President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has described his principal as a stingy but generous man.
Adesina said Buhari does not throw money at things or allow misappropriation of public funds like former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
In a statement titled “Buhari at 79: Lessons, we’ve learnt from him,” Adesina, however, said the President knows how to give when necessary.
According to Adesina: “The President lives in a modest house in Daura, Katsina State, unlike Obasanjo who owns a 50-bedroom hilltop mansion, presidential libraries.
“Honesty is the best policy,’ I can recall my father, that great educationist, drumming it into the ears of his children daily. And he lived it, showing us an example. Today, I’ve seen another honest man, the Mai Gaskiya.
“He has been everything possible, held positions which could have made him stinking rich: Governor of a territory which now covers six states. Minister of Petroleum for over three years. Head of State. Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund, with billions of naira in his care.
“A civilian President, running out his second term of four years each, in another 17 months. And yet he remains a man of modest means. Let me tell you a story. Have you been to the Buhari home in Daura? Modest, modest, modest, is what the structure shouts at you, as you approach.
“The furnishing; modest. The locale itself; modest. The appurtenances; modest.
“It is said that President Buhari had used a carpet in that house for almost 20 years. He knew every bit of furniture and fittings like the back of his hands. And then, one day, in his first term as President, he visited home, and a new carpet was in place. Who changed my carpet?
“That was the first question he asked, as he stepped into the house? Imagine the President of Africa’s most powerful country, the largest economy on the continent, having time to ask about a carpet that had become old and threadbare? But that is Muhammadu Buhari for you. Simple man, if ever there was one
“We know of the 50 bedroom hilltop mansion (even if slightly exaggerated) where his former colleagues live. And we know of presidential libraries and other mansions built by somebody else, through what Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, called “executive extortionism.” But not all these trappings for Buhari. Scant regards for material things, what I recall my father describing as “shadows of life.”
“Stingy but generous. President Buhari is very thrifty. He does not throw money at things, and as his media adviser, I can tell you. He even pokes fun at himself, saying; “don’t you know I’m very stingy?”
“True. He doesn’t waste public money. He won’t misappropriate, and neither would he let you, if he knows about it. But when he needs to give, he does. I have personal experiences, which I’ve related before. I won’t repeat them, lest some people ask me to bring part of it, as they’ve done before. Lol.”