President Muhammadu Buhari has continued his foreign trips in a bid to repair Nigeria’s reputation which was severely damaged by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said on Monday.
Fashola, in an article titled, “PMB’s foreign trips — My takeaway,” also stated that Buhari’s intervention in the global oil and gas sector led to the recent stability in crude oil prices.
The minister further stressed that Nigeria currently has the support of the world’s seven most powerful countries. He attributed this to the visit the President made during a meeting of the G7 countries in Germany, last year.
On why he decided to make this public, Fashola stated that he sought to ensure that every Nigerian who cared about the country had some information about what the President was doing.
He stated that barely two decades ago, Nigeria was ostracised from global events because of bad governance, adding that the country lost the respect accorded nations like ours.
Explaining what transpired during the recent meeting with top government officials in China, the former Lagos State governor stated that six collaborative agreements were signed.
He added, “This last mentioned agreement was a legitimate coup by PMB, because the intelligence was that some West African countries were going to sign before us. PMB seized the moment. Of course, he had to apologise for our previous failures on our agreement made to part-fund four airport projects in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt and the Abuja-Kaduna rail project.
“The Chinese had provided their agreed part of 85 per cent but the remaining 15 per cent Nigeria did not honour during the last administration. Some of the recent revelations about financial scandals estimated at $2.1bn in the Office of the National Security Adviser alone during the last administration suggest how impactful such funds would have been in delivering these critical infrastructures; but we all know what happened.
“This is why PMB is travelling. To repair our reputation severely damaged by the last government, and to assure our partners that Nigeria has changed. From there, to renegotiate an existing funding agreement to complete critical transport infrastructure.”
On the G7 meeting in Germany, the minister noted that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, as host, had invited Buhari on his inauguration to be their guest, along with some three or four other African countries.
The agenda of the meeting, he said, was global security, economy and health in the aftermath of Ebola, which was still raging in some African countries then.
Fashola stated that apart from the personal aides of the President, other officials who accompanied Buhari on the trip were Governor Shettima of Borno State, General Abdulrahman Dambazau and himself.
He noted that participants at the meeting highlighted the difficulty of time and the resources that it would take to develop new antibiotics and the risk to global health.
The minister said, “If we all appreciate how vulnerable we can be without effective antibiotics, especially our children, and if we remember how low life expectancy was and how poor global health was before the discovery of Penicillin after the World War, we will appreciate the seriousness of the platform to which Nigeria was invited. I was proud that our President was there.