for
government to be fully formed. All those will be looked
into.
OAP: We will take two questions finally. This one is
from Ayo Sobiye ,”Has the President started building
new prisons?”
Cuts in…Adesina’s throaty laughter
SA: The President is not after keeping people in prisons
rather, he is interested in keeping them out of prisons.
OAP : Owolabi Akande says, “Mr Adesina, how can
someone who has valuable information to pass to the
President go about it?”
SA: Oh! That is why my numbers are open, my email is
there too. I have not changed my numbers because we
need to interface with the public. At times, my phones
ring round the clock and I do pick. But if I don’t pick, it
could only mean that I am with the President or at an
area in the Villa where service is poor, that is when you
can’t get me. One good thing about the president is
that once you pass a document to him, he reads it
instantly, he does not take and keep aside. It has
happened severally.
OAP : Thank you so much sir for joining us this
morning.
SA: The pleasure is mine. Thank you.

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