BEVERLY HILLS, May 21, (THEWILL) – A member of the United Kingdom, UK Parliament, MP Chi Onwurah has noted that President Muhammadu Buhari was statesmanly and mature in his response to British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s description of Nigeria as a “fantastically corrupt” nation.
Ahead of last week’s anti-corruption summit in London, Cameron was caught on tape telling Queen Elizabeth of England and few others that Nigeria and Afghanistan were two “fantastically corrupt” countries whose leaders will participate at the conference.
When his reaction was sought by reporters, Buhari took the demeaning statement with equanimity, stressing that he would rather ask that money and assets stolen from Nigeria and stashed in the UK be returned, than demand apology from anybody.
Speaking on Thursday at the All-Party Parliamentary Group, APPG, on Nigeria, held in the Richmond Room of the Portcullis House, by the House of Parliament, Onwurah said although she had resolved not to comment on the issue, she would briefly address it since it was raised during the interaction on economic diversification of Nigeria.
“I think the President’s response was statesmanlike,” she said, noting that the response is a proof of the growing bilateral ties between Nigeria and the UK and confirmed that the relationship between both countries was not in any way affected.
Noting that the Nigerian leader refused to bow to pressure to react otherwise, the parliamentarian stated that Buhari was not only mature about it; but was also focused on why he was in the United Kingdom.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who had met with some British parliamentarians and investors on the order of the President, said the comment by Cameron was part of the challenges faced by brand Nigeria because of the hugely inherent perception about the country.
Fayemi, who was also in London for investment drive, said, “It is the challenge of perception about Nigeria and more often than not, you would be confronted by such distracting challenge in the rebranding of Nigeria.”
He described the present state of the country “as a difficult period” for the government and the people as government was still trying to put its feet down and that it was an enormous responsibility for the present crop of people serving in the Buhari government.
While discussing the imperatives of diversifying the Nigerian economy to contain the prevailing challenges as well as plan for the future, Fayemi said the commitment of the Buhari administration was not ephemeral, even though successive administrations too spoke about diversification and did nothing about it.