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Ex-Foreign Affairs Ministers Tackle Atiku, Tinubu, Obi over London Meetings

Ex-Foreign Affairs Ministers Tackle Atiku, Tinubu, Obi over London Meetings

Gboyega Akinsanmi

A body of former foreign affairs ministers and retired diplomats, the Nigerian Academy of International Affairs, has condemned leading presidential candidates and serving governors, among others, for leaving Nigeria to hold political meetings in London, Paris and Dubai.

The academy, set up for open and private debate on the emerging new world order, lamented that such a decision had already exposed Nigeria, directly or indirectly, to unwarranted Western influence.

In a statement by its President and former Minister of External Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, yesterday, the academy described the political meetings held by some presidential candidates outside the country as ill-advised and unwitting jamboree of shame.

The presidential candidates – Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Bola Tinubu of All Progressives (APC) and Mr. Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP) – had held separate meetings with Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike and his colleague-governors in London, Paris and Dubai.

Other governors at the meetings were Oyo State Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde; Benue State Governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom and Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, who aligned with Wike after Abubakar emerged the presidential standard bearer of PDP and  nominated Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, as his running mate.

As the feud between Abubakar and Wike grew worse by the day, Tinubu and Obi had preyed on the crisis, now courting Wike and his allied governors for support ahead of the 2023 presidential election scheduled to hold on February 25 due principally to his political influence in the south.

Concerned about the decisions of the presidential candidates, the academy said it was most unfortunate and heart-breaking that some Nigerian leaders had to abandon the shores of Nigeria for the ex-colonialists’ capitals of London and Paris in search of delusion-solutions to Nigeria’s problems.

Akinyemi, who issued the statement on behalf of 17 other former foreign affairs ministers and retired diplomats, lamented that some horse-trading, which dominated their so-called talks on bringing “enduring hope to Nigeria,” centred on counting their chickens before the eggs are hatched.

He said the ill-advised and unwitting jamboree of shame displayed by the leading political leaders “has demonstrated once more that the Nigerian environment created and polluted by them is not conducive to their vainglorious self-importance and unearned esteem.

“Consequently, and because of their Neo-colonial mentality, which blinded them from seeing and appreciating the goodwill and resilience of Nigerians, they preferred to savour Western atmosphere.

“The implication of which is the exposure of Nigeria directly or indirectly to unwarranted Western influence, particularly as they were perceived to be washing our dirty linens in the full glare of the world,” he lamented with grave concern about the future of Nigeria.”

While former Director General, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Prof. Bola Akinterinwa serves as its Secretary, other members of the academy were Lt. General Agwai Martin Luther, Prof. Joy Ogwu, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia (SAN), Prof. Jide Osuntokun, Prof. Alaba Ogunsanwo, Prof. Akin Oyebode and Amb. Godknows Igali and Director General of NIIA, Prof. Eghosa Osagie, among others.

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