Sunday, January 12, 2020 3:20 pm
The use of a presidential plane by Hanan, a daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari has been generating hot debates in the land. This is more so that Buhari himself, in the view of his admirers, rival the Pope and the Dalai Lama in terms of Spartan philosophy of life.
The photograph of Hanan disembarking from plane in Bauchi last Thursday to attend a Durbar, specially organised to, according to media reports, “give Hanan the opportunity to take photographs of the event and other interesting sites in the state”. This was on invitation of the Emir of Bauchi, Rilwanu Adamu went viral on cyberspace. The president’s daughte recently graduated obtained a first-class degree in photography a British university recently.
To douse the flame of attacks, Garba Shehu, Presidential spokesman, admitted that “a member of the First Family was flown to Bauchi on Saturday on a mission duly authorized.”
He went further: “It wasn’t an impromptu or improper trip because it followed normal procedure. The Presidency informed the National Security Adviser of the mission who, in turn, informed the Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet.
The normal practice in existence for a long time is that the Presidential Air fleet is available to the President and the first family and four others. These four are the Vice President, the Senate President the Speaker and any other person(s) authorised by the President.”
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), through its image maker, Kola Ologbondiyan, waved off what happened as “the worst form of corruption” and “the indefensible annexation of our national assets and resources for illegal private use.”
PDP went further: “It is even most appalling that instead of apologizing to Nigerians, the Buhari Presidency, in its arrogance, is resorting to falsehood and trying to justify the inexcusable. Our party holds that Mr. President should apologize for approving that her daughter uses the Presidential jet just for the purpose of allegedly taking photographs in a Durbar event in Bauchi state.
“Perhaps, the Buhari Presidency forgot that it is public knowledge that the Presidential fleet can only be authorized for use by the President, the First Lady, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, former Presidents, Presidential delegation and no one else.
“Moreover, the rules do not grant the President any powers to transfer any paraphernalia of office or privileges of his position to any of his children. The Presidency’s defence is, therefore, a direct spat on millions of Nigerians who cannot freely ply our highways because Mr. President and his party the APC, have failed to fix and rid our roads of kidnappers and bandits, who have practically taken over major routes under their despicable watch.
“Nigerians could recall how President Buhari heavily accused and criticized previous administrations of voting and wasting huge resources to maintain the Presidential fleet and promised to sell off most of the planes to save cost.
“Since President Buhari assumed office, none of the planes has been sold. Instead, the Buhari Presidency has continued to budget more funds for the fleet with N8.5 bn budgeted for 2020 alone, only to approve that his daughter uses a Presidential jet for her private photography event.”