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Buhari’s foreign travels

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President Buhari

President Buhari

IN arriving at the fact that the nation throbs with a plethora of questions over the necessity of the foreign trips of President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidency succeeds in feeling the pulse of the citizens. But it clearly underestimates the difficulty of stemming the impatience of the citizens by offering justification for the president’s travels. The citizens may not have wholly aligned themselves with the Emersonian disparagement of travelling as a fool’s paradise since those who made England, Italy or Greece venerable were not peripatetic. But the urgency of the need to solve the country’s myriad of problems at home and the unsavoury memories of the globe-trotting of past political leaders  have crashed what was left of the brittle confidence in our leaders’ fascination with overseas’ trips.

Our leaders have left the stark records of not sparing a thought for the suffering poor citizens. Instead of staying at home to consider strategies for taking the blight of poverty off the people, they are rather attracted to a life abroad at the expense of their states or the country. This is why they travel abroad to attend birthdays of their cronies and paramours. Some even travel abroad to organise weddings for their children or they are guests at the weddings of their friends which they have sponsored. In some worse cases, such travels have been used as opportunities to negotiate how to stash slush funds in foreign accounts. But our political leaders justify such travels as opportunities to bring foreign investments to the country.

Still, travelling abroad is a means of escaping from the problems at home.  Our political leaders have no problem with leaving the citizens to writhe and wither away under the weight of the crises sired by the former’s misbegotten governance. And when they are overseas, they do not bother to copy the good things they see there. They do not pay attention to how through transformational leadership, what would have been a barren country is turned into an investors’ delight. Nor do they observe how on account of the fact that leaders live by example, the citizens are ready to obey the laws of the country that would redound to the peace and good of all. What our leaders are only interested in as they travel abroad are the homes that are the exemplifications of modern architectural  ingenuity. They would come home and then loot the treasury in a bid to replicate these architectural masterpieces for their private use.

For a Nigerian leader who travels to the Vatican and takes a photograph with the pope, his or her day is made. Then such a leader would now strive to push the photograph to the front pages of major newspapers in the country. A political leader does this perhaps because he or she would like the citizens to know the opportunity he or she  has just got to put the name of their backwater carrying the beautiful title of a state or country on the map of the world. It could also be to gleefully announce to the hell-bound citizens that their leader is on the way to heaven.  For some politicians, putting the pictures on the front pages of newspapers is not enough. Billboards must be erected in every strategic corner of the state to announce this treasure trove. This was exactly what Governor Rochas Okorocha did in Imo State after taking a photograph with President Barack Obama during a visit to the United States.

Our political leaders often argue that their travels are to enable them to drive foreign investments into the country. Thus they try to justify their frivolous travels by holding town hall meetings with Nigerians overseas. At such meetings, our political leaders would harangue their audience with the need for them to return home; to use their professional experiences to shore up the national fortunes;  and invest their dollars or pounds in the local economy. But it is not likely that the Nigerian audience is really fascinated by the opportunities being reeled out. What is more likely is that the Nigerian citizens are remembering how they lost their loved ones – parents , siblings or children – to the predatory society they left behind at home. They would remember how some of these loved ones have been unjustly incarcerated and how the justice system has failed to give any succour. They would remember how they escaped from kidnappers or the stray or deliberately targeted bullets of bribe-starved and marauding policemen and women and they were forced to relocate abroad.     Now that the presidency has joined in the argument for the necessity of foreign trips, it should have gone further to tell us if Buhari has any magic wand to drive these investments home. Or, is it that once the foreign investors see Buhari they would fall in love with him, empty their bank accounts and bring their hard-earned money to  invest in Nigeria? Regrettably, the illusion of the ease of securing foreign investments by our leaders travelling abroad has made us oblivious of the necessity of keeping our house in order before seeking foreign investors. No foreign investor would put his or her money in a hostile business climate.

Do we really expect foreign investments in these climes ravaged by insurgents, state brigandage and decrepit infrastructure?  If there is a right investment climate, the president does not need to travel to beg any foreign investor to come to Nigeria. They would come here on their own. Or, are we now saying that these so-much cherished foreign investors are so cut off from the world that they on their own cannot get a true picture of developments in Nigeria?

Granted that the president really engages in these frequent travels to negotiate the release of Nigeria’s funds stashed away in foreign banks. But as long as the environment for corruption to fester has not been changed, the money would find its way back to those foreign banks. We must remember the foreign travels of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in a bid to cancel the nation’s foreign debts. He succeeded. But the debts are back. Instead of the presidency being excited at defending the president’s foreign trips, it should be conscious of the fact that the bulk of the work is at home.

Now is the time for the president to do less travelling and sit at home to solve the nation’s problems. It is an illusion to expect foreign leaders who are faced with their own problems to give Buhari a blueprint on how to solve the problems of his country created by its own leaders’ greed, profligacy and short-sightedness.

