…Artist wants Nigeria Customs to desist from seizures of artworks at airport***
President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, has described as a ‘misquote,’ a report that his boss had pledged to serve for only one term.
President Buhari had, on Monday, shortly before he left for London, the United Kingdom, declared his intention to run for a second term in 2019.
Adesina told a national Lagos-based television station, via Skype, from London, yesterday, that he was not surprised by the president’s second term declaration; in spite of his pledge in 2014 not to seek re-election.
“No, that’s a misquote, he was never, never quoted that way.
“If there is anything on record like that, it is a misquote because I was with him in South Africa when that issue came when he said, oh, he wished he had become president at the time he was a military governor; that he would have done a lot for Nigeria.
“And the other happened in 2011. When he was running in 2011 he said, yes he would be a president for one term. But did he win in that year? No.
“The victory came in 2015. So, that being quoted in 2011 is not applicable again because he did not win that year.’’
On the purported vote of no confidence allegedly passed on the president by the Northern Elders Forum and the Council for Shariah, Adesina said the two groups have the constitutional right to support anybody vying for political office in the country.
He cited an example of a former president of the country who equally failed to secure the votes in his state and region but ended up winning the presidential election twice.
Asked whether Buhari obtained the support of his doctors before the Monday declaration, Adesina replied that the president is a responsible man who would never go against the advice of his medical personnel.
“If there had been any warning, any red light from his doctor, you know, he wouldn’t have ventured into it, unless you are telling me there is something you know that I don’t know.
“But, I know the president; as a very, very responsible man. If there was any warning, he wouldn’t do it.’’
Adesina disclosed that the president took him and other aides unawares when he announced his intention to run for another term in 2019.
He added the president’s declaration was in reaction to appeals by millions of Nigerians.
“Yes, there had been a lot of appeals. I have served in different meetings, with different interest groups and all of them wanted him to run for second term in office.
“And, do you know that whenever the president reacted to these groups, he would speak on all other points they raised except the issue of second term. It has been like this in the past one year even before he went for medical vacation…”
In the meantime, Mr Taiwo Opeolu, a Visual Artist on Wednesday urged the Nigerian Custom Service, to ensure adequate training of its officials at airports to differentiate between handmade art works and antiquities.
Opeolu told the Press in Lagos that this was due to observation overtime that international tourists, who buy made in Nigeria art pieces to be exported to foreign countries usually had those items seized at the airport.
The artist noted that most of the officials confuse handmade art works with antiquities due to ignorance.
He suggested that these officials should be trained and enlightened on differences between antiquities and art pieces.
According to him, antiquities are objects or works of art from ancient past, which requires export permit from the National Commission of Museums and Monuments (NCMM), to be exported to other countries.
“NCMM is the custodian of antiquities, monoliths, artifacts of ancient time, so an export permit would be taken for such works to be taken outside the country.
“For sculptures, paintings, crafts, no permit is required, they can be taken out at will and such should not be confused with antiquities.
“We beckon on the Nigerian Customs Service to wade into this and not deny art lovers the possession of their precious art properties due to ignorance,” he said.
He said this act would continue to jeopardise the growth of the Nigerian art industry, as many people had recorded same bad experiences like him.
Additional report from Citizen