President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Nigeria on Wednesday for the 9th D-8 Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, the Presidency has announced.
Buhari’s presidency has been marked by a strong refusal to visit several states within Nigeria. Since his return from medical vacation for instance, the president has only travelled to his home state of Katsina and Borno state where he marked the nation’s Independence with soldiers. He has also travelled to the United States and the United Kingdom.
Now he’s off to Turkey for the D-8 Summit.
Why this may be controversial: D-8 was the idea of a former Turkish Prime Minister, Necmettin Erbakan, who envisioned cooperation among major Muslim developing countries. In seven of the eight countries in the union, Islam is recognized as the official state religion.
The members of D-8: Nigeria, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
So-called Islamisation agenda: With the issuance of the sukuk bond last month, Nigeria is only just recovering from a round of accusations between some Christian and Muslim groups in the country over an alleged Islamisation agenda. Attending a summit of Muslim countries at a time when Pres. Buhari refuses to visit states within his own country may likely lead to another round of accusations.
According to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and publicity, Femi Adesina: The D-8 summit is scheduled to hold on Friday, October 20, 2017 and Buhari will be accompanied by ministers and top government officials, including the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali.
President Buhari’s agenda during the trip include:
- To participate in an official working visit to the Turkish capital, Ankara.
- A discussion with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as delegations from both countries on issues such as defence cooperation, security, education and migration.
- A visit to the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey in Ankara where he will meet with the Speaker, Ismail Kahraman.
- To “bolster warm and growing ties across a broad range of areas of cooperation with leaders of the D8-member countries, namely Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.”
- To affirm Nigeria’s resolve to work with D-8 member-countries on many key areas, including peace and security, economy and trade.
This year’s Summit, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the organisation, has as its theme, “Expanding Opportunities through Cooperation’’ and will focus on cooperation in the areas of agriculture, trade, transport, energy and increased private sector participation among member-countries.