Following the Punch’s editorial expressing its resolve to henceforth address President Muhammadu Buhari by his Major General military rank because of what the medium said was his dictatorial tendencies, the Presidency has affirmed that there is nothing wrong with it.
Expressing its displeasure in what it said was the administration’s contempt for the rule of law, the editorial had posited: “As a symbolic demonstration of our protest against autocracy and military-style repression, PUNCH (all our print newspapers, The PUNCH, Saturday PUNCH, Sunday PUNCH, PUNCH Sports Extra, and digital platforms, most especially Punchng.com) will henceforth prefix Buhari’s name with his rank as a military dictator in the 80s, Major General, and refer to his administration as a regime until they purge themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law.”
In its response, the Presidency on Wednesday in a statement signed by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), said there was nothing untoward to refer to the president by a rank, which was earned through hard work.
The statement said: “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’s 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 didn’t pass through military service better democrats 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’s a matter of semantics) has pledged to uphold and preserve.”