When the current president of the great republic of Nigeria, Gen.Mohammadu Buhari initiated his vie for the Presidential diadem, roughly some 9 years ago and while his contention persisted, a lot of incidents occurred and while they did, a lot about the genius general was discovered; some at his instance and most against his wish ( we got to learn about his glamour daughters!). Some in line with his supposed penchant for accountability and transparency, some in line with his purported hatred and disdain of corruption, and often consequent upon the curious mischievousness of Nigerians. I mean, one cannot in much of a hurry forget all the things that happened during the course of his epic journey to Aso Rock. From the heated debates, mind-numbing online and offline politicking, to Zahra Buhari breaking the internet with just 2 pictures and a few tweets. From the very popular hash tag trends like #ForwardNigeria, #iHaveDecided, #FeBuhari and #BabaWhileYouWereGone to the absolutely foolish ones like #ISISBuhari. Amongst others, the number of his cows, houses, daughters, political misadventures, Presidential tries and his supposed net financial worth was subjected to public apprehension. What was however never information subject to the public’s consumption and such as did not take much effort however to acquaint itself with the light, was his penchant for air-travels. We never knew how much of a sojourner he was and sadly still is!
A year into his administration, Buhari can be comfortably argued to have seen the length and breadth of the world(He most possibly have seen it to the edge of the earth). In all this, one is in wonderment as to what aspect of our recent avalanche of discernments about the good-general is most striking. As they keep unveiling themselves in bashful sequences, between his apparent betrayal, His possible manipulation of the Nigerian hoi polloi, His weird budget, His catastrophic choices, his worrisome nonchalance, his undeterred self-absolution from all blames as concerning the current distemper and his sincere obsession with the revered Hollywood franchises ; Around the world in 80 days and Pirates of the Caribbean – At worlds end, one is lost as to which to be most vexed about. For reasons of convenience, and as the writer is a person cursed in mischievous humorousness, we would rather appreciate Buhari; the birdman and lover of Hollywood franchises.
For what reasons have the President decided the tow on the field and heave the yoke reserved for footballers playing the Champions League? Hopping in the style of Koredo Bello and with a careless abandon comparable only to that of Mongo Park from country to country? This question is imperative. Only if we acquire the answer to this query can we appropriately predict the placement of Nigeria in the next few years and decide upon an imminent course of action (for those of us who have options) President Muhammadu Buhari took over from Goodluck Jonathan on May 29 and since then, he has made a number of trips outside the country. In his first 181 days in office, Buhari traveled to 10 countries and would still visit more before the year ends. President Buhari has embarked on more foreign trips than he has done within the country, despite the unholy host of difficulties, and the ostensible degree of social, political and economic maladies pervading the country; from fuel scarcity to increase in the prices of literally everything in the market, to the preposterous drop in the worth of the Naira as compared to the Dollar, to the unwanted drop in the frequency of visitations by NEPA ( as they are to be perpetually called), to the impossibility of Tomatoes, to the resurrection of the Militants ( Now know as the avengers) and to the persistent insurgency in the North East. His frequent travels abroad has come under criticism as some are of the opinion that he is engaging in wasteful international pleasure trips that are consuming a significant amount of the country’s cash. Buhari’s has been to The US on two occasions. He has travelled to Niger, Chad, Benin, Ghana, South-Africa, France, Iran, India, Germany, China etc all while barely a year in power. The President had been argued to have embarked on about 2/3rds of the entire of his sojourns for no cogent reason. The contention is hinged on the argument that while the country has a lot of unwavering internal problems and mis-happenings ongoing, a soothe does not lie abroad as much as it lies in putting up a good fight back home. When he was campaigning, Buhari insisted time and time again that he would make the fight against corruption his major focus upon entering in to power. He further had
promised to use all in his power to curb insurgence in Nigeria. If for nothing else, these were his two major ‘selling-points’. As at then, the major source of unrest was the Boko-haram sect. Today, they find company in the Avengers and MASSOB amongst other dissatisfied fraternity. Somehow, one begins to wonder how the travel to Germany for instance helps on any of the above mentioned major fronts. Perhaps the President intends to learn more about the second world war in lieu of the imminent break down of affairs in the country? Otherwise, it ridicules reason and questions judgment that the country’s president would opt to travel so much and so often in the light of all of this. Recently, it became a vapid joke to assert that “Buhari visited Nigeria” . In all its humor, the joke makes a lot of points, now that the President is so frequently and so often away from the country, his brief cameos in the country should be more appropriately termed mere visits after all; the similarity is to easily made. The irony just as much; One of the most troubled countries in the world and our President visits from time to time. If there was ever a reason to be discontent at a government, the Buhari administration is fast becoming a prospect for general discontentment. Even the most controversial man on earth at the moment; a man who can hardly make a sensible line of sentences in a sequence just for effect, yet attests to the ridiculousness of Buhari’s indulgences. Donald Trump was quick to scorn the good-general whereupon he cast his most overwhelmed mind to the trivial detail that is Nigeria.
