Buhari has visited 16 African countries, seven Asian countries, five European countries and one country in North America.
Further scrutiny revealed that the United States of America and the United Kingdom rank tops on the list of visits by the Nigerian President followed by France, Chad and Saudi Arabia.
Other countries that have received Buhari and his entourage more than once include Niger, China, Germany, South Africa, Benin, Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Senegal and Gambia.
The countries President Buhari visited once include Cameroon, India, Sudan, Iran, Malta, Ethiopia, Qatar, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, Mali, Poland, Jordan, Liberia and Japan.
Since the country returned to constitutional democracy in 1999, Nigerian Presidents have shown a propensity for foreign travels. Buhari visited close to 40 countries. Former President Goodluck Jonathan visited at least 30 countries between 2010 and 2015, while former President Olusegun Obasanjo had a record of 97 countries he visited from 1999 -2007.
Nigerians judged former Presidents Jonathan and Obasanjo harshly for their numerous foreign trips while in office.
In 2012, ex-President Jonathan travelled out at least 20 times. This prompted a comparison between him and Obasanjo, who was widely publicised as one of the most travelled presidents, clocking with an impressive 93 foreign trips within his first three years in office.
Obasanjo reportedly spent, no less than, 340 days outside the country during his Presidency and travelled 400 times between 1999 and 2007.
Every Nigerian ruler has canvassed the same excuse for frequent travels out of the country. During the Obasanjo years, the explanation was that the country had just emerged from a totalitarian rule. Nigeria was largely estranged from the civilised world at that time, therefore, Obasanjo needed to repair the poor image of the country by embarking on these shuttle diplomacy.“
According to Obasanjo, “I travelled extensively, canvassing global understanding and our mainstreaming into the new world order, not only for Nigeria, but for the whole of Africa. By the time I finished my two-terms, I had travelled to 97 countries.”
Replying to criticism of Buhari’s frequent foreign trips, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said that “those trips by the President are not jamborees, but for the good of the country.”
He said further that the President embarked on the trips to negotiate with foreign countries on how to repatriate stolen funds stashed in foreign accounts abroad, to seek assistance from world leaders in his administration’s fight against corruption, promote trade and investment as well in the quest to revitalise the country’s dilapidated infrastructure in the areas of rail, power and roads and other critical sectors.
Spokesman of the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kola Ologbondiyan described Buhari’s frequent travels as wasteful. He said his travels have not resulted in increased direct foreign investments into the country, but the loss of businesses and jobs.
Buhari will spend a total of N1 billion on local and foreign trips in the 2019 fiscal year.
*Buhari has visited 16 African countries, seven Asian countries, five European countries and one country in North America.
*Buhari will spend a total of N1 billion on local and foreign trips in the 2019 fiscal year