Nigerian President, Umaru Yar’Adua, is returning to Saudi Arabia, the second time in about two months, sources at the presidency said on Monday. Consequently, he might not be present at this year’s United Nations General Assembly, which is currently on in New York, where more than 150 world leaders will be in attendance.
Again, Nigeria might just miss out on another opportunity to lobby for a permanent seat at the UN. African leaders are also expected to meet with the president of the United States, Barack Obama, to discuss issues of concern to Africa and the US.
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The president, who had earlier planned to attend the Assembly with some of the ministers, has scaled back on his plan even though he was offered a slot to address the international forum. As of Monday evening, no one knew if the Minister of External Affairs, Ojo Maduekwe, will still attend the event.
Mr. Yar’Adua was in the Arab country last month for a three-week break, during which he attended the lesser Hajj and also saw doctors in the country for medical examination. The trip was announced ahead, although presidency officials have refused to state what is wrong with the president and what kind of medical treatment he is receiving in Saudi Arabia.
The UN Assembly will, on Tuesday, start a session to salvage the climate, and on Wednesday, after the grand opening, the debates will begin, with the agenda of the international body ranging from Middle East Peace to Terrorism and Global Poverty. We gathered that instead of planning a trip to New York, aides of Mr. Yar’Adua were actually focused on a trip to Saudi Arabia, where one of them said he might have to attend to unfinished business.
Sources in the presidency said the president had planned to attend the grand opening of the Assembly on Wednesday; but as things stand, no further plans have been made for the trip to New York.