The Presidency has recanted its earlier preference and stand on how to officially address Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s elected President.
A statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday said Nigerians, including Media outfits, are free to address President Muhammadu Buhari by his military rank of Major General as the administration promotes freedom of speech in the country.
The development is coming about five years after the Presidency had publicly insisted on dropping the Military rank from the President’s name during public functions and for the purpose of official communication.
Interestingly, this latest position follows the move by a daily newspaper that went public with its decision to henceforth address the president by his rank of Major-General.
However, reacting to the paper’s stand, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said there is no crime in addressing President Buhari with his Military rank that was deservedly and eminently-earned in Service to the country.
Adesina’s reaction was contained in a statement titled: “Another Testimony To Press Freedom In Nigeria, by Presidency.”
”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 is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces”, Adesina said.
The presidential Spokesman further stated that; “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 did not pass through military service better 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 is a matter of semantics) has pledged to uphold and preserve”, the presidential aide maintained –