Instead of attempting to justify to the citizens while Buhari’s foreign trips are necessary, the presidential spokespersons should find more profitable things to spend their time on. Let the results speak for themselves. Then the citizens can decide whether the president’s travels are worth the state resources expended on them.



11 Comments
  • crisdels

    I hope many Nigerians will read this with understanding. This is coming from a mind distant from PDP or APC affiliation. I love it.

    • Friday Eze

      I hope so too.
      PMB appears better suited to be minister of tourism than a 21st century President!

      He has traveled more than any other Nigerian in the last 8months.
      A man whose house is on fire shouldn’t be seen chasing after rats!

      Its gradually metamorphosing to a hubby!

  • amador kester

    You dont leverage a nation,s fortunes by sitting one place.

  • vic

    MATTERS OF THE MOMENT

    BUHARI, THE INSENSITIVE DEADWOOD, ESTA CODE CHOPPER, DAURA DUFFER

    MR PAUL ONOMUAKPOKPO, I AM GLAD, YOU HAVE SPOKEN THE MINDS OF MILLIONS OF NIGERIANS AND I CONGRATULATE YOU ON YOUR TIMELY ADVICE TO BUHARI, WHO, SINCE HIS ARRIVAL ON THE SCENE , AS THE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA, INSTEAD OF STAYING AT HOME AND LOOKING AFTER THE POOR MASSES OF NIGERIA, HAS BEEN HELPING HIMSELF AND HIS LARGE ENTOURAGE WITH HEFTY ESTA CODE IN DOLLARS GOTTEN AT OFFICIAL EXCHANGE RATE OF 200 NAIRA PER DOLLAR AND SELLING THE SAME ESTA CODE DOLLARS IN THE BLACK MARKET AT 320N PER DOLLAR WHEN REACHING BACK HOME IN NIGERIA. THIS WAS REPORTED TO HAVE BEEN SAID BY BUHARI HIMSELF WITH HIS INTERVIEW WITH A JOURNALIST WHO TOLD THE JOURNALIST THE REAL REASON FOR BUHARI NOT OFFICIALLY DEVALUING THE NAIRA AND FOR THE DOLLAR SELLING IN THE BLACK MARKET AT N320 PER DOLLAR BECAUSE OF THE DARK FORCES BEHIND THIS RACKET AT THE CENTRAL BANK IN NIGERIA AND THE INTEREST GROUPS IN HIS OWN MINISTRIES. CLEARLY, DURING THESE HARD TIMES, WHEN THESE VERY CROOK AND UNPATRIOTIC CBN DIRECTORS AND POLITICIANS UNDER BUHARI’S WATCH SHOULD BE HELPING NIGERIA TO SAVE SCANTY FOREIGN EXCHANGE, THEY ARE SIMPLY BUSY AIDING AND ABETTING FOREX FRAUD AND CORRUPT FOREX PRACTICES RIGHT UNDER THE NOSE OF BUHARI WHICH BUHARI SAYS AS LEGITIMATE AND LEGAL IN THE FORM OF ESTA CODE TO WHICH BUHARI AND HIS GLOBE-TROTTING MINISTERIAL TEAM ARE LEGALLY ENTITLED.

    THUS, THIS GENTLEMANLY CROOK BUHARI AND HIS OVERENTHUSIASTIC TEAM OF EQUALLY CROOK AND GREEDY DOLLAR BAG MINISTERS, HAVE FOUND A LEGITIMATE WAY OF LOOTING DOLLARS AND THEREFORE ARE EVER READY FOR FOREIGN TRIPS AT THE SLIGHTEST OPPORTUNITY. MR BUHARI SHOULD DEVELOP A LISTENING EAR AND ALWAYS GAUGE THE PULSE OF THE NATION AND LISTEN TO WELL MEANING NIGERIANS OTHERWISE THERE IS A GREAT DANGER THAT BUHARI WILL SOON BECOME VERY UNPOPULAR AMONG A MAJORITY OF NIGERIAN MASSES AND MEET A FATE WORSE THAN METED OUT TO JONATHAN WITH BUHARI’S ENEMIES BOTH IN APC AND PDP, LOOKING FOR BUHARI’S BLOOD EVERYWHERE SOON AFTER BUHARI’S DISAPPEARS FROM THE NIGERIAN POLITICAL SCENE.

