Members of President Buhari’s delegation to the United nations General Assembly have accused Prof. Joy Ogwu, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, of sabotaging President Muhammadu Buhari’s participation, citing glaring missteps that have embarrassed the delegation and undermined Nigeria’s work.
The accusation follows curious circumstances in which Nigeria missed two key events, putting its leadership on the spot. The first was a Boko Haram response event chaired by a UN Under-Secretary Mike O’Brien, which Buhari missed completely.
The Nigeria leader, who will speak in the general debate this evening, also missed a meeting with the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis, because of his late arrival to the meeting, the bizarre circumstances of which are only just being understood.
Sources within the delegation told SaharaReporters that the delegation also missed at least two other events and has had a difficult time securing full participation in the very important 70th Assembly.
In the case of the Boko Haram event, the sources told our reporter that it was never put on President Buhari’s calendar by the Nigerian mission.
Regarding the event with the Pope, Buhari missed it because when he came down from his hotel suite, there was no car to take him to the meeting. When he decided to walk to the event with his entourage, he was taken by Nigerian mission officials to the wrong gate, where they were denied entry by security agents.
Buhari then walked back to his hotel where, when he got on the elevator, the mission finally brought a car to take him to see the Pope.
Sources say when he made that second trip in the Mission’s car, he was again driven to yet another wrong gate and the delegation was turned back.
Also, yesterday an attempt by the delegation to attend a side meeting where Nigeria was to have declared its support for the “Commitment to Gender Equality” initiative almost failed as the mission failed to provide any secondary party to facilitate the Nigerian delegation’s participation. It took the intervention of the Chinese mission to help former member of house of reps Abike Dabiri and other delegates to get into the event.
And then today, members of the Nigerian delegation led by the governor of Niger state again denied access to another important event, “EveryWoman, EveryChild,” because of poor organization.
As Buhari prepares to speak today at the UN, the delegation also hit a major hitch as the Mission did not process tickets for all members of the delegation to get into the event. Only President Buhari and a few members of his protocol team were accredited to get in the venue. Our source said it was when Buhari finally got upset about it that Prof. Ogwu when out and processed acoustic tickets to enable a larger number of delegates to attend the event.
Apart from the fiasco with accreditation and general conference management, the members of the delegation are also not provided food in their hotel rooms as is the tradition. Instead, they are made to eat at a buffet at the Mission. According to his aides, President Buhari refused to go to the buffet.
A UN observer blamed President Buhari for the mess. He berated the president for his delay in appointing ministers, saying it is the major reason his UN trip is "failing miserably".
One retired Nigerian diplomat told SaharaReporters he hopes President Buhari has seen the folly in relying on unsupervised civil servants, since he came to power, to run the affairs of state.