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Buhari’s Foreign Trips

Posted: Mar 9, 2016 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Some Nigerians have continued to express concern over what appears to be the numerous foreign trips so far carried out by President Muhammadu Buhari. Curiously, since his inauguration as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, May 29, 2015, Buhari has visited nearly 30 countries. There have been justifications and rationalisations of the President’s globe-trotting especially by his aides. We have often been told that the visits are for the good of the nation. They always added that Nigeria would soon start reaping the fruits or the benefits of the President’s foreign engagements, especially in the face of the various bilateral and multilateral agreements Nigeria entered with host-nations.

As a matter of fact, issues of terrorism, corruption and Foreign Direct Investment [FDI], among others, have remained Nigeria’s strategic interests for the foreign trips. Whether these goals and aspirations have been attained or not it suffices to say that Nigeria, for instance, needs international collaborations to fight the Boko Haram terrorist group which has continued to decimate the northern part of the country. There is also the need for Nigeria to get back its looted funds stashed in foreign banks by some corrupt Nigerians.

Well enough, the President has presented these issues on the discussion table wherever he has been. However, it does not help us when these foreign trips become so frequent as they are the case nowadays. The nation is presently facing enormous challenges, which need to be urgently tackled by the Government. Certainly we need to build strong institutions and develop our productive capacities for a virile economy. We need to work seriously on the difficult issue of dearth of infrastructure. Power outage and poor power supply have remained disincentive to investment whether local or foreign as well as industrial growth. Again, insecurity, armed robbery, kidnapping, suicide bombings, vandalism and other crimes have continued to discourage foreign investors hence the nation’s investment flow and portfolio have been quite low. In the face of these obvious insecurity and economic instability at the domestic environment, junketing the globe frequently may not be the best option for Mr. President.

We believe that until he stays around, solutions to some of these national challenges may not be found. The President should be wary of advisers and bureaucrats who might have been planning and scheduling these foreign trips. Indeed, presidential foreign trips though in order in several cases, are becoming increasingly inauspicious for the Nigerian state at the moment. Nigerians want to see more of their President to renew their hope. In local parlance, it is often said that he whose house is on fire should not leave it to chase rats. Solutions to the country’s problems are certainly within and not anywhere. Not a few Nigerians believe that despite the tremendous goodwill with which President Buhari rode to power during and after 2015 polls, the West still appears hesitant and sceptical about helping Nigeria fix some of her challenges.

We advise the President to take a break for now; he may need foreign trips considering his background as almost one of the least exposed Nigerian leaders but most of these trips are not well managed for the image and benefits of the country. There is no gain saying that what is obtainable at the domestic scene defines a country’s stature at the international arena. Therefore, given the continuous fall in the price of crude oil and the value of the Naira, among other woes, President Buhari needs to suspend foreign trips for now and fix things for the benefits of the suffering masses who yearn to witness the change agenda of the present administration. We should put our house in order before going cap in hand in the name of frivolous foreign trips.
For now, this is the minimum expectation of Nigerians.