By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA-THE Presidency on Wednesday said that there was nothing untoward addressing President Muhammadu Buhari by his Major General rank he had in the army before his retirement.
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Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina in a statement in Abuja titled, “Another Testimony to Press Freedom in Nigeria”, said addressing President Buhari by his military rank was another testimony to free speech and freedom of the press.
Chief Adesina was reacting to the decision of a major newspaper in the country to address the President by his last rank in the military before his retirement, as a symbolic demonstration of its protest against alleged “autocracy and military – style repression.”
The Presidential spokesman in 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 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.”