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Outrage Over Trump’s Comment On PMB

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Following the controversial Financial Times report which claimed that the United States President, Donald Trump, allegedly referred to President Muhammadu Buhari as “lifeless” during his April visit to the US, Nigerians have upbraided the US administration for the reckless statement.

Though the US Embassy in Nigeria and the federal government have refrained from commenting on the report, concerned Nigerians yesterday described the statement purportedly made by Trump as ‘unpresidential’, insisting that if is true, it is an affront to Nigeria.

A cross section of Nigerians, who spoke to LEADERSHIP, expressed their frustrations about the statement.

Abubakar Sidi Aminu criticised the US President, saying that with the several allegations of improper conduct against Trump, he is morally unfit to attack Buhari in such a manner.

“Buhari has distinguished himself in character to deserve respect from the US president. Just last week, two of his close allies were found guilty and convicted. So, on what ground can Trump take President Buhari to the cleaners?” he queried.

Another commentator,  Dennis Akubueze Chukwuma, who said he was a banker, asserted that it was time African leaders stopped worshipping their western counterparts.

He advised that, in view of the current development, the Nigerian government should look inward for sustainable development initiatives instead of going cap in hand and be insulted.

“This is humiliating. I think we have had enough of the western bully.

“Whichever way we look at it, a borrower is a servant to the lender. Our dependence on these people for virtually everything is the highest source of humiliation,” he said.

President Trump was quoted to have referred to his President Buhari as “lifeless” shortly after a meeting between the two leaders on April 30, Financial Times said yesterday.

Buhari, the first sub-Saharan Africa president to meet with Trump in the White House since he was sworn in January 2017 as the 45th American president, was in the US for bilateral talks on Trump’s invitation.

But citing three persons familiar with the matter to back up its story, Financial Times yesterday reported that, that meeting ended with Trump saying he never wanted to meet someone as lifeless as Buhari again.

This new narrative is contrary to what Trump said of Buhari at a joint press briefing held after their bilateral talks.

Trump had said that he had implicit belief in the Nigerian president to rein in the “massive corruption” in the country and commended his efforts at doing that.

“Nigeria has a reputation for very massive corruption. I also know that the President has been able to cut that down very substantially,” Trump said. “We talked about that, he is working on it and they have made a lot of progress and I think they will continue to make a lot of progress.”

However, Trump has a history of making derogatory remarks when it comes to Africa.

Prior to the April meeting between the two leaders, Trump had come under fire for allegedly referring to some African countries as ‘shithole’ at a private White House meeting on January 12.

In uproar that trailed it, he denied making the comment and labelled his accusers as fake news peddlers.

Last week, South Africa accused him of fuelling racial tension in the country after he tweeted that there was a “large-scale killing of farmers” in the country.

His tweet came after a Fox News show about South Africa’s plan to change the constitution to speed up the process of taking lands from current White minority owners without compensation to redress racial imbalance in land ownership.

Meanwhile, both American and Nigerian governments have not reacted to the report published on the same day Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta will be at the White House.

A pro-President Muhammadu Buhari group has fired back at the United States President, Donald Trump, over the ‘lifeless’ comment he reportedly made referring to the Nigerian president.

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) noted that President Buhari had continued to show fitness and capacity to run the country post-2019.

It went further to observe that though the president’s 800 metre walk was not intended at showboating, it was an unscripted reference point that further proved a fit and lively president.

The BMO, in the statement signed by Niyi Akinsiju and Cassidy Maduekwe, its chairman and secretary respectively, noted that this was not the first time the US President was heard to make such derogatory remarks against other world leaders, and thus President Buhari would not be distracted by such.

“President Muhammadu Buhari is fit and capable to run for the 2019 election and oversee the affairs of the country for four more years, President Donald Trump’s hate speech notwithstanding”, the group said.

“We are aware that President Trump’s disrespect for world leaders is not new; his comments on Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling him ‘meek and mild’; his reference to Germany’s Leader, Angela Merkel’s actions as ‘insane’, or his outlandish Tweet at the UK’s Theresa May, and more recently, the alleged remarks he made after meeting President Buhari.

“It is indeed not the first time President Trump would be heard to lower the standards of respect for his colleagues on the world stage. We are not surprised; we know that this age-long character of the US President would not change anytime soon. But 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 noted that President Buhari would not be distracted by this report, whether it was indeed said or in fact unsaid, but would in his character continue to remain focused on his mandate to deliver on his promises to the Nigerian people.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday accused President Buhari and his handlers of exposing Nigeria to international ridicule following President Trump’s reported comment about the Nigerian leader.

Although the opposition party expressed reservations over Trump’s comment, it stated that the US President would not have had the opportunity to assess President Buhari’s level of incompetence and make such an embarrassing statement if he had not been presented the opportunity.

PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said such embarrassment was the backlash a nation gets when incompetent leaders, out of inferiority complex, resort to jumping around the world, desperately shopping for endorsement from world leaders.

“Nigerians are now surely worried over how other world leaders have been perceiving our president, who has not only failed in governance but has continued to demarket our nation in the international community,” he said, adding that President Buhari had been seeking international recognition that are not predicated on any achievements from his three years in office.

The statement added, “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 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.”



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