Since the inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in May 29, the president has spent a great deal of time on foreign visits to other countries in Africa and beyond. In fact, PMB has traveled to about 10 countries in his 181 days in office. This number is also likely to increase before the year winds up. He has made more external trips that internal ones, which seems to be the official job description of the country’s’ Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. This has been criticized from certain quarters, arguing that the president ought to sit down and study the situation in his country before running off to other lands to solicit help. Some do not think the many foreign visits make any significant contribution to the economy of the country as alleged by those who supports the presidents’ travels.
But Senator Shehu Sani, the deputy chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, has dismissed criticisms of Buhari’s frequent travel abroad, maintaining that it is very necessary and will attract good economic fortunes for the country in the long run. He said this in an interview with Leadership, while highlighting that the people who are of the opinion that the president’s foreign visit is a waste of time are on “ignorant.”
Read what he had to say:
The travels of President Muhammadu Buhari are necessary. These travels are very necessary for him to work out a programme for the economy. All the countries that he has been to, he has secured a good deal for Nigeria. He was in Iran for the 3rd Gas Exporting Countries Forum(GEFC), because as you already know, Nigeria is a major gas exporter. He travelled to Malta for security and Agricultural development, and as you also know, Nigeria is a major agricultural country.
He also traveled to France on the issue of environment and climate change. So you cannot have a President that would simply sit at home and not travel. It doesn’t work that way. The travels are an opportunity for the President to project Nigeria and also bring the attention of the world to Nigeria. So his journeys are not as frivolous as those of President Goodluck Jonathan. We are living in an inter-dependent world, so it’s not possible for a president not to travel, so those who are complaining that he is travelling are ignorant. They don’t know what it takes to run an economy.
And I will want to say in very clear terms that, President Muhammadu Buhari is the most prudent President in terms of travels. His travels have not gulped the kind of resources, his predecessors’ travels gulped. And we should also not forget that the party in power made promises of revamping the economy, creating jobs, protecting our borders and ending corruption, and before you can fulfil all these promises, you must work with other global leaders. For example, our president wants looted funds stashed in some of these countries, to be returned home, and if we don’t cooperate with other nations around the world, these things cannot be achieved. How can we be able to repatriate the stolen funds, how can the president protect our borders without visiting those countries?”
What are your own thoughts? Do you think the Senator is right or are you of the opinion that the President should travel more – internally, in light of the economic challenges facing the country rather than the wasteful pleasure trips abroad. Comment below.