PDP queries Buhari’s absence from UN meeting
• Faults President’s remarks on ministers’ value
• Lauds U.S. for giving Chad basin nations $6.8 million
THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday condemned the absence of Nigeria from a meeting of the United Nations in New York where the plight of persons displaced by insurgency and terrorism activities was discussed.
At a press conference addressed by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh in Abuja yesterday, the party also decried the unsavoury remarks by Buhari against the value of ministers, pointing out that such comments could weaken the performance of those who would be appointed ministers.
Metuh’s press briefing tagged: “The decline of democratic ideals,” reads in part:
“The recent case of the absence of Nigeria at one of the key listed meetings at the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York, where the issue of humanitarian crisis arising from the insurgency in Lake Chad countries including our country was the main agenda, further asserts the ineptitude of the handlers of the President on national and international issues.
Whilst we reserve our comments on the numerous gaffes by the Nigerian delegation, we decry the huge embarrassment caused by the delegation’s dereliction of duty, profusely manifested in the snubbing of a crucial meeting where countries affected by Boko Haram insurgency sought international assistance for millions displaced by the scourge.
Whereas, other affected Chad Basin countries were fully represented, the government of Nigeria, which has the biggest challenge of displaced persons, was nowhere to be found. Much more pathetic and shocking, but very revealing of the insincerity and ineptitude of those around the President was the disconcerting excuse by an aide of the President in trying to explain away this blunder.
Instead of admitting failure and apologising to Nigerians, the Presidency sought to hoodwink the public by claiming that the meeting was not one of the official events for which the President and his delegation are in New York, only for the official brochure of the meeting tagged, ‘High Level Event on the Lake Chad Basin,’ to show that ‘high level representation from the government of Nigeria’ was scheduled to make contributions at the meeting.
Further reports indicate that due to the importance of that meeting, it was broadcast on United Nations’ official online television and radio channels, while officials of world bodies have continued to register their disappointment in our country due to the incompetence of the APC-led government.
‘‘It is disheartening to note that the same meeting the President Buhari-led delegation shunned actually yielded a fall out of $6.8 million announced by the United States as funding for regional aid efforts.
‘‘If not for possible insensitivity to the plight of those affected by insurgency, what other reason has this government for its absence from such a crucial meeting aimed to find ways of bringing relief to its displaced citizens?”
The PDP further lamented that Buhari’ leadership could cause damage to the image of Nigeria.
Even more disturbing is the diplomatic mix-up, which resulted in the breach of protocol, crass ineptitude and monumental embarrassment in the late appearance of the President during the Head of the Vatican, Pope Francis’ meeting with other world leaders. This is most damaging to the image of the country, especially as we note that the damage did not arise out of disrespect for the head of Vatican, the Pope but due to the incompetence of those around our beloved President.
Whereas, we have in the past stated our support for efforts towards the fight against insurgency, we wish to register our deep concern regarding the clear show of lack of seriousness on the part of the present administration in tackling this problem and bringing succour to affected persons.
‘‘It is depressing to note that apart from the efforts by the Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP administration in training, military hardware and fortifying the country’s military before leaving office in May, no tangible investment has been made by the present administration in that direction due to its apparent lack of focus.”‘‘The fallout is the resurgence of terrorists who were, before the May 29 handover date, already pushed to the verge of surrender in the Sambisa Forest.”
Also condemning Buhari’s comments on the value of ministers, the PDP noted that “such a stance goes a long way to show that the flip-flopp promise of our President to name a cabinet, a deadline which he shifted from two weeks on assumption of office to end of September, is actually a reluctant pledge and done under great duress.”
The party stated: “From his hesitancy and comments, it is deducible that President Buhari never intended to appoint ministers but rather prefers to run a monocracy and evidently does not value or respect those he would nominate as ministers.
‘‘Otherwise, how can anyone repackage the mindset of the President when he, in an interview with France 24 Television in France, stated categorically that his preference is to rule without a cabinet and denigrated ministers as ‘noise makers,’ and of no importance or value in the running of an administration?
‘‘Given this worrisome outlook, it is obvious that the Presidency would not attach any value or importance to the ministers under the ‘new sheriff.’
Could this also be part of the reason for the relentless onslaught against the National Assembly, which must be weakened and prevented from playing its constitutional role of checks and balances in the system?”