It is indisputable that the greatest undoing of the President Muhammadu Buhari-administration is his praise singers. Since he assumed office on May 29, 2015, they have been moving from one television and radio station to another speaking vehemently in support of whatever decisions he has taken so far. His supporters who have the flair to write are also keeping the newspapers awash with opinions defending his actions too.
Recall, when Buhari wasted six months searching for his proverbial saintly and incorruptible ministers, the praise singers eulogized him to high heavens insisting it was the best decision ever taken by any Nigerian President. But when the names of the “angelic ministers” were released, the same people were perturbed and disappointed. Within the six months of searching for the sanctimonious ministers, Buhari ran the country as a sole administrator and the poor management of the economy are the pains Nigerians are reaping at the moment.
By November 2015 when he clocked 181 days, President Buhari had travelled to 12 countries under the delusion of seeking foreign investors. By May 2016, he has made 26 foreign trips! With the scenarios painted above, one can imagine the number of foreign trips he would make at the end of his four-year tenure in 2019. Reports had it that Buhari spent about N64 billion on foreign trips alone in just one year in office!
Since May 29, 1999, he remained the greatest critic of successive administrations. He criticised former President Olusegun Obasanjo for his excessive foreign travels. He took the same hardline position against the late former President Umaru Yar’Adua, but his criticism became more acidic and venomous against former President Goodluck Jonathan’s foreign journeys. As the Presidential candidate in the 2011 general elections under the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), one of the political parties that merged to form the All Progressive Congress (APC), he chided Jonathan over his foreign trips. CPC spokesman, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, stated: “It is conventional wisdom that charity begins at home. Unfortunately, President Jonathan has not imbibed this. Where did the incessant shuttles of Obasanjo’s eight years lead us to in terms of foreign investment? Did it positively affect our balance of trade?
Former National Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), now part of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, chastised Jonathan for his foreign trips too. Akande spoke through Mr. Lani Baderinwa and said: “We are not saying he should not travel abroad, but the mood of the country should dictate his sojourn abroad. The Brazil summit is likely to benefit Nigeria, but of what use is the summit when Nigerians are being killed on a daily basis?”
It is therefore baffling that the same people who condemned Jonathan for his foreign travels are extolling Buhari over his excessive travels even in the midst of incessant massacre of Nigerians by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen.
No doubt, the purported N64 billion that President Buhari has spent so far on foreign trips is a misadventure which ought not to, given the antecedents.