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Buhari’s jet nearly tumbled during landing – Adesina

Femi Adesina, a former Special Adviser to ex-President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, has revealed how a presidential jet nearly turned over during a trip he embarked on with former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The former presidential aide stated this in his new book titled ‘Reflections of a Special Adviser, Media and Publicity (2015-2023),’ launched in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, the turbulence was so severe that when the plane finally landed in Malta, a deeply terrified Buhari queried the captain, “What kind of landing is this?” The captain later apologised to the President and his terrified passengers.

Adesina wrote, “A presidential jet is not immune from bad weather and the accompanying turbulence (many hours of that we experienced). Neither is it spared from what aviators call wind shear (a sudden change in the direction of the wind). We had a frightful experience).

“In November 2015, we travelled to Malta to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and it was an uneventful flight till the flight crew announced that we should get ready for landing.

“A few seconds from touching the tarmac, the Boeing 737 business jet got buffeted from all sides and began to sway dangerously. On touching down, it pirouetted and gyrated like a drunken sailor; and was almost turning over. ‘Which kind of landing is this?’ The President said. I was seated with him in his special cabin.”

He went on to list 94 countries the President visited officially during his eight-year term, with the highest 19 trips in 2016, 18 in 2022, 16 in 2015, 12 in 2018 and 10 in the following year.

The former President embarked on his least number of two trips in 2020. He made five each in 2021 and 2023 before departing Abuja for his hometown of Daura, Katsina, on May 29, 2023.

Adesina also disclosed that he experienced a health scare while speaking at the headquarters of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps  (NSCDC) following a lengthy overseas trip he undertook alongside his principal.

Adesina said the incident occurred after a 17-hour flight back from Seoul, South Korean capital, where he accompanied Buhari to the World Health Organization’s first World Bio Summit in October 2022.

He said, “On the way back from Seoul, flying time was 17 hours. The explanation a layman like me would understand was that we were flying against the wind. But it was a strenuous trip.

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“I had a presentation to make two days later at a seminar on Strategic Communication organised by the headquarters of the NSCDC for its spokesmen from across the country. I knew I was weary and needed rest, but I had given my word that I would be available.

“The first thing that should have flashed an alarm bell in my mind was that when I got out of bed that morning, I staggered a bit. I did not give it much consideration and was at the event by the scheduled time. I had presented my paper for about 35 minutes and was concluding when I suddenly lost focus. I became disoriented and could no longer see the paper I was speaking from. I became transfixed on the podium.

“I told my story to Mr. Everest Okpara, who owns the place and he ran comprehensive tests on me. When the results came, I saw areas I needed to watch for an aspiring senior citizen. I took the necessary care and had no health scare again till we landed on May 29, 2023.

“The lesson? Do not think you are indestructible. So watch it because your health also matters. Do not drive yourself to breaking point.”

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