Buhari Writes Senate For Approval To Buy Helicopters From US

The Nigerian Senate has read a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari seeking approval to purchase six Tucano helicopters worth $496,374,470 (151, 394, 421, 035 Naira) from the US.

According to the president, the helicopters are meant to support the drive to improve the security of the nation.

See the tweet from the Senate below:

UPDATE: The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has just read an Executive Communication from President Muhammadu Buhari, informing the Senate about his ‘anticipatory approval’ for the release of $496,374,470 to purchase 12 Super Tucano aircraft. pic.twitter.com/BYig8TNiW0

— The Senate President (@SPNigeria) April 25, 2018

Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives did not mince words on Tuesday when they said President Muhammadu Buhari committed an “impeachable offence” by authorising the purchase of $462million jets for the military without appropriation by the National Assembly.

The lawmakers became angry as soon as the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, read a letter from Buhari, informing the House that the expenditure was done in “anticipation of approval” by the National Assembly.

They noted that the letter was a “mere afterthought”, as the expenditure had been done already.

Nigeria’s Lazy Conversation By Lasisi Olagunju

In 2014, Richard Dunne made a dubious history by becoming the highest own goal scorer in Premier League history. He scored ten of such backward goals – six at Manchester City, three at Aston Villa and the tenth at QPR. President Muhammadu Buhari is in the same class. He loves exhibiting a raw talent for slamming the ball into his own net. He scored a loud one at the Commonwealth last week. Our president mortally hurt his army of youthful worshippers. Buhari announced to the whole world that a lot of Nigerian youths under his care “do nothing,” “have not been to school” and yet want everything, including education and health, free of charge.

That London gaffe was a blow that has left his fans of “illiterate” youths dazed. But the one who burnt down the village barn would have at least one ardent lover. And you know, when in love, the other person comes first in care and happiness. Wounded and alarmed, lovers of Buhari quickly recovered and reached for clean water to bathe their idol, hence the sly attempt to drag Chief Obafemi Awolowo into the Buhari ‘lazy’ talk. They claim that what Buhari said in 2018, Awo had also said 44 years ago. They claim that Chief Awolowo in 1974 said the trouble with Nigerian youths was that they slept too much. And they quoted him copiously.

It was easy for Buharists and Buharideens to cut and paste Awo’s sentence. They won’t cut and paste the context of the statement. Chief Awolowo spoke in the context of having access to free education as an inalienable right of every citizen. Where that access was provided and some persons still preferred sleep over learning was what he condemned. General Buhari is the opposite of Awo. He did not speak as a philosopher on the same wave length with Awo. Unlike Chief Awolowo, President Buhari made “doing something” a condition for accessing free education and free health. That is Buharism, not Awoism – and it is quite revealing. If you don’t like my drift, go and read our president again.

The president for the first time spoke about free education. And what did he say? His verdict is that the Nigerian youth must work before qualifying for free education. That is the opposite of what Awo stood for. If Awo’s welfarist position was the thesis, Buhari’s blot was the very antithesis. And this too: I thought a man cannot lose an in-law unless he has a wife; but with General Buhari, a bachelor can validly claim that his in-law is dead. Is it logical for someone who does not want to be educated to be demanding free education? Our president did not ask himself that question before he spoke in London on Wednesday. He claimed that “a lot of” the youths of his country “do not do anything” and “have not been to school”…yet they want “…education free of charge.” I do not understand our president. Can someone who has never gone to school and who does not want to be educated be, at the same time, said to be demanding free education? My English teacher taught me something about coherence and cohesion. I cannot see either in that presidential statement.

But why have we all stopped working since last week because President Buhari suggested that “a lot of the youths” of Nigeria are lazy bones? Everyone has not stopped whining since. Why are we angry? Is it not the truth that anyone who keeps his chains is a lazy fool? So, you do not know that a soul in fetters is an idle doll? If the youth is not lazy, he would do something and break the shackles.

