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Nigerians: there is an advantage to this Coronavirus – PMB will now stick around more!

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Of a truth, President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB’s numerous foreign trips have constantly attracted comments from Nigerians.

Perhaps we should close our borders on Buhari not just rice alone-bigboyview 2019 (after the border closure by the Buhari administration).

Must he attend every conference?.. Is Buhari a travel blogger? @timiakegbejo

Someone should hide Baba’s passport- Adamu Hayatou.

The national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has chided critics of PMBs jaunts, insisting (correctly) that former President Obasanjo travelled abroad more frequently than PMB, while in office. Bashir Ahmad, PA to PMB on New Media (@BashirAhmaad) effectively says that with several commitments extracted from many nations, the presidential trips are beneficial.

Comrade Oshiomhole is quite right on Chief Obasanjo, OBJ, who travelled to 97 countries in his 8 years in office, causing the late social crusader and legal titan Gani Fawehinmi (who had fought the military for many years until Nigeria was returned to democratic governance) to stamp his foot down on the matter. He sued OBJ to court asking him to justify his frequent foreign tours!

However at this time there is an expectation, created in the minds of Nigerians of greater prudence, since the PMB administration pledged to cut the cost of governance. It thus becomes perplexing then, when for instance in 4 foreign trips over 3 months at the end of 2019, PMB travelled with a retinue of officials that included an astonishing 12 state Governors, as well as several ministers and cabinet members each trip- including his (president’s) and other’s security, protocol, media and personal aides! Needless to say, the cost of each trip is staggering.

Aside the frequency, the timing of PMBs foreign trips have raised eyebrows such that one of the national dailies (The Punch) in one editorial stated: “in moments of national crisis, he (Mr Buhari) abandons his duty post in preference for foreign trips.”

Additionally, it must be pointed out that even concerning foreign medical trips, PMB has exceeded the record of the late President Yar’Adua for time spent away from the country on medical grounds. The late Yar’Adua spent 109 days in 2 and half years for medicals; bringing about a very rare Nigerian constitutional amendment. But now PMB has spent 172 days in 2 years abroad on medical grounds. And while OBJ before him made a record 193 trips to 97 countries in 8 years, PMB could almost double that record, having visited 40 countries in 50 months, over 51 foreign trips.

In all this, PMB has remained unmoved by the dismay expressed by a lot of Nigerians over his frequent tours. President Buhari travels abroad for such varied conferences as those on Climate Change (never done at home!), or even for international conferences on “Future Investments”. In the first 3 years of the administration, the President was abroad for a total of 404 days- equivalent to more than one year outside the country. And suddenly now, the world is faced with – Corona Virus, Covid 19! And then, the global media has announced the obvious: African countries are ill-prepared to handle such a deadly pandemic. But then – scientists have discovered, to our divine benefit that the heat and humidity of tropical Africa is deadly to Covid. And voila- PMB hasn’t jetted out in the last couple of weeks, nor will he jet out in a hurry as was the case, formerly. Our President will stay around a while, and address our domestic issues because: the fear of Covid is the beginning of wisdom. So, Viva Corona!

 

{The Nation}

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