Buhari In America | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

Our View, Views

Buhari In America

Posted: Jul 23, 2015 at 2:33 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The just-concluded four-day official visit of President Mohammadu Buhari to the United States has not only secured America’s endorsement of the President’s administration but also opened a myriad of social, economic and political prospects for Nigeria. The visit which has garnered a positive image for the country internationally, has equally strengthened Nigeria’s diplomatic relations with America. From indications, America seems to trust Buhari on the basis of his acclaimed integrity and is therefore willing to do business with Nigeria. One big expectation of America from Buhari is that he will work towards turning Nigeria’s diversity into strength, as President Barack Obama pontificated during one of their meetings, and at the same time help Nigerians achieve their desired all-round change.

Buhari’s historic visit promises to attract more American investments in Nigeria and subsequently procure employment opportunities for many unemployed graduates. But it is a two-way issue as it will also boost the American economy, for Nigeria is the biggest market in Africa, considering her population.

Although it initially appeared that Nigeria did not embark on the trip from the point of equal strength with America, having shown that we need America more than they need us, the results have come out well for the country in many respects. The US has promised to help Nigeria in the area of training, equipment and intelligence-gathering to be able to defeat Boko Haram. The American Secretary of State, John Kerry, also said that the US government might set up an African military base, whose headquarters would be in Nigeria to enhance Nigeria’s security.  We expect this to attract urgent attention.

The World Bank also announced a pledge of $2.1 billion to rebuild parts of the zone where Boko Haram insurgents have wreaked havoc in past years. They intend to do this through the International Development Agency (IDA), by offering loans at low interest rates to governments for onward transmission to residents of their states. This is commendable essentially because the terms are far from being stringent. More so, the facility comes with a ten-year moratorium during which the loans would be interest-free, while repayment over the rest 30 years would be at a rate lower than that of the capital market. People in the North-East need this, just as all Nigerians desire the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s)  N300 million investment in immunisation against malaria. Besides, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation promised to collaborate with Dangote Foundation to ensure that Nigeria maintains her current zero polio case record. These are prevailing health issues, which Nigerian governments have contended with over the years.

When Buhari was about leaving for the US, the fear in Nigerians was almost palpable that he would likely be confronted with the bogging question of gay marriage. But America did well enough to have avoided such sentimental subject. It was not only a relief but also a sign of America’s maturity and respect for Nigeria’s culture, which forbids homosexuality. But Buhari failed to ask why America is no longer buying our oil when she is still buying from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Canada, in spite of her earlier explanation that she has reduced her oil importation.

By and large, we admonish the President to utilise the gains of his trip and take into account all the promises he made to Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora concerning oil subsidy, corrupt officials and the Diaspora Bill. This is the only way he can sustain people’s continued support for his government.