The visiting delegation of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, led by its Secretary General, Mohammed Barkindo, on Monday joined millions of Nigerians and well-wishers to pray for the quick recovery and return of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Buhari, who is currently in London, departed the country after writing the National Assembly on January 18 to notify the lawmakers of his decision to proceed on a 10-day vacation.
Though the vacation was to last for 10 days, the president extended it indefinitely for health reasons.
Since then, various groups and individuals, including the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, National Assembly and other well-wishers have trooped to the Nigeria House in London to visit and pray for the recovery of the President from an undisclosed illness.
On Monday, the OPEC delegation, led by Mr. Barkindo, a Nigerian, also prayed for Mr. Buhari.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Kachikwu, who received Mr. Barkindo and his delegation had spoken about the crucial role the President played towards the emergence of a Nigerian as the Secretary General of the oil producers’ group.
Mr. Kachikwu, who was reacting to Mr. Barkindo’s showers of commendation on him (the minister) for the support his candidacy received in the run up to the his elections, said all the accolades should rightly go to President Buhari.
The minister said the president not only believed in his judgment to have nominated Mr. Barkindo, but confirmed his candidature and did everything possible to ensure he emerged.
“All the positive things he (Barkindo) has said about my role in his emergence as the Secretary General (of OPEC) I see it as him dressing me in borrowed robes. I believe all the commendation should rightly go to President Buhari who did everything possible to ensure a Nigerian emerged as the head of OPEC Secretariat,” Mr. Kachikwu said.
While urging Nigerians to appreciate the President for his achievement, Mr, Kachikwu urged Mr. Barkindo, who is visiting Nigeria for the first time in his official capacity since his election, to request two members of his delegation – a Muslim and Christian – to offer prayers for the quick recovery of the President from his sickness and return back to the country.
“I will rather request the Secretary General to ask two members of his delegation to pray for the quick recovery and return to the country of the President.
“Nigerians have been praying for his recovery, but I don’t trust their prayers are working quick enough. May be God will hear the prayers of our visitors quickly and heal the President and bring him home tomorrow,” Mr. Kachikwu said jokingly.
Consequently, Mr. Barkindo nominated the Head of OPEC Petroleum Studies department, Ghanimi Fard, who offered prayers on behalf of Muslims, while Abiodun Ayeni, a Nigerian working at the OPEC Secretariat, also did so on behalf of Christians.
Mr. Barkindo, a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, was elected Secretary general of OPEC in June last year, and is in the country as part of his member country consultative visit.
He will also participate in the three -day 2017 Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in Abuja, which opened on Monday.