President Bola Tinubu has dismissed reports that the Federal Government sponsored over 1,411 delegates to participate at the Conference of the Party (COP28) climate change summit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Some critics on social media criticised the federal government’s alleged wasteful spending after several reports emerged showing the delegates list by visiting countries.
The delegates that graced this year’s summit in Dubai is arguably one of the largest in COP history.
With over 97,000 participants attending COP28 in Dubai, UAE is said to have the largest registered delegates totaling 4,409.
The UAE list is trailed by Brazil ( 3,081) while China and Nigeria, have 1,411 delegates occupying the third largest contingents, according to Carbon brief.
The presidential candidate of the Labour party, Peter Obi described the development as a “twist of sad irony”.
Obi tweeted on Sunday that
Nigeria needs to de-emphasize unnecessary ceremony and showmanship “as a mode of government behaviour.”
“We need to tie spending to necessity and national Priority. A New Nigeria is possible. We only need to do the reasonable and the necessary”, Obi added.
Although silent on the actual number of persons it sponsored to the event, the federal government said it only sponsored a ‘tiny portion’ of delegates to the event.
Special Adviser to the President on Social Media, Dada Olusegun, stated via his X page that the federal government was only responsible for its immediate staff, “which is a very tiny portion of the total delegates.”
He explained that the list of Nigeria delegation is unified, including both government and non-government representatives, adding that every name under Nigeria is categorised as “Nigeria’s Delegation”, whether it is from a Ministry, NGOs, Private Sector, Parastals, or part of the President’s delegation.
“Individuals of the same Nationality (Nigeria) can be sponsored by foreign organisations as NGOs will also take on their expenses.
“In the Nigerian Pavilion at COP 28, hundreds of panels have been held, coordinated by different ministries, private sectors, academia, and CSOs.
“During the summit, invited ministers MUST participate at different times in the program, which is divided according to schedule”, Olusegun added.
He maintained that “while there may be reservations about who has been nominated by certain NGOs”, it is important for Nigerians to understand that President Tinubu is not insensitive to allow such wastage at this point in time when he is leading the charge to cut wasteful spending on subsidies and foreign exchange which has direct impact on the citizens.
He added that among the delegates from Nigeria are UBA Chairman, Tony Elumelu, Abdul Samad Rabiu, Chairman of BUA group, and other billionaires, who came with their staff to promote their own business interests.
”Their trip to #Cop28Dubai is not funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The opposition doesn’t want you to see the gains of Nigeria’s participation in #COP28 . They will rather take your attention as a patriot and progressive from the agreement signed by Nigeria and Germany on the sidelines of the summit that will see to the end-to-end modernization and expansion of Nigeria’s electric power transmission grid with the full supply, delivery and installation of Siemens-manufactured equipment under the time line of 18 to 24 months”, Olusegun added.