PDP, OBJ Coalition, others react to Trump’s alleged reference to Buhari as ‘lifeless’

* Presidents Buhari & Trump of America

A publication by Financial Times on the United States President, Donald Trump’s comment on President Muhammadu Buhari generated different reactions on Monday.

The newspaper in its recent publication stated that Trump called Buhari, “lifeless,” after their April meeting in Washington.

Financial Times, in the publication titled, ‘Africa looks for something new out of Donald Trump’, stated, “The first meeting, with Nigeria’s ailing 75-year-old Muhammadu Buhari in April ended with the US President telling aides he never wanted to meet someone so lifeless again, according to three people familiar with the matter.”

Contrary to the publication, Trump had, at a meet-the-press held by the two leaders, commended the Buhari administration. He lauded the President’s effort in tackling corruption and insurgency.

The American president had then called Nigeria one of the most beautiful places on earth, adding that he would love to visit the country someday.

Buhari has caused Nigeria international embarrassmentPDP

But Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, said Buhari and his handlers had opened Nigeria to international ridicule.

The party said such alleged embarrassment was what it described as a backlash a nation gets when “incompetent leaders, out of inferiority complex, resort to jumping around the world, desperately shopping for endorsement from world leaders.”

The party alleged that President Buhari had been seeking international recognition that “is not predicated on any achievements from his three years in office.”

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, who expressed the party’s view in a statement in Abuja on Monday, asked the President to stop junketing around the world and settle down to face his work in Nigeria.

He said, “The PDP hereby charges Mr President to take a cue from the comments ascribed to President Trump by settling down at home and discharging his responsibilities to Nigerians or humbly accept his failings.

“While the PDP has strong reservations on the reported comment by President Trump, for which we demand a response from the Buhari Presidency and the US White House, the party further holds that had our dear President not cheapened the exalted office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by his woeful outing during his visit to the United States, President Trump would not have had the opportunity to assess his level of incompetence and make such an embarrassing statement about our President.

“The PDP and indeed all well-meaning Nigerians are now sore worry over how other world leaders have been perceiving our President, who has not only failed in governance but has continued to de-market our nation in the international community. The PDP however urges Nigerians not to be downcast by the embarrassing situation the nation has found itself, especially as the 2019 general election, which comes in the next six months, offers the nation the ample opportunity to get it right on the choice of competent leadership Nigerians can be proud of.”

Afenifere urges Buhari to retire in 2019

The Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, says it believes Nigeria needs a strong and healthier president to run its affairs for the next four years from 2019.

Yinka Odumakin, the National Publicity Secretary of the group, stated this on Monday against the backdrop of a statement credited to the U.S. President, Donald Trump, that his meeting with Mr Buhari sometime in April was “lifeless”

The US President may have some issues, but on this one, he is right,” Mr Odumakin told PREMIUM TIMES on the phone.

He said Nigeria is certainly one of the important nations of the world and would not be doing well to have Mr Buhari, who has a history of medical vacation abroad, to manage her sundry challenges beyond 2019.

“Nigerian presidency is one of the most demanding in the world, and one of the most powerful presidents in the world and therefore, he needs to be extra fit, both physically and mentally to be able to cope with the demands of the office,” he said.

“If the health of our President is in such a state for the President of America to make such comments about his health, it shows clearly that if there is love for the country, the president should at the end of this four years, retire to his home and go and take care of his health and wanting to inflict another four years on this nation.”

Asked why he would trust Mr Trump’s judgement given the latter’s disrespect for leaders, Mr Odumakin said Nigerians did not need the U.S. president’s comments to know the true state of affairs with Mr Buhari.

Trump’s verdict on Buhari shows Nigeria on autopilotCUPP

In its reaction, the Coalition of United Political Parties said the verdict of Trump which described President Buhari as a lifeless leader “who does not understand the issues of governance,” was another affirmation of the alleged widely held belief “that Nigeria is running on autopilot and in danger of being thrown off the cliff by the crass incompetence of Mr President.”

