By Nwafor Sunday
….As Adesina clarifies and educates Reno on G7 and Japan invitation
….Buhari is desperate to distract attention from G-7 snub – Reno insists
Mr Femi Adesina, special adviser on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, has engaged the former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Pastor Reno Omokri in a battle of knowledge.
While Reno was against Buhari’s visit to Japan to participate in the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) holding in the City of Yokohama, Adesina was reeling out the importance of Buhari’s visit to Nigeria.
Reno argued that the reason why Buhari was not invited to the G-7 summit was because of his misrule and poor leadership skills, noting that he went to Japan to distract attention from G-7 snub.
He equally accused Buhari of being received by a junior minister, saying that he went to Japan same time the Japanese Prime Minister was in Biarritz, France, attending the G-7 summit. He said that Buhari went to Japan to cover his embarrassing snub from G-7 summit.
In his reaction Adesina says the following:
“From concerns and comments on the social media, one is compelled to make some clarifications. No, not in response to futile efforts by some shadowy group to convince Nigerians that their President was not in Japan, or that they were going to molest him. That does not really deserve any answer. To those who believe, no explanation is necessary, while to the cynics and sceptics, no explanation is possible. We leave them in their follies.
The first concern somebody raised was why President Buhari was in Japan, when the G7 was meeting in France. Funny, but let’s educate those who are of such minds. Is Nigeria part of G7? No. So, no Nigerian leader, or leader of any non-member country, can gatecrash into the meeting of the association. You need to be invited. Recall that in 2015, about a week after his inauguration, the first trip President Buhari made outside Africa was to attend the G7 meeting in Germany. He had been invited to brief the association on the security challenges in Nigeria, so that helping hand could be offered.
You don’t stroll into G7 meeting, if you are not a member country. You gotta be invited.
Somebody also said the Nigerian President was in Japan, when his host, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was in France, saying it didn’t show seriousness. Really? TICAD 7 starts Wednesday. The Nigerian leader arrived here Monday. When else should he have come? The journey from Abuja to Japan is 17 hours. Do you do that by hop, step and jump? Or you use what the Yoruba call ‘Kanako,’ in which you just stamp your foot on the ground, and you find yourself where you want to go, in a jiffy? Some people must just criticize, for the very fun of it.
And then, another person said all the African leaders congregating in Japan for an African conference were stupid, because they should have insisted that the conference hold in Africa. When I read the comment, the Scripture verse that came to my mind was, “Why do the heathens rage, and the people imagine vain things?”
It has been said many times in our statements and press releases that TICAD started in 1993, as an event of every five years in Tokyo, till the format was changed to every three years, to rotate between Tokyo and Africa. TICAD 6 thus held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016. So, why are some people still wailing? China holds Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). It rotates between Africa and Beijing. Since it started in year 2000 as a triennial affair, Ethiopia, Egypt, and South Africa have hosted it. As well as Beijing. That is the structure that is also emerging for TICAD. But some people simply refuse to get informed.
Apart from Japan, other co-organizers of TICAD 7 are the UN, World Bank, UNDP, and African Union Commission. Participants include African countries, international organizations, development partners, private companies, civil society, and others. For instance, Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr Tony Elumelu, is billed to give a keynote address.
Somebody else wailed online: it’s just a talk-shop. Africa and Nigeria gain nothing at the end of the day. Japan just wants to milk the continent, and improve her own economy.
Since 1993, when TICAD started, Africa has received numerous grants and technical assistance. In the first five years, Japan built 1,321 elementary and middle schools, improved 4,778 healthcare and medical facilities, and provided safe water to additional 10.79 million people. For Nigeria specifically, Japan has provided counterterrorism measures and humanitarian assistance, particularly for internally displaced persons. The help is worth its weight in gold.”
“My attention has been drawn to a planted story by the Nigerian Presidency, claiming that my tweet that General Buhari was not invited to the G 7 Summit because of his misrule is “misleading”. I am glad they did not say I lied. They only said it is misleading. Since that is the case, let me clarify.
The article claimed that African nations are invited to the G-7 on a rotational basis. This is not true. African nations are invited to the G-7 based on their economy and their governance and the RELEVANCE of both of these to the G-7.
For instance, the largest economies in Africa will usually be invited, except where such economies have governance challenges arising from misrule or other anti democracies practices, such as compromised elections.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy (due to past governments, not the Buhari junta) and should naturally be invited to represent Africa at the G-7. The claim by the Presidency’s hired guns that Nigeria was not invited due to the rotational invitation policy does not hold water.
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame was invited to the 2018 G-7 summit which held in Quebec, Canada in June of 2018. He is also invited to and is attending the ongoing G-7 summit holding in Biarritz, France.
If the invitations were done rotationally, as the Presidency’s hired guns would like Nigerians to believe, Kagame would not have been invited to the G-7 back to back. Kagame was invited back to back because he is relevant to the G-7.
The truth is that Nigeria was not invited to the G-7 summit because of governance and democracy challenges. For example, just a week before the summit began, Nigeria was censured for misrule by a G-7 member state.
It will be recalled that on August 18, 2019, just a week before the G-7 summit in France began, the US Department of State released the 2019 Fiscal Transparency Report which classified the General Buhari led Nigerian government as “not fiscally transparent.”
The timing of the release of the 2019 Fiscal Transparency Report was not coincidental. It had followed Travel and Visa Bans by the US government against Nigerian politicians that had undermined the 2019 Nigerian elections of which prominent members of the Buhari junta were targeted.
Beyond that, Nigeria, under General Buhari’s misrule, has deteriorated to the point whereby it has been overtaken by Ghana as West Africa’s number one destination for Foreign Direct Investments. We must be aware that the G-7 is above all an ECONOMIC SUMMIT. Hence Ghana was invited and Nigeria was not.
It is obvious that General Buhari was embarrassed by his G-7 snub. Why else would the Presidency hire hack writers to attack me for saying the truth? Why else would Buhari go to Japan to visit the Japanese Prime Minister at a time when the Japanese leader was in France?
Only a JOBLESS leader leaves his country to visit another leader, when that leader is not in his country. A serious leader, knowing that his host did not consider him important enough to be around when he visited, would have sent a minister to represent him.
But General Buhari went to Japan at the same time as the Japanese Prime Minister was in Biarritz, France, attending the G-7 summit. That alone tells you how desperate President Buhari is to cover his embarrassing snub.”