President Muhammadu Buhari has come under attack for his frequent foreign trips. It would be recalled that he recently travelled to Russia where he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Russian government for the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company, building of rail lines and provision of military weapons to Nigeria.
After that he went to Saudi Arabia with his entourage. It is reported that the president’s trip to Saudi Arabia will benefit Nigeria in the area of petroleum industry and insecurity which the two countries have in common.
However, the barrage of criticism that continues to trail the frequent foreign trips indicate that Nigerians have failed to see the immediate gains or benefits of his trips or assumed it was just a jamboree.
The president, since he assumed office, has embarked on 78 foreign trips, spending 285 days in the United Kingdom for medical purposes. Is there anything wrong with this globetrotting? According to international relations, no country can live in isolation.
Countries need one another; they have to reach out to their friends’ or nation-states for assistance, business and collaboration. For instance, in the early life of Buhari’s first tenure, when Boko Haram continued wreaking havoc on helpless Nigerians, he had to visit Chad and Cameroon; these neigbouring countries share borders with Nigerian and it was believed some of their villages served as hideouts for the terrorists.
It is a big mistake to think the president should confine himself within Nigeria; the country has been battling with myriad of problems like corruption, insecurity and a worsening economy. These multi-faceted challenges demand quick solutions and collaboration. The president needs to travel to solicit for help.
Ibrahim Mustapha Pambegua,