“I was born a slave, but nature gave me the soul of a free man.” That was Toussaint Louverture’s engagement of his life of slavery. Louverture was the leader of the slaves who brought down France’s Saint-Dominique and created Haiti – their own country. Today, the Haitian revolution is proudly listed as “one of the most successful slave revolutions in world history.” The revolution did not just bring an end to slavery like other slave revolts, it moved a huge step forward by creating the world’s first country of ex-slaves. When is the Nigerian youth stepping out to create his own country of freedom?

To the rich and powerful, there is only one explanation for being poor, and that is indolence. The weak poor is powerless and poor because he is lazy. The slaves of Saint-Dominique revolted when they thought they had had enough of the oppression of their overlords. The cup of Nigeria too should be full one day. Until it is full, the kids of the poor will remain lazy and illiterate. My greatest fear is that when the bubble bursts in here, the ‘lazy’ will go for the wrong victims. The slaves will go for their defenceless defenders. There is the Irore bird in Yorubaland. Weak and threatened, it builds its nest close to bees and wasps. When it does that, it escapes the killing fingers of wanton boys. The slave owners of Nigeria are weak but they have moats around them. They are big men with incredible foresight. They do not live near their victims. They live in fortresses built of distance and weapons. They are wisely ensconced in cocoons of pleasure and calm and peace. They are far from the inanities of the madding crowd. They are safe and can proudly pronounce the youths of their country idle and uneducated.

Our president is bold, blunt and consistent. What he says in “the other room,” unreported, he goes to London to magnify. And you are in Nigeria, whining, stomping your feet on the canvas of power. What can the angry goat do to its confident owner? The mind of power is a marvel: If you are not lazy, you would be working in the Central Bank like their children. You would be in the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation like their in-laws.

I can imagine what remains in that mind that belched last week’s London declaration. And he didn’t see the horror on the white faces that heard him. That country he chose for that ‘lazy’ talk takes care of all its youths. It cares for young people in work; for young people looking for work; for young people in school; for young people out of school and for those looking for education. Our own leaders here look at the youth and his sweat and wonder what the problem is with him. They say even when the youth is allowed some privileges to have good jobs, he still insists on going to scavenge abroad. Because he is lazy, all he thinks about is traveling out to create problems for the white man in his own country. The president said so the last time he was out of Nigeria. The children of the lazy are the poor causing logjams hawking on the streets and at foreign embassies. No matter how much help you give them, they insist they must go to the dunghill to scavenge. A lion’s cub will never be seen walking the dense forest without the royal swag. Carrion is meat for vultures; leopards don’t eat rotten flesh.

Nigeria is hostile to the young. It is true. But the solution is not in short-cuts. President Buhari’s lovers would insist he was right. Maybe it is true that the Nigerian youth is laid back and lacks a vision of himself in freedom. They want gold without digging for it. Our president spoke what the white man said 300 years ago. A 1798 entry of the Encyclopedia Britannica accused the black man of: idleness, treachery, revenge, cruelty, impudence, stealing, lying, profanity, debauchery, nastiness and intemperance.”

Very extremely unfair, racist assessment! But whose fault? You won’t find that characterization in any encyclopedia today, but it does not mean that much has changed. What changed is the level of diplomacy of the white man. Today, some persons here, even if it would cost them election or reelection, won’t mind using these very words for their countrymen. The specimens used for that 18th century assessment were slaves sold abroad by their kith and kin. Today’s victims are those being forced by the system to sell themselves to slavery. But can you have your country by running away from it? “A friend just left a N1million-per-month job to relocate to Canada. That is like the 4th person around me relocating in the last six months. What is happening in Canada? It is getting scary.” That is from a very brilliant young man lamenting on Facebook two weekends ago. One of his friends reacted adding his own worries: “Many of my friends are relocating en masse. I mean, well established guys with well-paying jobs in Nigeria. It is really disturbing.” Running away from Nigeria won’t make life better for anyone; definitely not for the refugee.

