Buhari had last week received Fani-Kayode at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to officially signify the ex-minister’s defection from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.
The move had sparked mixed reactions from supporters of both the opposition and ruling parties.
While some criticised Fani-Kayode for joining the APC after years of attacking the party and its members, others said President Buhari shouldn’t have welcomed the former minister because he had said unprintable things about him in the past.
But reacting to the mixed feelings generated by the former minister’s defection, Adesina called for ceasefire.
The presidential aide said even though Fani-Kayode had “ruffled feathers” and became “a rabid hater” of APC members after dumping the party years back, there are blessings in forgiveness.
In an opinion article titled “Buhari, FFK, and the Quality of Mercy,” Adesina said Buhari forgave Fani-Kayode and received him “at the highest level” because the president has “an attribute of God”.
Adesina wrote: “He has said things straight from the gutters, things that the natural man would call unforgivable and unpardonable. Against President Buhari, the first family, Yusuf Buhari whom he wished had died when the latter had an almost fatal bike accident, APC as a party, the government, leaders of the party, groups and individuals. Even this writer has suffered horrid descriptions from FFK in many write-ups.
“Yes, he even said he would rather die than return to APC, but last week, he returned—well and alive.
“Naturally, a lot of loyal APC members are hopping mad that FFK was readmitted into the party. And not only that, he got back at the highest level. Not at his ward in Ile-Ife, Osun State, but the triumphal entry was at the Presidential Villa, with President Buhari himself as the host.
“I understand the umbrage taken against the development by teeming APC supporters. It’s the natural thing to do. But then, having vented spleen, raised dust and almost brought down the roof, the next thing is to isolate the issues dispassionately. With the bile displayed towards President Buhari and his family over the years, how did the man find the grace to have received FFK? How was he convinced? Who did the convincing? What were the extenuating factors? How? When? Why?
“By agreeing to the readmission of FFK to APC as the leader of the party, and hosting him at the Villa, President Buhari displayed amazing capacity to forgive, to show mercy, and let bygones be bygones. How many of us can do that? Not many.”
The presidential aide said Buhari could have “spat into the sky, collecting the spittle with his own face” when Fani-Kayode was led into the State House by the APC caretaker committee chairman, but instead “displayed an attribute of God: forgiveness.”
Adesina added, “One of the lies that had been serially told against the President was his alleged unforgiving spirit, a falsehood sold to Nigerians by anti-Buhari forces since the days of military rule. The lie traveled for so long, till it was eventually overtaken by the truth in one day. Nigerians saw through the facade, and elected Buhari as President in 2015. Re-elected him with wider margin in 2019.
“I have worked with the President for over six years. And I have seen amazing things in terms of accommodation and capacity to forgive. I have visited him at home many times in the evenings, only to find at dinner table with him people who had been abusing his forefathers on television earlier in the day. This President has a capacity to forgive, and forget. And make peace. That was what he displayed in the case of FFK. Nothing short of divine attribute, which me and you should covet and seek to approximate.
“I think those screaming blue murder and lamenting the injustice and unfairness of it all should hold their peace. They have made their points, and should let things be. Enough! FFK is back, let sleeping dogs lie. He may stay this time round, as he claims to have had a Damascus road experience, which turned Saul to Paul.
“Many times, FFK has used unprintable words against me. He has deployed phrases from the nether region against me. But after writing those things, and we met in public places, he would embrace me, calling me his “friend and brother.” I agree, we are brothers, though I should hold giant-sized grudges against him. President Buhari has shown us the way . To err is human, to forgive, divine.
“And come to think of it. Is it pleasant to swallow one’s vomit? Nah. But that was what FFK did. All those foul words against the President, the APC, the government, many people in government. He has swallowed them. Delicious? By no means. Pueh! You would feel like retching. So, let’s salute the courage of his conviction. It is rare, and not many people would do it.”