By Ikenna Asomba
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, today (Monday, April 30, 2018), will be the first leader from sub-Saharan Africa to meet up with United States President Donald Trump in the White House.
He is not the first leader from Africa. Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi, the sixth and incumbent President of Egypt was, on Monday, April 3, 2017.
See link as empirical evidence- https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/04/03/world/middleeast/-egypt-sisi-trump-white-house.html.
Enough of this Vainglorious Merchandising by Presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu and his BMC Boys and Girls.
WHAT THE VISIT IS FOR ME
However, for me, that President Buhari is visiting POTUS Trump at the Oval Office, West Wing of the White House, later on, today, is not the issue for me. The issue for me is what should be the meat and content of their discussion.
In a Press Release, on April 15 by White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, the two major things that are on the agenda, when both Presidents meet are:
1. Economic opportunities for both countries (U.S. and Nigeria)
2. Security issues particularly combating the Boko Haram menace in Nigeria, among others.
On a very serious note, the United States has a lot to benefit from Nigeria under President Buhari or any other President holding forth.
Nigeria, on the other hand has a lot more to benefit from the U.S.
It’s therefore apt to recall that the U.S.-Nigerian Relations dates back 1960, following Nigeria’s Independence from the United Kingdom.
The reality remains that U.S. Presidents, since 1960, have had a lot of interest in Nigeria as a strategic partner on the African Continent, by virtue of Nigeria’s geographical location, the size of its population and its economy.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, Africa’s largest market, Africa’s largest single economy in absolute terms (feat it achieved under the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, when it beat South Africa and Egypt).
Nigeria is the ‘Giant of Africa,’ as well as the most populous Black Nation in the world with a population of over 180 million people.
Therefore, the interest for the U.S. in Nigeria is based on the fact that American businesses seek markets where they are scalable and sellable.
Presently, the only free trade agreement the U.S. has with any African country is with Morocco.
It is therefore not out of place that POTUS Trump’s meeting with Nigeria’s President Buhari is to further boost the posibility of making Nigeria a model candidate for a Free Trade Deal, among other interests.
It is certain the U.S. thinks ahead. With Nigeria’s strategic position in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as Africa, the U.S. knows that if it has access through Nigeria, it has access to a market of several hundred million people.
All these facts should spur President Buhari to be very ARTICULATE during his meeting with the world’s no. 1 President, POTUS Trump.
Aside military assistance, foreign aids, better deals should be cut for Nigeria and Africa in general.
I expect Buhari to seek the help of the United States in helping Nigeria fix its AGE-LONG POWER CRISIS.
Just like the United States, if Nigeria attains a 24/7 Electricity Supply, Nigeria and Nigerians, including U.S. citizens and businesses domiciled in Nigeria would be better for it.
Nigerian businesses, small, medium and large would thrive, as well as U.S. businesses in Nigeria. The monies spent of buying power generating sets, fuelling and servicing these power-generating sets in Nigeria, as well as the dangerous gaseous emissions they emit into the Nigerian sky is heart-rending.
Like our own Nnamdi Mamah, wrote in his article on Al Jazeera, President Buhari should not only speak positive for Nigeria, but also for Africa.
President Buhari, should not flounder with his very annoying characteristic gaffes when on the international soil, in today’s meeting at the Oval Office. I repeat, he must be very articulate.
For a better U.S. Relations in Africa, President Buhari should also realise that Nigeria has Morocco to contend with once that country completes its accession to ECOWAS.
I wish President Buhari, Goodluck, in his meeting with POTUS Donald Trump.
Ikenna Asomba, a Journalist and Social Commentator is the Editor, Diplomatic Watch.