Toussaint Louverture “was born a slave” but he was clear that nature gave him “the soul of a free man.” He did not sit down lamenting his life in slavery. He did not run away either. He stayed, fought and broke down the walls of servitude and a free Haiti was born. Buhari won’t change his “lazy” opinion because we are abusing him. Nothing and no one will make him recant. What will convince the resolute is the resolve of the “lazy” to do something positive about his station in life. In 1798, the black man was lazy. One hundred and thirteen years later in 1911, the world saw no reason to modify its opinion of the black man. It was even worse. The Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1911) notes that black children who were “sharp, intelligent and full of vivacity” in childhood soon got degraded on approaching adulthood. “The intellect,” it says “seemed to become clouded, animation giving place to a sort of lethargy, briskness yielding to indolence…”

That was it. Indolence again! The authors felt the black man had remained where he had always been- a burden unto the world; an enemy of no one else but of himself. Were they wrong? Even today, 2018, what is our own opinion of ourselves? Our president spoke in London and the world heard him clearly

Nothing Controversial About $1bn Military Fund Approval, Says Presidency

The Presidency on Friday responded to critics of President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the sum of $1billion for the purchase of military equipment to fight the insurgency in the country saying there’s nothing controversial about it.

The President’s approval of the fund has sparked criticism from many including the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which asked Nigerians to resist it. The President’s Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in his reaction on Channels Television Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily, said the critics are just ‘blowing hot air.’

“I think a lot of the judgements are hasty. After the Federal Executive Council approval, ministers will go to the President, they will seek approval of the President of the council, the council will approve and then say go to the National Assembly

“The process has begun, it’s not concluded, therefore, everyone will be involved. The President will not breach the constitution of this country. Approval at that level is granted, there is nothing controversial.

“The Attorney-General will bring a draft bill to FEC, the president will approve and then say take it to the National Assembly. The draft budget before it got to the National Assembly, the FEC signed and approved it. I think the people are just blowing hot air,” he said.

One of the critics, Governor Ayodele Fayose had alleged that the approval was a move by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government to raise funds to finance the 2019 presidential election and the July 14 governorship poll in Ekiti State.

Shehu, debunking these allegations, Shehu said the fund is to tackle insurgency which is a challenge to the nation. He insisted that Nigeria is at war with Boko Haram, although technically defeated, but the nation cannot rest on its oars in the insurgency fight.

“I think they don’t have anything to talk about, that is why they are blowing hot air over this issue. There is a mandate given to elected leaders.

“This is a country that is at war with the insurgency, although technically defeated but the challenges are enormous. 34 of the 36 states have military being deployed to them. People will say when you’ve defeated Boko Haram why do you need funds but if you check around, all over the world, the countries do most spending in peacetime.”

Shehu explaining how the $1billion fund will be used said it will be evenly spread at various aspect of the nation’s security and restock arms and ammunition of the troops which he said is already depleted.

“There is police and there is also the military. It’s going to touch on every aspect of security in the country. We are not talking about buying footwear or uniforms which is routine. We’ll re-equip the military that has depleted much of its stock fighting criminality, insurgency and terrorism across the country,” he said.

“We need this money to restock. The Nigerian Army, the Police, they ought to have arms that they can use in situations where they are needed. It’s not as if we have no idea of what to do with this money, it is also true there is still some finishing jobs to be done to Boko Haram. There is a lot of attention that needs to be paid to the police, violence in the central sections of Nigeria, challenges in the Delta, the Navy and all of these. There’s a lot to be done with this money.”

2019 Elections: Alake Of Egbaland Backs Buhari

The Alake of Egbaland, Adedotun Gbadebo, has backed the move of  President Muhammadu Buhari to run for a second term saying he deserves to be re-elected to enable him consolidate on the policies and programmes he has initiated to transform the country.

He revealed this when a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, led members of the National Movement for the Re-election of President Buhari, on a courtesy visit to his palace in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

The monarch spoke a day after former President Olusegun Obasanjo asked Nigerians not to vote for Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Gbadebo, who described the president as a focused and sincere leader, said he had charted a worthy path for the nation to transform it to an enviable height.

