The presidency Tuesday said the alleged statement credited to the American president, Mr. Donald Trump describing his Nigerian counterpart as “lifeless” may have been planted in the media by the opposition.
It would be recalled that an article entitled ‘Africa looks for something new out of Trump’ published by the Financial Times, the paper wrote: “Donald Trump will welcome Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta to the White House on Monday for what will be only the second one-on-one meeting the US president has held with a sub-Saharan African leader since he took office last year.
“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.
Advocates of closer US-Africa ties hope his encounter with the younger, more urbane Mr. Kenyatta, 56, will breathe fresh life into a relationship with a region that Washington is seen to have neglected as other countries, notably China, develop ever-closer trade and investment ties with the continent.
“Trump likes chemistry…Africa has never been high on his radar but if the big guy likes you he’ll find a way to make things work.”
“Trump is widely criticised for not having an Africa policy. So it’s in his interest to have something from (meeting Kenyatta) he can present as a win.”
But speaking on a Channels Television interview, spokesman for the president, Mr. Femi Adesina the statement may not be true after all.
“It is unsubstantiated, it is unverified. Anybody could have planted
“In the jostle for power, people can do anything.”
Meanwhile, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) while reacting to the development described Trump’s remark as “embarrassing” stressing that the alleged statement showed how world leaders think of the Nigerian president.
The statement, it said, was an indication of how the Buhari government has failed Nigeria.
“The PDP says President Muhammadu Buhari and his handlers have opened our nation for international ridicule arising from reports quoting United States President, Donald Trump, describing President Buhari as ‘lifeless’.
“The party said such embarrassment is 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 says President Buhari has been seeking international recognitions that are not predicated on any achievements from his three years in office.
“PDP hereby charges Mr. President to take a cue from the comments ascribed to President Trump by settling down at home and discharge 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,” said PDP spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan in a statement.
Also reacting, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) said the American President was right in his assertion.
“The verdict of the President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Trump published in Financial Times describing President Muhammadu Buhari as a lifeless leader who does not understand the issues of governance is another affirmation of the widely held beliefs that Nigeria is running on autopilot and in danger of being thrown off the cliff by the crass incompetence of Mr. President,” said spokesman for CUUP, Mr. Ikenga Ugochinyere in a statement.