As if in a hurry to satisfy a compensatory urge of many years of deprivation, President Muhammadu Buhari has in just nine months of assuming office travelled to no less than 24 countries, perhaps in search of “global ratification” of his government. But before delving into this in details, first, the trips at a glance.
1) Niger Republic (May 2015).
2) CHAD (June 2015).
3) Germany (June 2015).
4) South Africa (June 2015).
5) United Kingdom (May 2015).
6) USA (July 2015).
7) Benin Republic (August 2015).
8) France (September 2015).
9) Ghana (September 2015).
10) India (October 2015).
11) Sudan (October 2015).
12) Iran (November 2015).
13) France (November 2015).
14) USA (November 2015).
15) South Africa (December 2015).
16) Benin Rep. (December 2015).
17) UAE (January 2016).
18) Kenya (January 2016).
19) Ethiopia (January 2016).
20) France (February 2016).
21) Utd. Kingdom (February 2016).
22) Egypt (February 2016).
23) Saudi Arabia (February 2016).
24) Qatar (February 2016).
The status of this list is not static and therefore, may not be current as you read through because the president might have updated it by leaving a particular location for another. Arguably, the job prescription of the president allows for such trips, certainly not when it has become a pastime of sort.
But without demanding for returns on the trips as Nigerians are wont to do now in the light of the present economic realities, Buhari’s trips appear to have translated into nothing for the people, not to talk of the cost of his trips, which has equally become a subject of political debate.
Besides, some of the trips are so indefensible that you can’t but ponder what a president of his stature is doing, for instance, at an ordinary “business roundtable”, when he could have detailed his aides/ministers/SGF or anyone else to do that? Really, is it that bad?
Perhaps, former president Goodluck Jonathan was right, when he said during the electioneering that, “The choice before Nigerians in the coming elections is simple: a choice between going forward or going backwards; between the new ways and the old ways; between freedom and repression; between a record of visible achievements and beneficial reforms-and desperate power-seekers with empty promises”?
Well, the change idea was sold to Nigerians and they bought into it with their eyes wide open. They were neither bewitched nor hypnotised. Whether it is now termed “one chance” or double blessings, the reality is that this government will be one in May and right there and then, the real assessment/critique will begin on the basis of what he’s been able to record against his name. President Buhari, be prepared.
(THISDAY NEWSPAPER'S ARTICLE)