He said Nigeria could not afford to allow the policies initiated by the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to be discarded should another leader be elected.

“I am part of the campaign team soliciting that Buhari should be given another chance to lead for another four years to complete the great work he has started.

“Those who drafted the constitution to allow for a second term have envisaged that while a leader takes time to formulate policies and put programmes in place, he needs more time for them to germinate before they begin to translate such to benefits for the people.

“Unfortunately, policy somersault has become a prominent feature in the history of governance in the nation.

“When a leader goes after four years, virtually everything he has done will be turned over by whoever comes after and we can no longer afford this wastage,” he said.

The monarch described Kalu as a detribalised person, who in spite of being an indigene of the South East Zone, had continued to campaign for Buhari .

Earlier in his address, the former governor commended the monarch for the peace initiatives in the state.

Kalu, who noted that a prominent feature of the peace initiative was the freedom to support any candidate in an election, declared that members of the group have been travelling across the country to solicit support for the president ahead of the 2019 polls.

“We are for oneness of this country. We are for leaders who are sincere to lead us well and who are equally committed to the rules and tenets of democracy.

“The greatest challenge of our country is leaders not obeying the law.

“When they are leaders, they did not obey the law and when they go out of leadership, they criticise everybody who wants to obey the law.

“President Buhari has continued to adhere to the tenets of democracy and abide by the constitutional provisions of the country in tackling the challenges of the nation,” he said.

 

PHOTONEWS: Buhari Meets APC Governors

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met behind closed doors members of the All Progressives Congress Governors Forum.

The meeting was also attended by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, SGF, Boss Mustapha, COS Abba Kyari among others.

Photos from the meeting are below as sent by Novo Isioro, Osinbajo’s official photographer.

Buhari’s Refusal To Sign African Trade Treaty ‘Disappointing’ — Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider his stance and sign the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement before it is too late.

The former president expressed disappointment that Nigeria was not among the 44 member countries of the African Union that endorsed the agreement.

“That President Buhari didn’t sign the free trade agreement in Kigali is disappointing; I hope he signs it before it is too late,”Mr. Obasanjo was quoted as saying.

“Egypt started the discussion on the formation of the Organisation of African Unity but didn’t conclude it and Nigeria took over. Nigeria was also central to the discussion of the free trade agreement, but I am surprised that the country withdrew from signing.”

The agreement was signed during the 18th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of (AU) Heads of State and Governments on March 21 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Nigeria and South Africa were two of Africa’s biggest economies that withheld their assent to the agreement meant to establish a common protocol to allow free movement of goods and services among member nations of the AU. South Africa later signed.

Seven other countries, including Burundi, Guinea Bissau and Eritrea also did not sign the agreement.

Although the Federal Executive Council had given consent for Nigeria to sign the agreement, Mr. Buhari canceled his schedule to attend the AU meeting at the last minute.

Prominent interest groups like the Nigeria Labour Congress and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria kicked against the treaty, saying aspects of the agreement would hurt Nigeria’s interest.

Consequently, the decision to sign the agreement was postponed to allow for adequate consultation and inputs from interest group, particularly with the NLC, which called the treaty a “renewed, extremely dangerous and radioactive neo-liberal policy initiative.”

But, Mr. Obasanjo, who was named on Friday as chair of the Advisory Council for Intra-African Trade Fair organised by African Export-Import Bank in conjunction with the Egyptian government for December 2018, said he was surprised Nigeria refused to sign the trade agreement.

He recalled the leading role Nigeria played in founding the free trade agreement initiative, saying apart from Egypt, which started the discussion on the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, Nigeria was central to all discussions on the agreement.

The AfCFTA treaty is one of the flagship projects of the AU Agenda 2063 to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons, investments and a single currency.

