By David Iorja (Abuja)
President Muhammadu Buhari has departed Abuja on Wednesday, June 22, for Kigali, Rwanda, to attend the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), being held from June 20 to 26, 2022.
A statement issued by the president’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, said President Buhari will join other leaders to participate in discussions focused on the progress and prosperity of the more than 2 billion people living in the 54 independent countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific that make up the Commonwealth.
He said the theme for CHOGM 2022 is ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming,’ and the Heads of Government are expected to reaffirm their commitment to upholding the Commonwealth Charter, which focuses on democracy, human rights, the rule of law, as well as economic opportunities and sustainable development.
President Buhari will attend the official opening ceremony on June 24, followed by high-level meetings of Heads of State and Government on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 June.
The leaders are expected to consider a range of topical issues including post COVID-19 economic recovery, debt sustainability, climate change, poverty reduction, youth entrepreneurship and employment, trade and food security.
Prior to this, the Nigerian delegation drawn from the public, private and youth organisations participated in four forums covering youth, women, business and civil society; and will engage in ministerial meetings and several side events.
On the margins of the meeting, the Nigerian leader is scheduled to deliver remarks at the High-Level Session of Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases Summit and participate in an Intergenerational Dialogue for Youth.
President Buhari is also expected to hold bilateral talks with some leaders from the Commonwealth countries.
Ahead of the biennial meeting, which was due to take place in June 2020 but was postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Buhari, in an article published in The Telegraph, London, stressed that the Commonwealth can become a real global power with improved collaborations on trade and security, lending weight to each other in international bodies.
The President will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami.
Others in the President’s entourage are the National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd) Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar and the Chairman/CEO Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NidCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
The President will return to the country on Sunday, June 26, 2022.