Writer: Kolawole Daniel-Abuja

CHAIRMAN, Presidential Advisory Council on International Relations, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, on Wednesday, disclosed that Nigerians’ expectations on the president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, are high, because of the campaign promises he made to Nigerians, as well as the general perception of his character as a man of integrity.

Chief Anyaoku, a former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, stated this after a closed door session with the president-elect at the Defence House, Abuja.

While fielding questions from newsmen, Chief Anyaoku said Nigerians’ high expectations on the president-elect “are based, first on the promises he made during the campaign to the people, but more importantly on the general perception of his character.

“He is perceived as a man with a very strong sense of discipline, a man who is truly averse to corruption, a man whose lifestyle has been frugal, not to temptation or opulence, above all, a man with strong commitment to the welfare of the masses.”

To this end, he said “I believe that if his (General Buhari) administration reflect this qualities, the challenges and problems of the country will be effectively tackled.”

Speaking on Nigeria’s relationship with other countries, he said “I think that Nigeria’s relations with the world at the moment is quite good, we’ve had a tiff with the South African situation, but not with South African government, the xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa have been condemned by the South African government and I believe that the way President Goodluck Jonathan has handled the issue has been very good.”

According to him, “I would suggest that the incoming president will continue with the personal relationship with the president of South Africa, so that when incidence like that occurred, the two government will have a dialogue and the government of South Africa will be sensitised the more on the need to tackle the situation.

“So far, I think it is fair to say that the South African government has condemned those xenophobic attacks and it’s doing what it can to see that they do not get it repeated.”

On Nigeria’s foreign policy and the recent killing of some Nigerians in Indonesia over drugs matter, Chief Anyaoku, said “I think it will be fair to say that Nigeria’s foreign policy has remained generally the same over the last administrations and I am saying it, having been involved in the council that advised former presidents, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Yar’Adua, and President Goodluck Jonathan, our foreign policy has remained sound, based on the promotion of our national interests abroad.”

Continuing, he said “the debacle in Indonesia is not a foreign policy issue, it is an issue of behaviour of Nigerians who go to Indonesia and not only Indonesia, countries like Malaysia and Thailand, they have a law that if you get involved in drugs promotion, the penalty is capital punishment.

“The president of Indonesia will tell you that one drug pusher is responsible for the ruin of 200 families and that is why his country has taken that stand. So, it is a matter of the behaviour of Nigerian citizens abroad rather than the issue of foreign policy.”

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