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How Buhari Reacts To Tinubu’s ‘Emi Lokan’ Speech – Adesina

Femi Adesina, the former spokesperson to ex-President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, has revealed his principal response to President Bola Tinubu’s “Emi Lokan” speech during the 2023 presidential campaign.

Adesina made this disclosure in his new book titled “Working with Buhari: Reflections of A Special Adviser, Media and Publicity (2015-2023).”

Recall that in June 2022, Bola Tinubu, who was the presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), made headlines with the ‘Emi Lokan’ remark during a meeting with APC delegates in Ogun State.

“Emi Lokan” which means “it is my turn” in English, Tinubu asserted that without him, Buhari wouldn’t have won the 2015 presidential election.

Speaking on the development in his new book, Adesina revealed that when Tinubu made this statement, President Buhari was not in the country; they were in Spain for an event.

However, concerned about varied interpretations reaching the President, Adesina and other aides decided to brief Buhari during their return flight to Nigeria.


Sharing the moment of revelation, Adesina stated, “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.

“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 a 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.

“A 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.”

President Buhari’s response was one of quiet contemplation. Adesina continued, “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 ‘Emi Lokan’ speech sparked various interpretations and discussions on social media. To address the unfolding narrative, Tinubu’s campaign team felt a clarification was necessary, asserting that the aspirant wasn’t deriding the President in any way.

Upon their return to Nigeria on June 3, 2022, President Buhari held a meeting with all APC presidential aspirants at the State House on June 4.

Adesina noted that the ‘Emi Lokan’ reference was palpable, but President Buhari avoided mentioning it explicitly. Instead, he encouraged aspirants to consult and build a consensus to produce a formidable candidate.

“The 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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