The Presidency on Wednesday advised opinion leaders in the country to exercise restraint in their choice of words as they criticise Buhari based on his position on restructuring.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, gave the advice in a statement.
Shehu said the restraint was necessary to avoid heating up the polity and causing acrimony across the country.
He noted that while Nigerians are free to express themselves, they should “exercise such liberty with restraint and a sense of responsibility.”
The presidential spokesman said calling Buhari an enemy of Nigeria was in “extremely bad taste.”
He added that nothing in the President’s service record would justify “such scurrilous language.”
Shehu said he was satisfied that majority of Nigerians welcomed Buhari’s broadcast.
He, however, said it was off the mark to criticise him for not responding to calls for restructuring.
“To criticise the President for not imposing a restructuring on the country – whatever that means – is completely off the mark,” he said.
Shehu said Buhari had no power to impose a restructuring on the country by military fiat.
He said National Assembly members were the elected representatives of the people who can handle agitations for restructuring and other constitutional changes.
He explained that the President is constitutionally bound to work with the National Assembly to deal with such issues, reminding critics that the President would not exercise arbitrary powers or bypass the legislature in taking fundamental decisions.
He added, “Changes don’t happen on a whim in a democracy. The ‘immediate effect’ military mentality cannot work under a democratic order.
“Since the President has sworn to defend the Constitution, he would remain faithful to that oath by working with the legislature in taking major decisions on the future of Nigeria’s federal system.
“The country’s parliament is ready and willing to discuss all issues but the pundits are more interested in TV and newspaper headlines.
“Threats don’t work in a democracy. Democracy requires planning and proper process. Issues are resolved through established processes, not by abuses, insults or irresponsible statements.”