Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has stated reasons why the Nigerian Government will not respond to a statement credited to President Donald Trump of the United States of America that Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari was ‘lifeless’, following a visit to the White House earlier this year.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on arrival, in Beijing, China for the 7th Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) scheduled to hold September 3 – 4, 2018, said the fact that the entire world were queuing up to meet with President Buhari was an indication he was doing something right.
Shehu spoke against the back dropped of the British Prime Minister, Theresa May’s visit to Abuja, on Wednesday, and that of German Chancellor, Ms Angela Merkel, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Shehu said the Presidency was by any means perturbed by Trump’s comment, saying, “You know that as a policy, we said that we are not going to answer the American President, however, the fact that the entire world and world leaders are queuing up to meet President Muhammadu Buhari, is an indication that there is something about President Buhari, there is something about the Nigeria he now leads, that the world likes.
“I think that Nigerians themselves should better look at this from this positive point of view. It is a major development. We had situations in the country in the past where key world leaders didn’t want to meet our own leaders, all of that has changed in the last three years.”
On the expectations of Nigeria from the summit and other meetings, the President’s media aide said, “You know that from the last summit in South Africa, the Chinese financing of projects in Nigeria has more than doubled under President Muhammadu Buhari and, therefore, we expect that if the same momentum is maintained, we hope that going forward, all of the projects that are outstanding like the Kaduna-Kano rail project, the coastal rail scheme, Mambilla power project, the second phase of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport expansion project, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja/ Kano and all of these projects, they will move more steadily and thankfully, we have virtually everyone who matters on our own side.
“So, we hope that whatever is left, the dotted lines will be signed, and we are hoping that we will take back with us, quite a number of schemes that will take Nigeria forward.”
President Buhari is accompanied on the China trip by four governors, four senators including Godswill Akpabio, eight ministers, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, the Director General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar and the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Maikanti Baru.