The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has blamed President Muhammadu Buhari for the ‘misconduct’ of his ministers and other government officials who were absent at a scheduled meeting with investors in the U.S.
According to the party, the ministers abandoned the meeting with investors to “gallivant” in that country.
The PDP in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologondiyan, said the officials had the “temerity to pursue personal interests across the United States” because they knew that even if their act was brought to the attention of the president, “he will claim that he is not aware.”
The party challenged the president to “give an account of his ministers and other government officials who abandoned the meeting.”
The government officials, who were supposed to have sessions at the event, were conspicuously absent, raising worries that Nigeria might lose investment opportunities by their absence.
Daily Trust had reported that officials who were billed to have sessions at the programme but were absent include the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kwachukwu; Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh; Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi; and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah.
The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Ameachi, whose name did not appear on the itinerary, appeared briefly at the meeting but disappeared after a few minutes, the report added.
The event had in attendance Wilbur Ross, United State Secretary of Commerce; Sergio Pimenta, IFC Regional Vice President ( Middle East and Africa); C.D Glin, President and CEO, U.S African Development Foundation ((USADF), among others.
Speaking earlier to journalists at the programme on Saturday, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, expressed displeasure at the absence of government officials at the meeting.
“For the person sitting in London and who has a billion dollars to invest, he’s got Nigeria, he’s got Ghana, he’s got Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa. You may be the biggest economy, but he may decide that rather than go through the hassle of investing $500 million in nigeria, why not put $100 million in Ghana, $100 million in Rwanda, $100 million in Cote d’Ivore, just to have diversification benefit and the benefit of reaching out.
“There is no reason why we should start one hour late, and there is no reason why the public address system should not work. Because at the end of the day, this is the first point of the country, he hasn’t even come to Nigeria so what will be his experience in Abuja and he is saying if I am having this experience in Washington, what will happen when I go to Abuja, when I go to Kano, how do I get to see the governor, will it take me 10 hours?,” an angry Mr Sanusi had said.,
This embarrassing development, according to the PDP is “a clear reflection of the recklessness and laissez-faire attitude of the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration towards governance, resulting in the biting economic recession and other woes plaguing our nation under President Buhari’s watch”.
“It is now clear to Nigerians why the APC and the federal government have not been able to attract any meaningful Foreign Direct Investment to the country in the last three years of President Buhari’s administration. Instead, the ones it inherited are pulling out.
“How can APC government officials sent to attend investors’ meetings abandon their duties and engage in personal abroad? Painfully, they blame everybody but themselves for the choking economic situation of the country in the last three years.”
The party also urged the National Assembly to summon the ministers involved.
“It is now clear to all that the APC do not have the interest of our country at heart and Nigerians must spare no efforts in joining forces with the PDP to vote them out and reinstate a purposeful and productive administration, come 2019,” the PDP said.