Armed Forces Remembrance Day: Why Pigeons Refused to Fly – Femi Adesina


The pigeons released by President Muhammadu Buhari during last week’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day refused to fly because they felt their freedom was “too good to be true,” presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, has said.

Mr Adesina, the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, noted in his article “Reflections from a wreath-laying ceremony” on Friday that the birds had been kept in the cage for a long time and had become accustomed to their environment.

He also said those making jest of the president on social media do not have productive things to do with their time.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the refusal of white pigeons to fly after being released by Mr Buhari at Eagle Square last Friday made the president the butt of jokes on social media.

In a widely circulated video, the president could be seen forcing at least one of the pigeons to fly by picking it and throwing it into the air. The bird, rather than fly away, simply returned to its cage.

Some Nigerians on social media also attributed the incident to the injustice, nepotism and insecurity affecting the country’s growth.

“…Something for those who twist my every word, turn it upside down, to generate hatred. Something for them to wail about. The release of the pigeons,” Mr Adesina began in his article.

“At every Armed Forces Remembrance Day, after the laying of the wreaths, the sitting President releases some pigeons, to symbolize peace in the land. Emblems of National harmony. It was not different last Friday.

“The pigeons had been kept in a cage. For how long, I do not know. And when birds and some other roaming animals have been circumscribed for a while, they get accustomed to their new status as lawful captives. Therefore, when you offer them freedom, they first baulk, thinking it’s too good to be true. It’s a natural phenomenon.

“President Buhari opened the cage that held the pigeons, about a score or so. One hesitated, then flew, followed by another. The others temporized a bit. And then, two, three minutes later, they all took to the sky. Nothing extraordinary in the development, you would think.”

Mr Adesina also attacked some critics of the president, saying they do not have productive things to do with their times.

“But not to the idle and indolent, most of who populate the social media. It was time to major in something minor, cavil, find fault unnecessarily. The pigeons didn’t fly, they refused to fly, it’s ominous, they wailed like wailing wailers. And you began to wonder: are people this idle? Don’t they have productive things to do with their times?”

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