Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has described the PUNCH decision to refer to the president as a “major general” as proof of press freedom.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement nothing untoward in PUNCH’s decision.
“The statement reads thus:
A newspaper says it will henceforth address President Muhammadu Buhari by his military 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.”
In a similar vein, through his verified Twitter handle @FemAdesina, tweeted that Buhari’s rank was not dashed but earned, noting that PUNCH was not completely out of order in its decision.
He tweeted: “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.”
In its editorial on Wednesday morning, Punch had accused Buhari of disregarding the rule of law, hence its decision to protest against this.