Seyi Tinubu, wingchair critics and the peril of intellectual bankruptcy

The famous American motivational speaker, Dale Carnegie, once said, “It’s a thousand times easier to criticise than create. That’s why critics are never problem solvers.”

It is on this note that I find the recent outbursts of toxic, hired and professional armchair critics, whose latest brief from their paymasters is to ensure aspersions is cast on everything President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his family do, to be very hollow, depraved, silly and incomprehensible.

Recently, President Tinubu’s son, Seyi, was on his father’s delegation to a business summit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Since then, all hell has been let loose. Sadly, in an attempt to justify their pay, they have continued to spew an abysmally incomprehensible viewpoint that questions Seyi’s job background.

One would have thought that these henchmen would be a bit diligent or meticulous enough to crosscheck properly whether a member or members of the president’s family travelling with the president on business summit breaches any article of our constitution or runs foul of any moral code.

Though this can send tongues wagging among cynics, this only applies where the president’s family member concerned is a truant or had no business being there. In this case, Seyi Tinubu is a business executive of immense pedigree long before his father became the president. So, what disqualifies him from following President Tinubu to a business summit? Oh, I see! In the pedestal minds of those jaundiced critics, once a person’s father becomes president, he is stripped of every privilege available to a citizen?

Or has the desperation to paint Tinubu’s government black before the 2027 presidential election clogged their memory that they have forgotten so soon how Tinubu publicly kicked Seyi and some other family members out of the Federal Executive Council meeting, warning them never to attend FEC again because it was not a business summit?

The trip to Qatar was publicly billed as a business summit, for which Nigerian businesses were meant to collaborate with Qatari companies. Lest we forget, these corrupt and deep pocket opponents, henchmen and their moles in government circles leaked a government memo to the public to embarrass President Tinubu. In fact, they even mocked the Tinubu administration publicly when a leaked letter claimed that the “Business Summit” aspect of the trip had been cancelled, which turned out to be a fat lie.

There is no low that these undesirable elements cannot descend to if their stomach is involved. Let me draw this red line for their sponsors. Where politicians prioritise the interests of their country above theirs, politics is left at the level of fair debates or superior ideas. The 2023 presidential elections have come and gone. Overwhelming number of eligible Nigerian voters gave Tinubu their mandate. No amount of mischief can change that. Again, no force, gang ups, tantrums or sabotage can change the fact that the opponents tried to sell their lies of rigging in the election and failed woefully.

Suffice to drum this into their numb skull that the president traveling with family members on state visits or business summit is a common practice. Proponents argue that it can be a bonding experience and a way to educate children about diplomacy and world affairs. Opponents often raise concerns about nepotism and the cost to taxpayers.

Here are some examples of presidents who have traveled with their children on state visits or business summits: As Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher took her son, Mark Thatcher, to overseas UK business summits. Sir Mark Thatcher is a businessman, as is Seyi Tinubu. Also, it is on record that President Olusegun Obasanjo, similarly, took his son, Gbenga, on a business summit while he was President. Gbenga is also a legitimate businessman.

The current United States president, Joe Biden, took his son, Hunter Biden, to a business summit in China while he was vice president. Former President Donald Trump even made his daughter and her husband his advisers, who frequently travelled with him to business and political summits.

Former President Barack Obama’s daughters, Sasha and Malia, frequently traveled with him on official trips. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also been known to travel with his family, including his wife and children. In 2015, former Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was criticised for taking his son on a state visit to the United States.

Let me at this point interrogate the motives of these armchair critics. If not for their dubious intentions, why focus on Seyi and ignore the take-home from the trip? Since they’re feigning ignorance of the benefits of the engagement, let me state clearly that there are five significant agreements made by President Tinubu with the UAE, including the immediate cessation of the visa ban placed on Nigerian travellers.

Both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines are to immediately resume flight schedules into and out of Nigeria, without any further delay. The immediate restoration of flight activity, through these two airlines and between the two countries, does not involve any immediate payment by the Nigerian government.

An agreed framework has been established, which will involve several billions of U.S. dollars’ worth of new investments into the Nigerian economy across multiple sectors, including defense, agriculture and others, by the investment arms of the government of the United Arab Emirates.

The president has successfully negotiated a joint new foreign exchange liquidity programme between the two governments, which will be announced in detail in the coming weeks.

Also, there is an agreement to fully normalise and reset to excellence the standard of relations between the two important countries.

As soon as he returned from the trip, President Tinubu signed executive orders aimed at attracting investments, optimising resources, and diversifying the nation’s economy.

Nigeria, as Africa’s largest oil producer, has long sought to leverage its vast oil and gas resources for economic development but challenges such as bureaucratic bottlenecks, contracting delays, and low local participation have hindered the sector’s full potential.

To revitalise the country’s oil and gas sector, the president signed the policy directives crafted after extensive consultations and benchmarking with global best practices. The executive orders are designed to enhance the investment climate, positioning Nigeria as the top choice for oil and gas investments in Africa. It will also ensure the application of local content requirements to enhance local involvement without compromising investment attractiveness.

As I conclude, let me sympathise with the pestle-wielding cynics and their sponsors. Their machinations are not only falling like a pack of cards, Nigerians are already wiser than their antics.