A Nigerian governor who accompanied President Muhammadu Buhari to the ongoing United Nations General Assembly, was spotted dozing whiles the president delivered his address on September 25.
The Cable Nigeria shared photos of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state in a posture that suggested that he was not following proceedings.
Obaseki was the only governor on Buhari’s delegation which also included about a half dozen ministers as well as some security chiefs and chairman of the anti-corruption outfit.
Despite Governor Obaseki’s rare work culture, unmatched by his peers, we have never portrayed him as a machine. He can experience fatigue and exhaustion, an indisputable fact of life, to which all humans are susceptible.
A year ago at the UNGA, ex-Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe was spotted ‘resting his eyes’ at a time United States president Donald Trump was speaking. Mugabe took his turn to advice Trump to be peaceful in his dealings.
Governor’s aide responds
An aide to the governor has since responded to the media report, stating that there was nothing peculiar about the dozing incident.
In a statement titled: ‘Governor Obaseki the extreme hard worker, is human,’ the aide explained that the governor had momentarily succumbed to fatigue after a long flight and a heavy schedule at home.
He called media networks who reported on the incident as ‘disparagers’ adding that: “The idle hands and mischievous minds behind the smear campaign against governor Obaseki are clearly not people to be taken seriously.
“Despite Governor Obaseki’s rare work culture, unmatched by his peers, we have never portrayed him as a machine. He can experience fatigue and exhaustion, an indisputable fact of life, to which all humans are susceptible.
The aide stressed how it was not rare to see leaders doze off during sessions as a result of their loaded schedules: ‘The internet is awash with photographs of outstanding world leaders who have at one time or the other yielded to fatigue at meetings.
“The list includes the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel; Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe; former United States President, Barack Obama; his Economic Adviser, Larry Summers; Pope Benedict XVI; former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown; former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi and the former Austrian President, Heinze Fischer, amongst others.’
The governor has however gone on to engage with investors and other business people on the sidelines of the UNGA.