Signatories to the agreement so far included Niger, Rwanda, Angola, C.A.R., Chad, Comoros, Congo, Djibouti, The Gambia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritania, Mozambique, Cote D’Ivoire, Seychelles, Algeria and Equatorial Guinea.

Others include Morocco, Swaziland, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, South Sudan, Uganda, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sao Tome and Principle, Togo and Tunisia.

Buhari Commissions N50b Sugar Estate In Niger

President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned the N50 billion Sunti Golden Sugar Estate which he said will employ 10,000 people directly.

Speaking in Sunti in Mokwa local government area on Thursday, Buhari said the magnitude of nvestment in the sugar estate is a clear manifestation that the policies on economic diversification  of the government is attracting the right kind of support and engagement.

“With N50 billion invested into Sunti  Golden sugar Estate, this makes it the largest Agro-allied investment in Nigeria today. The sugar factory will produce 100,000 metric tonnes of sugar annually, employ 10,000 people directly and a network of 3,000 small scale outgrowets of sugarcane. ”

The President stated that the socio-economic impact of the company’s investment cannot be quantified as lives would be changed and the impact on the national economy will be significant.

He further noted that the benefits of the River Niger have been overlooked for long stressing on the need for proper utilization of the masses of bodies and how it can be converted for commerce and investment.

Buhari then reassured Nigerians that the administration is committed to the transformation and diversification of the economy adding that they will continue to support businesses and investors by creating enabling business environment.

He stated that sugar have been identified as a key commodity that is critical to national food security adding that the sugar factory will help stem the tide of importation of sugar, save foreign exchange and create wealth amidst rural poverty.

In his address, Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello said Nigerlites are proud farmers adding that the sugar estate would utilize the farmers and make them productive.

He said that 2018 have been earmarked as the year of agricultural revolution in the state calling on investors to invest into the state which is a perfect model for investment.

Bello said that the sugar mills which is one of the two sugar mills in the country will produce 4,500 metric tonnes of sugar per day.

The governor then appealed to the President for the speedy completion of the Suleja road,  Tegina-Kontagora road and Mokwa-Jebba road in order to attract more investors into the state.

The Chairman of Flour Mills of Nigeria, Mr. John Coumantaros said the Sunti sugar factory is to ensure that local sugar is produced in Niger state adding that the factory is showcasing the shift in the focus from crude oil to agriculture.

He said that the Sunti Sugar factory will save Nigeria 100 million dollars on foreign exchange every year strengthen the capacity and economic status of the people.

The Chairman commended President Buhari for his policies which have been good and have lead to private sector growth across the country.

The Sunti Golden Sugar Estate occupies 17,000 hectares of land in Mokwa local government area of Niger state out of which 10,000 hectares is being used as sugarcane farm.

Court Restrains National Assembly From Re-ordering Election Timetable

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday ordered the National Assembly to stop taking any further actions on the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which seeks to provide the order in which the Independent Electoral Commission must conduct the 2019 general elections.

The restraining order issued by Justice Ahmed Mohammed is to last till March 17, which is the next hearing date.

Delivering ruling on an oral application by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), lawyer to the plaintiff, Accord Party, Justice Mohammed held that the restraining order was made to preserve the substance of the main suit.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday informed the National Assembly that he had withheld his assent to bill which was earlier passed by both chambers of the National Assembly.

There have been threats by some legislators that the National Assembly would evoke its powers under section 58(5) of the Constitution to override the President’s withholding of assent by two-third majority votes of both chambers.

The oral application by Olanipekun for a “preservative order” was opposed by the counsel representing the National Assembly, Chinelo Ogbozor, during the Wednesday’s proceedings.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, the 2nd defendant to the suit, was not represented by a counsel.

But INEC, the 3rd respondent, was represented by its lawyer, Mr. Taminu Inuwa, who said he had no objection to the application.

Ruling, he judge held that the National Assembly was not likely to suffer any prejudice if it was restrained from going ahead with the amendment processes before the next hearing date.

