Is President Buhari the new Minister for Tourism?

To attend a forum on Africa-China cooperation, President Muhammadu Buhari will reportedly visit Johannesburg, South Africa this week. This announcement was made on the speculation that the President will return from Paris before the week runs out. With Buhari’s busy schedule, plenty of which has been traveling around the world, Nigerians have been complaining about his inaction. Some allege that the President’s numerous foreign trips have consumed a significant amount of money from the nation’s purse.

In a report by Sahara Reporters, it was estimated that Buhari and his officials spend between $350,000 – $500,000 for a two day trip.


Also, Buhari has supposedly made 12 foreign trips earning him the moniker – “Minister for Tourism”, while on , he has only been on a few official trips within Nigeria.

In defense and response to the critics of the President, Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity implied that Buhari has manifested change by travelling with only 32 delegates unlike Goodluck Jonathan, his predecessor. “In the delegations accompanying him abroad, President Buhari has slashed the numbers, bringing them down to a tolerable or the bearable minimum. He went to the United Nations General Assembly in September with an unbelievable 32 officials in his delegation. These included his cook, his doctor and luggage officer. His predecessor in office went to the same meeting with 150 officials and family members the year before.”

Also, Shehu stated that “President Buhari’s foreign visits have been marked by punishing schedules. They are always business-like and results-oriented. All trips have been marked by tight schedules. Meeting after meeting, happening back-to-back morning, afternoon and evening. The President has had to travel overnight for some of these meetings. The visit by any president to another country is the highest act in international relations. It sends out a message that that county is important to the visitor.”

However, in response to this, Ben Murray Bruce, a member of the opposition party (Peoples’ Democratic Party-PDP) tweeted out a statement pointed out that Nigeria’s visit to other countries should be reciprocated.

Garba Shehu has insisted that these trips are necessary in order to participate in “discussions involving political leaders, the military, the diplomats and business people” which will in turn aid the growth of the economy, but it seems Nigerians want results, and change- now.

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