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Femi Adesina: How Buhari reacted when I told him about Tinubu’s ’emi lokan’ speech

Femi Adesina: How Buhari reacted when I told him about Tinubu’s ’emi lokan’ speech
January 22
10:29 2024

Femi Adesina, ex-media aide to former President Muhammadu Buhari, has narrated how his principal reacted when he told him about President Bola Tinubu’s ’emi lokan’ speech.

In June 2022, Tinubu, who was then a presidential aspirant, was speaking at a meeting with delegates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun when he made the ’emi lokan’ remark, a phrase which translates to “it is my turn” in Yoruba.

Tinubu said without him, Buhari would not have won the presidential election in 2015.

He also said without his support, Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun, would not have become governor of the state.


Adesina said when Tinubu made the remark, Buhari was not in the country. He added that he had accompanied his principal to Spain for an event.

The former presidential spokesperson said they were about to depart Spain and head back to Nigeria when he came across Tinubu’s remarks.

“The visit concluded, and we were to return home on Friday, June 3, when the social media exploded with reports from Nigeria, of comments made at a public event in Abeokuta, Ogun State, by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC National Leader and an aspirant for President in the forthcoming party primary,” Adesina said in his book.


“Asiwaju Tinubu said many things, but what touched on President Buhari directly was that without him (Asiwaju), Buhari would never have been President, and that it was now his own turn to rule. Emilokan, my turn, in Yoruba language.

“We the principal aides of the President were in dilemma on how to brief the President on what had happened, as it would not be right for him to get to Nigeria and be reading different versions and interpretations of what happened, which may be right or wrong.

“Myself, Ambassador Kazaure, (SCOP), Chief Security Officer to the President, Idris Ahmed Kasim, Mohammed Sarki Abba, Dr. Suhayb Rafindadi, Col. Yusuf Dodo, the Aide-De-Camp, and Tunde Sabiu, Special Assistant, put heads together, and decided that I should brief the President when we were airborne to Abuja. The motive was so that he would not get varied and possibly distorted versions.

“Few minutes into the flight, I approached the President and said I needed to bring him up to speed on something major that had happened back home.”



Adesina said after he finished narrating what transpired in Ogun to his principal, Buhari went silent for a few minutes.

“Ever a willing listener, the President told me to go ahead. I did a summary of the Emilokan speech, and when I ended, the President ruminated for some moments, and responded: ‘Asiwaju said all that? Thank you for coming to brief me’.

“The Emilokan speech was raging like wildfire, and as we feared, being interpreted in different ways, and from different perspectives. The Bola Tinubu campaign team felt a clarification was needed, that the aspirant was not actually deriding the President in any way.”


The former presidential spokesperson further said when they returned to Nigeria on June 3, 2022, Buhari held a meeting with all presidential aspirants in the state house the following day and urged them to “consult among themselves, build a consensus, and produce a formidable candidate”.

“Next day, June 4, President Buhari held a scheduled meeting with all APC presidential aspirants at the Villa. Emilokan hung thick in the air, but trust the President, not a word of it was mentioned. He only appealed to the aspirants to consult among themselves, build a consensus, and produce a formidable candidate who could win an election for the party,” Adesina added.


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