    BUHARI MUST LEARN A LESSON SOONER THAN LATER TO AVOID ANY HUMILIATION FROM THE MASSES AND HIS ENEMIES WHOSE PATIENCE IS FAST RUNNING OUT WITH HIM. BUHARI MUST REMEMBER, HIS WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION IS OF NO USE TO SUFFERING MASSES OF NIGERIA BECAUSE IT HAS BROUGHT NO BREAD ON THE TABLES OF TEAMING POOR MASSES OF NIGERIA WHO STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT ANY RECOVERED LOOTED MONEY WILL BE LOOTED AGAIN BY BUHARI LED APC WITH VERY MANY CORRUPT APC MEMBERS HIDING UNDER BUHARI’S NOT SO UN-CORRUPT WINGS, LOOKING FOR A SUITABLE OPPORTUNITY TO LOOT AGAIN THE TREASURY SINGLE ACCOUNT(TSA). SO FAR NIGERIAN MASSES ARE CONCERNED, BUHARI HAS DONE NOTHING FOR THEM TODATE IN THE SENSE EVEN THE LEGITIMATE RIGHTS OF THE WORKERS, JUST AS MONTHLY SALARIES AND PENSIONS ARE NOT BEING PAID IN TIME EVERY MONTH FOR THE PAST 6 MONTHS SINCE BUHARI’S ARRIVAL AND ARE ALWAYS SPILLING WELL WITHIN THE FIRST WEEK OF THE FOLLOWING MONTH FOR THE PAST 6 MONTHS, DESPITE A PLATHORA OF CRITICISM ON THIS LATE PAYMENT TO FEDERAL WORKERS WHICH NEVER HAPPENED IN THE HISTORY OF NIGERIA IN THE PAST 40 YEARS. CLEARLY BUHARI APPEARS TO BE GROSSLY INSENSITIVE, AS IF HE IS ANTI MASSES, ANTI LABOUR AND HAS DEVELOPED DEAF EARS AND A THICK SKIN ON THIS IMPORTANT MATTER OF PAYMENT OF SALARIES AND PENSIONS IN TIME. THIS IS THE LEAST BUHARI COULD HAVE DONE FOR THE WORKERS AND PENSIONERS SINCE HIS ARRIVAL BUT HE IS BEHAVING LIKE THOSE THREE LEGENDARY MONKEYS WHO SHUT THEIR EYES SO AS NOT TO SEE, EARS SO AS NOT TO HEAR AND MOUTH SO AS NOT TO SPEAK ON SUCH AN IMPORTANT ISSUE WHICH BORDERS ON THE WELFARE OF THE ENTIRE NATION. HOW CAN THEN NIGERIANS TRUST SUCH A MAN ON ANYTHING HE PROMISES??? SINCE HIS ARRIVAL, BUHARI HAS BEEN ONLY TALKING OF BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION AS IF THAT IS THE BREAD WHICH NIGERIAN MASSES ARE GOING TO PUT ON THEIR TABLES FOR EARLY MORNING BREAKFAST. BUHARI, SEEMS TO BE FAILING NIGERIAN MASSES ON ALL COUNTS.

    CLEARLY, BUHARI HAS TURNED OUT TO BE AN ILLUSION AND A NIGHTMARE FOR THE POOR MASSES AND HARD WORKING PEOPLE OF NIGERIA BEYOND ANY REDEMPTION. I WAS ONCE HIS SUPPORTER BUT NO MORE. HE DESERVES NO RESPECT FROM ME AND I DARE SAY FROM MANY WELL MEANING NIGERIANS IN THIS COUNTRY.

    • Friday Eze

      Our President is simply confused, overwhelmed and shot of ideas, hence the frequent globetrotting to avoid the hot seat for a season!
      I guess its high time someone told the Septuagenarian that u can’t solve ur problems by running away from them!

      • vic

        he is simply a dated and a posturing president, indifferent and insensitive to the yearnings of the poor masses of nigeria and the hardworking people of this country. he seems to live in his own cuckoo land devoid of all humility and humanity.

      • vic

        very correct.

  • New Nigerian

    So long as the looters of the commonwealth hides their loot in foreign soils, so must the leader of the country travel to those lands to organize and build alliance necessary for the return of the commonwealth back to the treasury of the federal republic. Like the age old saying, Once the hunters learn to shoot without missing, the birds have since learnt to fly without perching. There are more to be gained by building the alliances – which are being built through leveraging the personal integrity of President Buhari himself, since the ineffectual buffoon desecrated the office he occupied, through crass criminality befitting only of an African warlord. So we pray for good health for President Buhari, as these foreign trips need to be continued to help turn things around for Nigeria and serve as impetus for the African renaissance.

    • Sitanda

      Leave the ineffectual buffoon alone, the Daura Dullard hasn’t done us any good either…

  • Meeday

    Paid talk….i can see the writer is confused…dont travel….but somene traveleld and got our debt cancelled…
    The writer has chosen to put all travelling govt officials in the same kettle..of course cos he had a goal in mind…make us think travelling to get support of foreign natiions useless…but clearly we have seen some of the dividends of the current president trvales..The US changed their stand on supporting our fight against Boko Haram by supplying us with equipment we saw Germany visit this week and pledges to support us…
    Tell me those are waste of travelling time…

  • jallo

    I want you to mention one trip which unnecessary