Following a leaked audio recording by Nigeria’s transport minister, Rotimi Ameachi, that President Muhammadu Buhari does not “read or listen” to anybody, handlers of the President have released a recent image showing President Buhari reading the Sunday edition of the Vanguard.
Buhari was seen seated in one of the chairs in the Villa reading the Vanguard newspaper, in a pose that suggested his reading was a mere formality.
It is not immediately clear when the photos were released and who amongst President Buhari’s media aide released the photo to the public, which is currently trending on the social media.
Many social media commentators said the photo was in direct response to Ameachi’s recent comments.
Mr Amaechi’s recent statement had bolted the Presidency, portraying President Buhari as a leader who does not listen or care about the opinion on Nigerians.
The leaked tapes were released by Phrank Shaibu, the special assistant on public communication to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar.
Mr Amaechi, who is the DG of Buhari presidential campaign for 2019, is believed to have made the terrible remarks about the president during an hangout with journalists covering his ministry.
The transcript of one of the two tapes read, “This country can never change, I swear. The only way this country can change is if everybody is killed. This country is going nowhere, I swear.
“Even if you divide the country into 10, it will still not change. I’m not joking o. When Magnus (Abe) was my SSG, I told him that this country is hopeless and helpless.
“He said ‘Oga, stop it now. Coming from a governor, don’t be saying that. But two months in Abuja, Magnus said this country is hopeless and helpless. I said ‘why?’ He said, you are right, the only thing they do in Abuja is share money, they don’t work.”
The second tape said, “The president does not listen to anybody. He doesn’t care. You can write what you want to write. The president doesn’t care. Does he read? He will read, he will laugh. He will say ‘come, come and see, they are abusing me here’.
“In fact, there was one case of somebody in Onitsha, a trader in Onitsha who couldn’t sell his goats during Sallah. And I was with Oga on the plane and the man was busy abusing Buhari. He said, ‘Amaechi, come, what is my business with Onitsha goat seller?’
Daily Correspondents checks revealed that this is not the first time that the President is being accused of having no interest in reading.
A former ally of the President, Junaid Mohammed had said in 2015 that Buhari’s attitude towards reading is very dangerous for a leadership position.
Mohammed, a second republic lawmaker, had in an interview with Vanguard, said he recommended books to the president because it dealt with the economic matters but he failed to read the book in 2015. Mohammed says it’s sad Buhari doesn’t read like IBB or Obasanjo
Also, a former governor of Ekiti state Governor, Ayodele Fayose had in June 2018 lambasted the President for not being in tune with the latest happenings in the country, claiming in his verified twitter handle that “the president doesn’t read newspapers”.
At the heat of the economic hardship that took a negative toll on Nigerians in 2016, a meme that trended then on social media about President Muhammadu Buhari questions his passion for reading.
The meme was deduced from a 26 August, 2016 tweet from Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in response to the plight of Joe Iroko Chinakwe, the Igbo trader who is standing trial for christening his dog ‘Buhari’.
Shehu is series of tweets had said “When he (Buhari) picks a paper (newspaper), the first page he reaches for is the cartoon page. Laughs and laughs”
Creative Nigerians on social media then satirized his words with insinuations that Nigeria was facing an economic recession because the All Progressives Congress national leader has failed to read and learn new ideas as he only laughs at the cartoons and ignore the most important details.
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