A closer look at the countries the President visited since assuming office in May 2015 revealed the United Kingdom to be his most frequented destination.

Although this could be attributed to the summits he attended in London, medical check-ups loomed large in the nine trips and over 200 days he has spent there.

Trailing the UK is the United States, where Buhari has visited seven times, mostly for the United Nations General Assembly held annually in September.

However, some had been state visits as in July 2015 and September 2016 when he met President Barack Obama and another state visit in April 2018 involving President Donald Trump.

A further breakdown by Sunday PUNCH showed that Buhari also visited Saudi Arabia, South Africa and France a record five times each.

Ethiopia recorded four visits, with three visits to the United Arab Emirates, Ghana and Senegal, respectively.

Countries he visited thrice and twice include Niger and China, Germany, Benin, The Gambia, Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Mali, Chad and Germany, respectively.

The President also touched the ground once in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, India, Sudan, Spain, Iran, Malta, Rwanda, Qatar, Turkey, Scotland, Morocco, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Jordan, Burkina Faso, Belgium, South Korea, Liberia and Japan; totalling 40 countries and 84 trips.

In an earlier interview with our correspondent, Nigeria’s former envoy to Singapore, Ogbole Amedu-Ode, said the trips were necessary as the President and Vice-President’s presence gave greater weight to the issues underlying such visits.

He explained, “In some critical situations, yes, such foreign visits are justified. A sovereign leader must undertake his diplomatic tours in order to lend the weight of his office to the issue at hand.

“For example, if there had been a state visit from a particular head of state or government to Nigeria, and diplomacy is a game of reciprocity, then in return, he (Nigerian President) should also undertake a visit to reciprocate whatever objective is to be achieved.

“You cannot say a head of state came here, then you send somebody of lesser stature in the administrative hierarchy to go back to that foreign capital. Also, there are certain critical issues that it is the presence of the sovereign that will carry the essential weight in underscoring the objective to be achieved.”

In a factsheet released on May 28, 2022, the Presidency argued that the trips had revived and strengthened fragile or broken relations with the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa and other neighbours such as Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

It also said Buhari’s visit to China in April 2016 unlocked billions of dollars in infrastructure funding for road, rail and port projects.

On the security front the Presidency said the government “has mobilised international support for the war against Boko Haram, forging strong partnerships with key countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, ECOWAS, the AU, UN and others. After years of stalemate, the United States finally agreed to sell – and is selling – weapons to Nigeria (fighter aircraft).”