I never solicited, nor offered anything for chieftaincy titles — Adesina
His Royal Majesty, Eze Nelson Nmerengwa, the Isiala of Isieketa on July 27, 2018, in his palace in Anambra State, bestowed the title of Ugo Mba (Eagle of the community) on Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Earlier in the year, Cyprian Nevobasi, Igwe Omeluenyi 1 of Aunnese, Ezeani III of Nmaku Kingdom in Enugu State, honoured Adesina with his first chieftaincy title, Nwanne Di Na Mba (a brother in another land) of Mmaku Kingdom.
In a chat with Palace Watch, Chief Adesina explained possible reasons he was honoured with the chieftaincy titles.Another chieftaincy title is coming from the East for you. Why are they coming at this period the country is nearer election year?
Well, I can’t, but laugh because your question is funny. The first chieftaincy title came without me soliciting for it; the second also came that way. I took the chieftaincy titles because those offering them said they are doing so, because ‘they see me serving my country (Nigeria) faithfully and truly.’ With such mindset I have no other option than to accept them.
Before serving government, many people see you as a man that cannot be influenced by titles. But it seems that has changed, what could be responsible for this?
No nothing has changed about me. I still remain the old Femi Adesina you have always known.
Could the titles not be subtle way to lobby you for appointments with Mr. President?
Not at all! The two monarchs that gave me chieftaincy titles are from Enugu and Anambra States. They never asked me for anything personal. If they had asked for money for the titles, would I be able to pay for them? They did not ask for anything, rather they facilitated a lot of things for me. For example, they took care of my transportation and accommodation for the event, so, which shows they appreciate the work I am doing for the country and this is their own ways of appreciating it.
You commissioned a road constructed by NDDC in Isiala-Ngwa. What does this mean to you?
It meant a lot to me, because that road would not have been built without the approval of Mr. President; so, they made sure the commissioning took place during the time I was given a chieftaincy title. The Managing Director of NDDC was to be there, but when for some reasons he could not make it, he called me and said: “I hear you are in that part of the country; could you please commission the road project just built by NDDC? I said yes, since it was Mr. President that approved the construction. I can easily do that on behalf of Mr. President because he is my boss.
Traditional rulers are expected to be apolitical, but recently they have become great mobilisers of people at the grassroots. Is this not a subtle way of mobilizing support for Mr. President?
I am not a politician. I am simply a professional serving in government. I don’t think that is what the monarchs are doing. If they really want to curry favour, they would have offered those titles to politicians. The fact that they are offering me, a non-politician serving in government these titles shows there are no strings attached to them. I can assure you that there are no strings attached. Politics apart, my advice to Nigerians is to think deeply about the future of this country; let’s think of the future of our children and never again allow looters access to our treasury. Never should Nigerians allow such person or persons to go near it again, because we saw what they did to the national treasury in the past and it would be an error to allow them take control of it again. This should not happen again, for the sake of the present and the future of this country.