The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has defended the President’s recent trip to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, saying there are plans for Nigeria to launch the organisation’s film festival.
Shehu, in a statement on Monday, also stated that Buhari, leading other African leaders, got key support for several issues of concern or interest to Nigeria and the African continent at the meeting.
The statement read in part, “Nigeria, a country with bubbling and versatile cultural heritage, stands to gain from measures that will support cinematic productions, including a planned launching of an OIC film festival.
“In this regard, the leaders commended the Secretariat for the initiative of the OIC Film Award for Peace and Co-existence which debuted in February this year at the African Film and TV Festival at Ouagadougou, Mali.”
According to the presidential aide, when the President decided to attend the OIC meeting, he knew some people would raise dust.
Buhari’s spokesman, however, noted that the President, guided by overall national interest, preferred not to worry about the storms.
Shehu said, “The criticisms of his attendance by some, including cultural organisation, Ohanaeze and the Christian Association of Nigeria are not new or unexpected.
“For those who know President Buhari, these tantrums don’t make him angry, in the full understanding that when the critics take time to read or see the outcomes, they too will be glad that the decision (was) taken to be present at the key strategic gathering.
“Interestingly, the major takeaways from this meeting were concerns expressed daily by church leaders and imams. The issues deal directly with safety, peace and prosperity of the nation and its citizens.”
The presidential aide added that top on the list was the strong condemnation of terrorist acts, during which it was agreed that fighting terrorism was a major priority.