• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Shettima’s US visit creates leadership vacuum, as Tinubu’s whereabouts unknown

Tinubu, Shettima against live broadcast of tribunal proceedings

The visit by Vice President Kashim Shettima to the United States of America, for the US-Africa Business Summit, has created leadership vacuum at the nation’s seat of power as President Bola Tinubu is yet to arrive Nigeria, six days after attending the Special World Economic Forum WEF meeting.

A statement by Stanley Nkwocha, the senior special assistant to The President on Media & Communications (office of the Vice President), said the Vice President was to depart Abuja on Sunday for Dallas, United States of America, to represent the President at the 2024 US-Africa Business Summit hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa.

The statement said the Vice President will join other political and business leaders across Africa, the United States of America and beyond for the summit featuring high-level dialogues, networking business sessions and the plenary, all scheduled for the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.

Read also: Shettima defends Tinubu’s policies, appeals for patience

Among African leaders expected at the summit include, Joseph Boakai, President, Republic of Liberia; Lazarus Chakwera, President, Republic of Malawi; Joao Lourenço, President, Republic of Angola;

Others are Mokgweetsi E. K. Masisi, President, Republic of Botswana; José Maria Neves, President, Republic of Cabo Verde, and Nthomeng Majara, Deputy Prime Minister, Kingdom of Lesotho.

Besides the summit plenary, Sen. Shettima is expected to speak at the Roundtable on African Infrastructure Investment with a focus on impact and returns. He is also scheduled to speak on a high-level panel on agribusiness, focusing on transiting “from food insecurity to thriving agribusinesses”.

Additionally, the Vice President is also expected to speak at a plenary session on Navigating Africa’s Energy Future as well as chair a session dedicated to promoting the ‘invest in Nigeria’ initiative.

He is also expected to attend other meetings and engagements on the sideline of the summit.

Vice President Shettima is expected back in the country at the end of his engagements in the US.

It will be recalled that the Vice President had also represented the President on April 28 at the International Development Association (IDA21) Heads of State Summit taking place tomorrow in Nairobi, Kenya, when the President went to Saudi Arabia

Machinery of governance in operation —  Presidency source

This visit to the US is coming even as President Bola Tinubu is yet to return to Nigeria, six days after the the conclusion of the World Economic Forum WEF, meeting in Saudi Arabia.

The President had left Nigeria on Tuesday, April 23, for a two leg foreign trips that took him first, to the Kingdom of the Netherlands on an official visit, from where he proceeded to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to attend the Special meeting of the World Economic Forum WEF, from April 28 to 29, 2024.

Ajuri Ngelale, the Presidential Spokesman, had in a statement, said the visit to the Netherlands, was at the invitation of Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

While in the Netherlands, the President had participated in the Nigerian-Dutch Business and Investment Forum that will bring together heads of conglomerates and organizations in both countries to explore opportunities for collaboration and partnerships, especially in agriculture and water management towards innovative solutions for sustainable farming practices.

After his engagements in the Netherlands, the President proceeded to attend a special World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting scheduled for April 28-29 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

At the World Economic Forum meeting, which focused on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development, President Tinubu and his entourage actively participated in the discussions, using the opportunity of the gathering to strike economic deals, with the like of Bill Gates, founder of the Microsoft

But while other government officials who accompanied the President have arrived, Nigeria, the President is yet to arrive.

Ajuri Ngelale, the President’s Spokesman, could not be reached for his comments on the whereabout of the President

But a top Presidency source however told BusinessDay that the President proceeded to the United Kingdom for undisclosed reasons

The top Presidency official who does not want his name in print noted that it has been the usual practice for the “President to take time off, after such hectic meetings and engagements”

” The President proceeded to the UK. That’s all I can tell you.

” According to him, ” the President’s absence has not affected government business, he was been working and the Vice President is also on ground.”

He however could not say when the President will be back to the country.

Another source also dismissed that there is leadership vacuum.

He asserted that the machinery of governance has remained in operation, thus, there can’t be vacuum

” The SGF is there, the Chief of Staff to the President is in his office working and ditto all the Minister’s.

” The President can work from anywhere. So, let me assure you that there is no vacuum anywhere”

The President had September last year, also proceeded to France, after attending the UN General Assembly in New York.