Presidency Says World Leaders Queue to Meet Buhari

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Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The Presidency Saturday in Beijing, China, boasted that both the entire world and its leaders now queue up to meet President Muhammadu Buhari, an experience it said showed that there was something unusual about him.

Answering questions from journalists in Beijing over the report that the United States President Donald Trump described Buhari as lifeless, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said the presidency had resolved not to react to the reporr.

However, he said besides something being unusual about the president, there is also something special about Nigeria that Buhari currently leads, arguing that the trend is a departure from the past when world leaders avoided Nigerian leaders.

Boasting that such developments have changed in the last three years, Shehu challenged Nigerians to appreciate the situation and view it as a major development.

“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,” he said.

Speaking on the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) holding on September 3 and 4 in Beijing, which Buhari is in China to attend, Shehu said Chinese funding of projects in Nigeria had doubled since the president came on board.

He added that with the 2018 FOCAC summit, Nigeria hopes to take more opportunities back to Nigeria.

“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 so, 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,” he added.