The President of the United States, Donald Trump reportedly described President Muhammadu Buhari as ‘lifeless’, shortly after the two leaders met on April 30, according to the Financial Times.
Both leaders met for the first time in the US for bilateral talks on Trump’s invitation since he was sworn in January as the 45th President of the States.
But as Trump is set to welcome President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Financial Times, in an article titled, “Africa looks for something new out of Trump” reported that after the bilateral meeting between the presidents of US and Nigeria, Trump allegedly warned his aides that he never wanted to meet anyone as “lifeless” as Buhari again.
“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,” Financial Times claimed.
The revelation differs from Trump’s statement during the press briefing where he praised Buhari’s anti-corruption fight and urged him to lift any trade barriers that could impede the importation of agricultural products from the US into Nigeria. He also pledged his administration’s continued support towards the fight against terrorism and also told Buhari that the US would not tolerate the killings of Christians by armed herdsmen.
Trump had come under fire few months before the meeting after reports emerged that at a private meeting, he allegedly described African countries as ‘shithole’ countries. He denied the reports despite the affirmation of some US leaders who were at the said meeting. He was also widely criticised for stoking racial tensions after he tweeted that the US would investigate the alleged killing of whites in South Africa.
When contacted to react to the reports, Special Assistant on Media to President Buhari, Garba Shehu dismissed it as unworthy of a response.
“There is no one whom Trump has not insulted, therefore, the presidency would not respond to his alleged statement,” he said.
However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said Buhari was to blame for the “lifeless” statement by Trump.
The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the comment credited to Trump was a backlash a country gets when “incompetent” leaders resorts to globe-trotting in desperate search for endorsement from world leaders.
The opposition party noted that in the last three years, Buhari had been shopping for international recognitions that was not based on any achievement since his assumption of office.
While expressing reservations on the comment credited to the US President, the PDP demanded a response from the Presidency and the White House.
Besides, it charged the president to take a cue from the comments purportedly made by Trump about him and sit down at home to discharge his responsibilities to Nigerians or accept his failings with humility.
“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. The PDP and indeed all well-meaning Nigerians are now sore worry over how other world leaders have been perceiving our president, who has not only failed in governance but has continued to de-market our nation in the international community,” the party stated.
Nothwithstanding what it termed Trump’s hate speech, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) insisted that Buhari was fit and capable to run for the 2019 elections and oversee the affairs of the country for four more years.
The group in the statement signed by Niyi Akinsiju and Cassidy Maduekwe noted that this was not the first time the US President was heard to make such derogatory remarks at World leaders, and thus President Buhari would not be distracted by such.