The Presidency has replied top Nigeria newspaper, Punch that 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.
This was stated in a comment made by Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman, in a reaction to a decision of one Punch that says it would henceforth address the president by his 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 is 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 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,” he said.
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
Corroborating Adesina’s position, the Personal Assistant to the President on Social Media, Ahmad Bashir said Buhari had been referred to as ‘Major General Buhari’ and it didn’t stop Nigerians from trusting and giving him another term in office through their votes.
Before, during and after 2019 election, PDP and its presidential candidate had called the President ‘Major General Buhari’ thousands times and it didn’t stop Nigerians from trusting and giving their President another four years mandate. Calling him that will NEVER be a bad thing.
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) December 11, 2019
So Bakare called our President, “General Buhari” a few days ago. Today, @MobilePunch announces they will refer to our President as General Buhari. But of course, he’s a General. It’s just like those who think they are abusing me by calling me an old woman. I’m an old woman.
— Lauretta Onochie (@Laurestar) December 11, 2019