Former presidential aide and spokesperson to ex President Goodluck Jonathan and now columnist, Dr. Reuben Abati has called for ‘an independent and rigorous study of connotations’ of the trips that made by President Muhammadu Buhari and other top government officials to Saudi Arabia before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
The former presidential spokesman says this is necessary given the numerous times the president and other top government officials have been away.
Writing in his popular every Tuesday column in which he discussed the protests that greeted recent appointments by Senate President Ahmed Lawan by members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Abati noted that though Saudi Arabia has always been Nigeria’s strategic partner, “the kind of Saudi Arabian sycophancy that the current government has been demonstrating is the most bizarre that I have seen.”
Recounting recent trips of President Buhari and other government officials to Saudi Arabia and arguing his case for the probe of the trips, columnist noted that: “Shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was inaugurated for a second term on May 29, 2019, his first assignment in office was to jet off to Saudi Arabia for a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
“Barely 10 days before then, he was shown observing the Umrah (lesser hajj) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The incumbent Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila have both followed in the President’s footsteps, visiting Saudi Arabia, either before or after their emergence as heads of the National Assembly.
“The number of trips that have been made to Saudi Arabia by the Nigerian ruling elite, before, during and after the 2019 general elections deserves an independent and rigorous study of its own for all its connotations.
“These trips are not limited to religious observances; there have been reports of interactions with Saudi officials. Even Christian officials working for the Buhari administration have had to visit Saudi Arabia, decked in traditional Saudi garbs.
“For more than the reasons of spiritual pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia has always been Nigeria’s strategic partner, but the kind of Saudi Arabian sycophancy that the current government has been demonstrating is the most bizarre that I have seen. Our embassy in Saudi Arabia must be the busiest mission that we have. Were Saudi Arabia to allow dual citizenship, many of our political leaders would have since joined the queue to beg for Saudi citizenship. For now, they have just turned it into their second London and they go and return, and do not fail to flaunt the trips in our face.”