In a statement by the spokesman for CUPP, Mr Ikenga Ugochinyere, the coalition called the verdict of Trump as a wake-up call for Nigerians to go and collect their permanent voter cards to enable them to perform the patriotic duty of electing a President in 2019 who understands what the issues are.

The statement read, “If President Trump took only one meeting to identify the huge problem we have been harping upon, then the world needs to pity Nigerians who have been bearing with a ‘lifeless’ President for over three years.

“Nigeria today is worse on economic indices than we were in 2015 and the national cohesion and peace accentuated by the seamless concession of victory by former President Goodluck Jonathan has been lost on the altar of nepotism, cronyism and ethnic supremacy being exhibited by President Buhari.

“The fabrics of our nationhood have been eroded by the myopic and divisive views of the President.”

It added, “Nigerians are once again reminded that Mr Trump is a septugenarian and was by no means referring to President Buhari’s age.

“He must have correctly referred to Mr Buhari’s intellectual incapacity and his legendary incompetence in national and international issues.”

Ugochiyere said that the revelation from Trump coming just a couple of days after President Buhari’s faux pas of subjecting the rule of law to the rule of one man emphasised exactly the view points of President Buhari.

“Indeed, Nigeria has returned to the dark ages where life is short and brutish,” he added.

Trump’s comment evidence that Buhari’s visit failedObasanjo’s coalition

The Coalition for Nigeria Movement led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo says the latest report on the comment purportedly made by Trump is evidence that Buhari’s visit to the US in April was not successful.

The spokesman for the CNM, Mr Akin Osuntokun, said this in an interview with one of our correspondents on Monday.

He said the coalition was not shocked by the comment as Trump had been known to make similar statements about others in the past.

Osuntokun, however, said the comment had vindicated the many Nigerians who had said that the meeting was not as fruitful as the President’s image makers had made it to look.

The CNM spokesman, who described the comment as insulting, said the comment was an insult to the Buhari administration.

He, however, said Buhari was also to blame as he lacked respect for the rule of law and had failed to take the value of lives and property seriously.

Osuntokun added, “The impression given by that comment of referring to Buhari as lifeless means he never took President Buhari seriously. You don’t describe a potential partner in such a derogatory manner. So, it means the aspect of the visit which was reported by the Nigerian delegation was not accurate.

“Those who described the visit as a failure have now been vindicated. But this is a man who believes the constitution is inferior to his own concept of national security. This is at variance with democracy and western powers take exception to such statements.

“What Trump said is a reflection of the minds of those who believe Buhari shouldn’t return.”

BMO flays Trump

The Buhari Media Organisation, in a statement by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and the Secretary, Cassidy Maduekwe, noted that that was not the first time the US President was making derogatory remarks about other world leaders.

It stated, “It is important that we put it on record that President Buhari remains fit and sprightly, even for the next decade.

“We recall that during President Buhari’s visit to Trump in the White House, the US President commended the successes that the Buhari administration had recorded especially in the fight against insurgency and the war on corruption.

“The US President was full of admiration for Nigeria’s President during the visit, thus such outlandish remarks as reported by the Financial Times are not just to be taken with a pinch of salt but are untrue in themselves.”

The BMO added that Buhari would not be distracted by the report.

We doubt if Trump said that FG

The Federal Government said that it was not sure President Donald Trump described President Muhammadu Buhari as “lifeless leader.”

It however said that if Trump said so, it would be of no significance since it said the President of the United States of America had earlier publicly endorsed Buhari.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke with one of our correspondents on the matter, however, said he was doubting the authenticity of the claim.

He said, “I doubt the authenticity of the claim that the President of the USA said that.

“But if truly he said so, then it is of no significance to us. This is because the same Trump publicly endorsed and applauded the President for a job well done.”

* Culled from The PUNCH