UNGA: Presidency Defends Buhari

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The Presidency has reacted to a viral video of president Muhammadu Buhari at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York where the president appeared to have made out of context remarks to a question posed to him.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the presidency noted that it had “seen conversations on Twitter doing what Twitter allows many people to spend a lot of their time on: getting things horribly wrong and/or focusing on the wrong things, while completely missing the real/meaningful/actual message.”

“The Climate Action Summit was convened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, to provide an opportunity for world leaders to, ‘come to New York on 23 September with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050’” it explained.

“So, note that the goal of the panel was to elicit ‘announcements’ from the panellists on behalf of their respective countries: Fiji, Nigeria, Netherlands, the Bank of England, etc. In other words, panellists were billed to deliver remarks announcing their country/organisation plans to build a resilient, climate-sensitive future.

“To address the theme of the event, President Buhari chose to deliver prepared remarks.

“And the moderator’s question, was, in keeping with the theme: ‘President Buhari, Nigeria has a very young population; perhaps you might highlight what a pathway for a resilient future looks like?’

“The President did exactly that, in his prepared remarks, over the next few minutes, highlighting what a “resilient future” will look like in Nigeria — by focusing on the administration’s policies (the ones already being implemented, like the Green Bonds, and the ones set for implementation, like the new tree-planting campaign, and the energy mix target).

“His prepared remarks were wholly in alignment with the theme of the Panel event, and the question he was asked.

“Keep in mind that as panels often work, the moderator’s question was meant to invite/usher him to take the stage, and share his remarks. As a panellist, it was up to him to choose to respond extempore, or to go the ‘prepared remarks way.’

The said video has been viewed and shared widely by Nigerians who expressed indignation at the president’s conduct.

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