Monday, May 17, 2021

REVIEW: How Buhari, Osinbajo performed last week

Security challenges received continued attention, talks held with U.S. and Zambian leaders and the president fell out with Father Mbaka.

• May 2, 2021
Buhari and Osibanjo
President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo

Following the bloody events in the country last week, the influential Catholic cleric Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka, who previously described Buhari as a “messiah,” called for the resignation or impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari because of the current unwholesome development nationwide.

In a statement signed by the presidential spokesman Garba Shehu on April 30, the presidency expressed shock over “the sudden U-turn of Father Mbaka, a die-hard supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is now asking the president to resign or be impeached because he failed to secure contracts from the presidency.”

The presidential spokesman, who made the revelation in the statement, said that Father Mbaka’s outburst was because President Buhari characteristically refused to accede to his demands to secure juicy contracts from the presidency.

The week had begun on a sad note with condemnation trailing the presidency over the killing of three of the students kidnapped at Greenfield University in Kaduna State.

Mr Buhari berated the utterances of some political and religious leaders, whom he said seemed to be inciting and causing more pain for the mourning families.

On April 24, Mr Buhari expressed his condolences on the death of the mother of the Emirs of Kano and Bichi, Hajiya Maryam Ado-Bayero.

“I have received the news of her death with profound sadness. She was a great and revered mother, who was a fountain of inspiration not only for her family but also others who had interacted with her,” he said.

On the same day, Mr Buhari met with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the meeting was part of an ongoing strategic engagement with stakeholders aimed at finding solutions to the nation’s current security and socio-economic challenges.

Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Mr Gbajabiamila reiterated the commitment of the National Assembly to continuing to assist Buhari as “he works hard to find lasting solutions to current security challenges confronting the nation.”

On April 27, Mr Buhari met separately behind closed doors with Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno and a former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, at his official residence in the Presidential Villa.

NAN learnt that Zulum used the opportunity of the meeting to update the president on security developments in Borno, while Tinubu thanked the president for his support during the 12th Asiwaju Bola Tinubu Colloquium held in Kano last March.

Mr Buhari had earlier, on the same day, held a virtual meeting with U.S. Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, where he pleaded with the U.S. government to reconsider relocating the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) from Stuttgart, Germany to the Gulf of Guinea, nearer the Theatre of Operation.

The Nigerian leader noted that AFRICOM should be relocated to Africa to strengthen ongoing efforts to check insecurity in Africa.

He also pleaded with the international community to support Nigeria and the West African sub-region in tackling growing insecurity.

On the same day, the vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo, represented Mr Buhari at the commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Republic of Sierra Leone in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

On April 28, Mr Buhari presided over a meeting of the Federal Executive Council, where the Ministries of Petroleum Resources, Foreign Affairs and Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development made presentations.

Those in attendance at the meeting were Mr Osinbajo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, and others who attended physically and virtually.

The president also hosted a special envoy of the Zambian President, Edgar Lungu, at the State House on April 29, assuring that Nigeria and Zambia would deepen collaboration for the good of their people and benefit of the African continent as a whole.

The Special Envoy, Joseph Malanji, who is Zambia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, thanked Nigeria for its “big brother role in ECOWAS and the African continent,” stressing that “equity is when strong ones strengthen the weak ones.”

On his part, Mr Osinbajo participated virtually at the 2021 High-Level Dialogue on Feeding Africa, where he disclosed that 100, 000 new extension agents were being trained for farmer advisory service delivery.

On April 30, the presidency expressed its disappointment and sadness with Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue over accusations levelled against Mr Buhari following the recent killing of soldiers and residents of the state.

The presidential spokesman said that no responsible government would take pleasure in the killing of troops and innocent citizens, taking refuge in an internally displaced people’s camp.

Mr Shehu said that the president was deeply pained by the terrible acts of violence, happening not only in Benue but also in other parts of the country.

The spokesman quoted Buhari as again directing law enforcement agencies to go to any length to catch perpetrators of the crimes and bring them to justice.

Disturbed by reported cases of insecurity being experienced in some parts of the country, the president on April 30, again summoned a meeting of security chiefs to address the menace.

Mr Buhari vowed that his administration would do all it would to defeat forces of evil marauding in different parts of the country and killing innocent citizens.

In attendance at the meeting were the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor; Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Awwal Zubairu; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Ishiaka Amoo and the acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba.

The meeting was adjourned to May 4.

Despite constant promises of fighting insurgency and putting a stop to the activities of bandits, the country continues to experience different forms of insecurity at an exponential rate.

Meanwhile, Mr Buhari also announced the re-appointments of Otunba Segun Runsewe as Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture and that of Folorunso Coker as Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation.

Both of them were given fresh four-year terms.

Adedayo Thomas was also re-appointed as Executive Director of the National Film and Video Censors Board for another term of four years.

According to the presidential spokesman, the president also approved the appointment of Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed as the Chief Executive Officer/Artistic Director of the National Troupe of Nigeria. Mr Ahmed was, until his appointment, director of culture in Bauchi.


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