The Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic, Lawrence Obisakin, during the donation, lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts at asserting Nigeria’s leadership in Africa.
Mr. Obisakin said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Cotonou on the sidelines of the donation of 15 Hilux vehicles and 100 motorcycles to the Independent Electoral Commission of Benin by Nigeria.
The outgoing ambassador said the gesture would further strengthen the excellent bilateral relationship between the two countries.
“I want to say bravo to President Muhammadu Buhari, the government and the people of Nigeria, and the diplomacy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The diplomat said the donations were made despite the financial challenges facing Nigeria.
“We know the economic conjuncture of Nigeria, However, our president, in his wisdom in spite of the economic difficulties, has been able to be sensitive to the dire need of Benin.
“President Buhari, in his wisdom, has been able to find a way of helping a country that needs by far more assistance,” he said.
Mr. Obisakin said the people of Benin were grateful and will continually show appreciation over Nigeria’s support.
“You heard the Chairman of Benin Electoral Commission saying this is the most welcome gift that they’ve ever received because the election is next week Sunday.
“It is a presidential election and it promises to be very keen and very serious and they need the means because Benin is one of the least-developed countries.
“So, Nigeria is lifting up Benin just like Europe, Germany and Britain, did to the Southern countries.
“This goes to show that Nigeria is indeed a friendly nation, Nigeria is a country that is sensitive to the needs of others,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bulus Lolo, also commended Mr. Buhari, saying he had given visibility to Nigeria’s contributions to African countries since his assumption of office.
“As far as I know, we have supported several countries but visibility being given is only under the Buhari’s administration.
“The quantum of support may even be more by previous governments, but they did not take the necessary step to make it public.
“You can see that marked on these vehicles is an inscription: `Donated by the Federal Republic of Nigeria’, that is an advertisement that you are making.
“Clearly, wherever these vehicles go, everyone seeing them will know that they have come from the Government of Nigeria. We made donations in the past but we did not declare.”
Mr. Lolo had earlier presented the items to Tiando Emmanuel, President, Commission Electorale Nationale Autonome of Benin toward the March 6 general elections in the country.