President not traveling to Washington, says aide
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday challenged the elite in Nigeria to jettison their religious and ethnic differences and make necessary sacrifices to help the country attain its destiny.
Buhari spoke yesterday on the occasion of the Eid Al-Adha hosted by his wife as part of the sallah festivities in the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the president declared that God has destined Nigeria for greatness despite the people’s diversity and urged them to make sacrifices that would fulfill that destiny, especially in the areas of technology, commerce and culture.
He challenged citizens to also channel their energies towards meaningful issues that would facilitate the development of the country rather than frivolities that would only divide the people along ethnic and religious cleavages.
His word: “Our energies and resources shouldn’t be spent again on debate about division. Our manifest destiny is to be a great nation, not to be a nation where we are talking about division.
“We must focus our time, our energies and our resources on being that great nation that God has called us to be. “I think we have started building that country already. Despite all the noise that we hear, all that noise is part of the building. Everybody knows that you cannot have birth without noise.
“No woman delivers a baby without some noise and without some pains. What we are hearing today are the noises and the pains of that great nation that God is about to give birth to.‘’
The wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, thanked Nigerians for the prayers offered for her husband’s speedy recovery while on a medical vacation in the United Kingdom (UK).
Represented by the Minister of Interior, Lt Gen Abdulrahman Dambazzau, she urged Nigerians to support the administration’s effort to sustain the peace and development in the country.
“Without development there will be no peace and without peace there will be no development,” she noted.
However, the presidency yesterday denied an online report that President Buhari is scheduled to travel to Washington DC today to meet with President Donald Trump.
The Special Assistant to the President on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, through her twitter handle @Laurestar said Buhari had no such plans to travel to the U.S.
According to her, “It’s not true that President Muhammadu Buhari is set for a USA trip tomorrow, Monday 4/9/2017 on the invitation of the USA’s President Donald Trump.
“President Buhari always informs Nigerians of his trips, even within Nigeria. He respects Nigerians. He will not sneak out without informing those who elected him to do a job.”
The president is however expected to depart Nigeria later in the month to be part of the 72 United Nations General Assembly scheduled from September 21 to 25, in New York.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has also urged Nigerians to disregard fake news being circulated via a parody Twitter account and an old NTA news video.
In a statement yesterday, the minister said one of the numerous fake Twitter accounts in his name, “@MohammedLai”, was used to disseminate the fake news that claimed that President Buhari was due to leave Nigeria for the U.S. on Monday ”to condole with President Donald Trump over the floods in Houston.”
Also, he said, an old NTA News video being circulated on social media claimed that President Buhari had already left for the UN General Assembly in New York.
“This is a 2015 NTA News video that was repackaged to look current, and to give the impression that the president left Daura, where he is celebrating Eid el-Kabir, directly for New York.”
Other sources within president who spoke to The Guardian, also said that they were not aware of the proposed trip. A check also at the office of the U.S. president shows there were no plans to receive the Nigeria leader.
Soon after the news was reported, Nigerians took to various media platforms to express their surprise on the president’s reported visit to Washington, when thousands of Nigerians in Benue are struggling to find shelter following the devastating flood.