By ‘Dotun Akintomide
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has challenged the presidency to explain why President Muhammadu Buhari who left Washington two days ago after a visit to the U.S. President Donald Trump did not return promptly, until Thursday night.
The party urged the presidency also to end its official secrecy and come clear on the reasons for President Buhari’s alleged ‘technical stopover’ in London.
“The president had a technical stopover in London. I am sure if you keep your ears to the ground, you will hear of his arrival soon.” The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu said Thursday, earlier before Buhari’s arrival.
“So the technical stopover I talked about is that the journey from US to Abuja is broken into two. Technical stopover is that the plane stops at a point, refuel, do some checks and then proceed on the journey.
“This is very normal. There is nothing unusual about it. In any case, they are already on their way back home.” He said.
Expressing its displeasure in a statement Thursday, PDP said that it is inviting Nigerians to note that President Buhari left the United States 48 hours ago, yesterday, and embarked on an unofficial visit to the United Kingdom for undisclosed reasons without transmitting a letter to the National Assembly.
The party insists that the action demonstrates impunity and another constitutional breach.
“President Buhari had on Tuesday left the United States, where he had an embarrassing and fruitless outing and instead of returning to the country, detoured to the UK for another private visit without regard to full disclosure requirements of our constitution and laws.
“Indeed, Nigerians are worried about the signal being sent out by this penchant for secret itinerary, particularly, given the poor reputation and governance transparency issues confronting our nation under the Buhari administration,” PDP said through Kola Ologbodiyan, its publicity secretary.
The party urged the presidency to understand that President Buhari is not a private citizen and as long as his upkeep and itinerary is sourced from tax payers’ money, there must be full disclosure, as citizens deserve to know the purpose of the visit and the cost to the country.
“This is especially as President Buhari’s foreign trips, which come at great costs, have not brought any gains to our country.
Instead, the president has continued to de-market our nation in the international arena. The just concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, where he cast aspersion at our enterprising youths and failed to return with any dividend readily comes to mind,” Ologbodiyan said.
This concern, it was gathered may not be unconnected with the several medical vacations the President has had since he assumed power in May 2015.
After one of such medical vacations in August, 2017, spending 104 days in London, Buhari claimed, “I have never been this sick all my life,” though the exact ailment remains a top secret till date.