President Muhammadu Buhari has once again cancelled his scheduled trip to Dakar, Senegal for the 49th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), adding to a string of abruptly scrapped travels by the Presidency in the last two weeks.
Reports from a presidential source revealed that Mr Buhari had abruptly cancelled his widely publicized Thursday trip to Ogoni, Rivers State to launch the cleaning up of years of oil spills that have devastated the Niger Delta community. Before then, the President had also abruptly cancelled trips to Lagos state, citing scheduling difficulties.
Trusted Presidency sources with knowledge of the latest cancellation told our correspondents on Thursday that the President may have directed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to represent him at the one-day summit slated for Friday, June 3.
The Vice President, who represented the President at his no-shows in Lagos and Ogoni, is expected to depart for Dakar this night or first thing Friday morning, according to our checks if he asked to go.
Our multiple sources said the President shelved the Dakar trip so as not to buy into the narrative that he only prefers to do trips to international destinations after shunning Lagos and Rivers States.
“The President cares about Nigerians and their feelings… He is a very sensitive leader. Because he didn’t make the Lagos and Rivers trips he is also shelving the Senegal trip so that he doesn’t seem insensitive to the issues plaguing the nation,” one of our sources said.
Calls and text messages to spokesmen of the President and Vice President, Garba Shehu and Olaolu Akande, respectively to get an official position were not acknowledged as at the time we published this report.