There are a lot of arguments in favor and against the good-general. While a condemnatory perspective is more generally appealing, a good number of Nigerians find reason to opt against the more comfortable perspective. They would offer as such, reasons why Buhari’s voyeurs can be considered necessaries. It would be wholesomely subjective to refuse to at least give ear to the lure of their logic. Within the creed that opt for an exultation of Buhari and his recent hobby would be the die-hard fanatics, the sheer optimists and the soul-infested partisans. One wonders in which of these categories, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama falls in. The Minister speaking on to a newspaper on the 30 of May 2016 argued that the overseas trips embarked upon by President Mohammed Buhari were carefully selected in line with certain priorities and development objectives of the country. The minister spoke in Lagos at a town hall meeting organized to brief the public on the activities of the government in the last 11 months. He said the President was not embarking on the trips just for the fun of it, stressing that some of them were already yielding results for the progress of the country. In his words, “When the President assumed office, the problem at that time was how to get the confidence of neighboring countries to support the war on terror. So, what the President did was to travel to Chad, Cameroun and other neighboring countries to seek a joint coalition, and now we can all see the results the country is recording against Boko Haram” he said. The minister also said some of the President`s trips to certain Western countries were at the invitation of these nations because they were moved by Buhari`s impressive credentials and goodwill. The minister listed the United States, the United Kingdom and France as some of the countries whose leaders invited Buhari, based on his goodwill. Onyeama also said the President`s recent trip to China was to attract the much-needed investments in agriculture, solid minerals, as well as other important sectors of the economy. He said in the face of falling oil prices, the country needed to diversify the economy and seek partnerships to strengthen it. Onyeama said the trip was successful as it yielded investment commitments from the Chinese government and investors. The Minister’s posits are not without their aesthetical appeal. However, it would be no surprise that the average Nigerian suffering in squalor would not share his sentiments. To them the whole hogwash about getting ‘international’ allies and amassing a continental army to curb a ‘national insurgence’ is just as much cheap paper talk and a purposeful attempt to duck cold-waters as it is ridiculous. To them, Buhari going to celebrate his ‘CV’ and ‘goodwill’ while the naira dwindles into worthlessness does not make as much sense. And perhaps, to them, the lack of foreign investments or shortage of foreign investment and investors in Nigeria, may not be the most ‘pressing’ issue given the avalanche of miasmas pervading the Nation. To them, perhaps the stat as regards Boko-haram may have been mis-placed. They would wonder how the visit to Cameroun, Niger, Benin or Chad has helped in the seeming everlasting fight against the terrorist sect. In furtherance of his arguments, the Minister went further to say that the Federal Government (Buhari) was committed to make Nigeria a strong voice in Africa and the rest of the world, and that the foreign policy of the present administration was to make the county a major player in the comity of nations. Again, and taking a panoramic overview of the state of “market affairs” in the country over for starters, the average Nigerian wonders as to how the presidency would concede that becoming a ‘major player’ in the ‘league’ of African nations is a most imperative concern or such a necessity of preponderant status as compared to other possible alternaatives as in acquiring some frith for the Nigerian polity at this juncture.
Not all of the Nigerian elite share Onyeama’s satisfaction with the extant status quo. The country cannot afford to waltz back into the same murk in which it batted in, in the previous administration at least in line with sheer common-sense. Goodluck johnathan trod a similar path at a time and fell to infamy by it among other things. Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, one of the most ardent critics of the current administration, in the heat of the controversies over Buhari’s trips, advised the President to stay at home and govern the country instead of junketing from one country to the other, saying; “foreign countries won’t solve our problems for us and the President’s incessant foreign trips is already bleeding the economy with about $1 million being spent per trip.” The governor, who said most of the trips embarked on by the President were unnecessary, added that ministers or at best the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo could have been made to attend most of the functions being attended abroad by the President.“The way the President is going, foreign trips alone might gulp 20 percent of the Federal Government budget and that will be disastrous for the dwindling economy of the country. “It is even more worrisome that while the economy is already in shambles and insecurity pervades the land with Boko Haram burning Nigerians, including children and women and the president would rather take a world tour” he lamented.
In the end of the day, Buhari’s endless voyeurs may not be utterly senseless or purposeless ( some at least). However, one can only but wonder how he has not been made acquainted with the fact that they are not appropriate or affordable at the current time.