The Presidency has replied to Punch Newspaper editorial that says the national newspaper would henceforth stop addressing President Muhammadu Buhari by his civil title instead it will revert to his military title.
In an editorial on 11 December, Punch explained that the actions of the President and his disregard for court rulings and rule of law are reasons why he should not be addressed as President.
The newspaper also said it would address Nigeria’s democracy under Buhari as a regime because the President has carried on like a military dictator.
Responding to the editorial of Punch, Special Adviser on media and publicity to President, Femi Adesina said it was okay for the newspaper to address him as a Major General because he earned the title.
In a press statement, he wrote, “If you decide to call him Major General, he wasn’t dashed the rank, he earned it.
“A newspaper says it will henceforth address President Muhammadu Buhari by his military rank of Major General. Nothing untoward in it. It is a rank the President attained by dint of hard work before he retired from the Nigerian Army. And today, constitutionally, he’s also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“All over the world, just as in our country, a large number of retired military officers are now democrats. It does not make those who didn’t pass through military service better democrats than them.
“Rather than being pejorative, addressing President Buhari by his military rank is another testimony to free speech and freedom of the press, which this administration (or regime, if anyone prefers: it’s a matter of semantics) has pledged to uphold and preserve.”
If you decide to call him Major General, he wasn’t dashed the rank, he earned it. So, you are not completely out of order. The fact that you can do so is even another testimony to press freedom in Nigeria.
— Femi Adesina (@FemAdesina) December 11, 2019
The editorial titled, Buhari’s lawlessness: Our stand reads in part:
“The entire country and a global audience are rightly scandalised by the unfolding saga over Omoyele Sowore and the unruliness of the SSS and the government; but it is only a pattern, a reflection of the serial disregard of the Buhari regime for human rights and its battering of other arms of government and our democratic institutions.
“PUNCH views this tendency and its recent escalation with serious concern, knowing as the great thinker, Edmund Burke, said that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
“Nigeria had trod a path, a veritable obstacle course, where repression, especially under military jackboots, was a malignant presence and this attracted heroic resistance by ordinary people, civil society groups and the press.
“But Nigerians have lately become lethargic, divided by ethnic and sectarian sentiments and weakened by widespread poverty brought on by a rapacious political class and bad governance.
“As a symbolic demonstration of our protest against autocracy and military-style repression, PUNCH (all our print newspapers, The PUNCH, Saturday PUNCH, Sunday PUNCH, PUNCH Sports Extra, and digital platforms, most especially Punchng.com) will henceforth prefix Buhari’s name with his rank as a military dictator in the 80s, Major General, and refer to his administration as a regime, until they purge themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law.”