President Muhammadu Buhari fully accomplished his mission in Sochi during the Russia-Africa Economic Summit, according to his media aide Garba Shehu.
Shehu noted Buhari’s achievements in a Special Write-up, while condemning “a toxic newspaper editorial.’’
He said, “The outcome of the visit is the best response to a few skeptical audiences back home, including a toxic newspaper editorial, ‘Buhari, Stay On Your Job,’ by the Lagos-based Punch Newspaper asking him to not travel.”
Shehu noted that the definite high point was the decision by the Russians to agree to a government-to-government understanding that would see them return to complete the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill and commission it.
“When he (Buhari) campaigned early in the year for his re-election, which he won with a majority of four million votes, marking a difference of 14 per cent against his closest rival, President Buhari reiterated an earlier promise to complete Ajaokuta to provide jobs and the steel backbone that the nation’s industrial complex needed so desperately,” he said.
“Could this have been achieved if he had locked himself inside the Aso Rock Villa? The answer is obviously a “no.”
“Yet, this was not all that he secured. Presidents Buhari and Vladimir Putin opened a “new chapter” in the historically important relationship between the two countries.
“They both agreed to expand cooperation in energy sector, petroleum and gas, trade and investment, defence and security, mining and steel development, aluminium and phosphate, education and agriculture and a plethora of other issues.
“This to my pleasure had been spelled out in an elaborate manner by Tonye Princewill, an astute leader in the All Progressives Congress (APC), in an opinion article he widely circulated.”
He further explained that, “in President Buhari’s view, this summit was a necessary anchor “to kick start what has been a very cordial and mutually beneficial relationship in past years…there are similarities between Russia’s journey under your leadership (Putin’s) and Nigeria’s aspirations for the future.
“We can learn a lot from the experiences of Russia’s ongoing reforms of transitioning from an oil dependent economy to a modern, diversified and inclusive economy.”