He added that on the other hand, if no restraining order was issued and the National Assembly went ahead to exercise its powers under section 58(5) of the Constitution by overriding President’s withholding of assent, the essence of the whole suit would have been defeated.

The judge therefore ordered all parties to maintain “status quo ” Tuesday.

He fixed ‎Tuesday for the hearing of the motion for the interlocutory injunction, the same order which was granted during the Wednesday’s proceedings but would likely last till the final determination of the suit if the application succeeds.

The Accord Party, is by its suit challenging the constitutionality of the ‎ongoing amendment of the Electoral Act.

Buhari Writes NASS To Withhold Electoral Act Amendment

President Muhammadu Buhari, has written to the National Assembly to withhold assent to the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act.

The letter was read on the floor during plenary by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

In a letter addressed to Senate President Bukola Saraki, President Buhari stated that he is declining assent to the amendment of the Electoral Act because the amendment to the sequence of the election in section 25 of the principal Act may infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed discretion of INEC to organize, undertake and supervise all elections provided in section 16(a) of the constitution.

He also stated that the amendment to section 138 of the principal Act to delete two crucial grounds upon which an election may be challenged by candidates unduly limits the right of candidates to a free and fair electoral review process.

President Buhari further stated that the amendment to section 152(325) of the principal Act may raise constitutional issues over the competence of the National Assembly to legislate over local government elections.

Earlier in February, the Joint Committees of the National Assembly agreed on some of the amendments to the Electoral Act.

The amendment of the electoral act facilitated the collaboration between the joint committees.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives agreed to the earlier amendment by the House of Representatives that the National Assembly election will come first, followed by governorship and state Houses of Assembly and finally the Presidential election which will now come last.

I’ve Not Abandoned You – Buhari Tells Benue People

President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed the Inspector General of Police, Idris Abubakar over the continuous killings in Benue State.

The President said this while faulting the notion in some quarters that he had abandoned the people of Benue State.

Buhari said he had the people of the state at heart and will not abandon them.

The president made this remark on Tuesday during a condolence visit to the state.

According to him, “The problem in Benue started worsening because the IGP refused to follow my instruction.
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“It is wrong to think I have abandoned the people of Benue. I still have at heart.

“I thank the governor and the people of the state for receiving me.

“We have deployed security agencies to make sure the clashes between farmers and end as soon as possible.”

Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom in his remarks urged President Muhammadu Buhari to upgrade the ongoing military exercise in the state tagged “Ayem Akpatema”, to a wider operation to effectively curb herdsmen attacks.

“If the exercise is upgraded to a wider operation, it will assist greatly in ending the incessant attacks and senseless killings by herdsmen,” he said

He urged Benue people to learn to live in peace with other people.

Ortom said that many states were currently involved in massive cultivation of rice, and urged his people to join the trend.

The governor reiterated his call for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, alleging that the body was responsible for the killings in Benue.

Ortom maintained that ranching was the best option for cattle breeding in Nigeria, and advised herdsmen to embrace it so as to minimise the clashes caused by open grazing.

He also called on the federal government to take over the management of the Benue University Teaching Hospital, College of Education, Katsina-Ala and Benue Polytechnic, Ugbokolo.

Malam Shetima Mohammed, a representative of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Benue Chapter, however, denied responsibility for the Benue attacks.

“Our association is a peace loving one and the exact opposite of what is being portrayed,” he declared.

 

Buhari, Tilerson Meet In Aso Rock

President Muhammadu Buhari is now meeting with the United States, US, Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

The meeting between the president and Tillerson is holding at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Disclosing the meeting, Buhari’s Personal Assistant on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, said the president returned from his visit to Benue State and is “now in a closed-door meeting” with Tillerson.

Ahmad, who shared a video of Buhari’s arrival at the villa in a tweet, wrote: “President @MBuhari is back in Abuja from Benue State, now in a closed-door meeting with United States’ Secretary of State, Mr. Rex Tillerson at the Presidential Villa.”

Recall that Tillerson was reported to have earlier cut short his first trip to Africa.