Former aide of President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, has berated President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, reminding him with facts that the former President received more world leaders than his principal had in the past three years of his administration.
Shehu had said in China that the fact that world leaders are queuing up to meet President Buhari is an indication that there is something about him and that there is something about the Nigeria he now leads that the world likes.
The Presidential spokesman further said that there were situations in the country in the past where key world leaders didn’t want to meet ex Nigerian leaders noting that all of that has changed in the last three years.”
Responding, Omokri said Shehu’s statement smacks of desperation from an administration with no tangible achievements to show to the Nigerian public, hence the need to clutch at straws.
He said it is not true that key world leaders didn’t want to meet “our own leaders” during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations of the 16 years before May 29, 2015 and it is certainly not true that Nigeria did not play host to world leaders during the Jonathan administration.
In a statement sent to THISDAY yesterday, Omokri said “The fact remains that more world leaders visited Nigeria during the tenure of President Jonathan than have visited Nigeria in the last three and a half years and I will proceed to prove it with dates, facts and figures.
“It is a historical fact that Nigeria under President Jonathan hosted major world leaders in Abuja, including German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who visited Abuja between July 14-15, 2011, then French President, Francois Hollande, who visited between February 27-28, 2014 and then Lebanese President, Michel Suleiman, who visited between March 18-19, 2013.
“The then British Prime Minister, David Cameron, also visited Nigeria between July 18-19, 2012 and while in Nigeria, Mr. Cameron said: “Which country is predicted by some to have the highest average GDP growth in the world over the next 40 years? You might think Brazil, Russia, India or China. No. Think Africa. Think Nigeria.”
“Can any of the visiting world leaders to Nigeria under the regime Garba Shehu serves say the same thing of Nigeria of today, Omokri queried!
Omokri added that it was not only Western leaders that visited Nigeria under Jonathan. “The Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, visited Nigeria between May 5-7, 2014. China, is the world’s second largest economy. Such a visit is a big deal.
“From South America, then Brazilian President, Dilma Roussef, visited Nigeria under Jonathan between February 24-25, 2013. Nigeria also welcomed the President of the largest Muslim country on earth, when Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang-Yudhoyono, visited between February 2-3, 2013.
“Permit me to also note that under President Buhari, there has not been a major gathering of multiple world leaders in Nigeria, unlike during the Jonathan administration when Nigeria played host to more than 900 global leaders from the spheres of government, business, academia and civil society at the three-day World Economic Forum meeting in Abuja from May 7 to May 10, 2014.”
According to him, Garba Shehu’s boast can be seen for what it is, a hollow lie from a habitual sycophant in a bid to drag the previous Nigerian government into their feud with US President Donald Trump.
He urged him to explain to Nigerians why President Buhari who purportedly shared $322 million Abacha loot to the ‘poor has gone ahead to sign a $328 million ‘soft loan’ agreement in China.