Let me be clear. I speak of no new intention on the part of the Nigerian president to head off on yet another visit/vacation to a certain Middle Eastern country.
I'm rather more concerned with what appears to be an even greater vacation from the international diplomatic arena. In the wake of his absence from the UN General Assembly for the 2nd year in a row, diplomats and analysts questioned why Alhaji Umaru Yar'Adua decided not to show up. The official explanation for his last minute cancellation of his trip was his need to visit Saudi Arabia as a guest of King Abdullah at the opening of a university named after the king.
But on Sunday, October 11, we got an even better explanation from Wole Oke (Chair, Defense Committee, House of Reps). He said Yar'Adua's absence was "a deliberate diplomatic protest against the United States of America, whose body language towards Nigeria in recent times had been seen by the Federal Government as unfair."
The president's spokespersons have so far not denied Oke's statement thus further lending credence to it.
This at a time when Yar'Adua is the ECOWAS Chairman and Nigeria (which states her foreign policy as being Africa-focused) is vying for a Security Council rotating seat.
Is it any wonder that with crisis situations in both Niger and Guinea, there is no clear direction from the supposed giant in the region on how to resolve either?
This must rank as one of the most bizzare reasons ever given on Yar'Adua's behalf. And the Vanguard in it's editorial yesterday rightly concludes that "Nigerians are appalled at the inaction that has descended on the Presidency, it is indefensible, it is more insulting to offer bland explanations for it."