Will US President Obama Ever Visit Nigeria?
September 15, 2016 – President Obama, It Is Never Too Late To Pay Nigeria A Visit – Brig. General Ojo
Nigeria and the United States have long been close allies since the former’s independence in 1960. Nigeria’s foreign policy even during the famed Cold War was essentially pro-West. This was expected as the country’s post-independence leaders like Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe had their university education in the US.
The US also realised from the beginning Nigeria’s potential as a country full of hope for the growth of democracy in Africa. Thus, at Nigeria’s independence on October 1, 1960, Governor Nelson Rockefeller was present as the representative of the US President. Before then in June 1960, a five-man US delegation was in Nigeria to study areas of possible economic co-operation between the two countries. This was the beginning of Nigeria-US bilateral relations.
Nigeria and the US have so much in common. Both were once British colonies. The US declared independence in 1776, while Nigeria became independent in 1960. Both fought a civil war. The US fought a civil war in 1861-1865 while Nigeria fought hers in 1967-1970. The US has 50 states while Nigeria has 36 states. The US military forces are all over the world in order to make it safe to the extent that America is often referred to as the “Policeman of the world”. Similarly, Nigerian forces are in Sudan, Liberia, Mali and other parts of Africa on peacekeeping missions to maintain peace and the country is often referred to as the Giant of Africa. The US operates the presidential system of government while Nigeria at the advent of democracy in 1999 adopted the US presidential system of government. The two countries also belong to a number of international organisations such as the UN, IMF, WTO, and World Bank. All these similarities result to better co-operation which in turn helps to deepen their bilateral relations.
These bilateral relations have therefore continued to wax stronger over the years. The Nigeria-US Binational Commission is a forum for high level discussions between the two countries. These discussions have focused mainly on areas of mutual interest particularly on good governance and transparency, energy, regional security, agriculture and investment leading to the US being the largest investor in Nigeria. In the area of security, the US is instrumental to the establishment of the Simulation Centre at the Armed Forces and Staff College. It is currently assisting Nigeria in the fight against terrorism in the North-East. Such has been the US-Nigeria bilateral relations over the years.
Although there were occasional tense moments particularly during the Murtala-Obasanjo regime over Angola and before then during Gen. Yakubu Gowon regime during the civil war following the US refusal to sell arms to the Nigerian Army which was taken by Nigeria as a tacit support for Biafra. However, the US-Nigeria bilateral relations have always remained cordial.
On state visits between the leaders of the two countries, it started as far back with the visit of Nigeria’s first and only Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, to the US from July 25 to 28, 1961 on the invitation of President JF Kennedy less than a year after Nigeria’s independence. During the visit, Balewa addressed a special joint session of the US Congress. A rare privilege and honour accorded to few heads of government. Similarly, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was also on an official state visit to the US from October 3-8, 1980.
In the years after the military rule and since the return of democracy in 1999, every Nigerian President has visited the US. President Olusegun Obasanjo was on an official visit to the US from October 27 to 30, 1999 on the invitation of President Bill Clinton. Less than two years after, the same Obasanjo was again on an official visit from May 10 to 12, 2001, on the invitation of President George Bush. In all, Obasanjo visited the US at least on five different occasions.
Other presidents after Obasanjo that visited the US include Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua, Dr Goodluck Jonathan and now, Muhammadu Buhari. These state visits to the US by Nigerian leaders clearly show that Nigeria considers the former as an ally.
Like their Nigerian counterparts, all the US presidents both Republicans and Democrats since 1978 have visited Nigeria except Ronald Reagan. The first US President to visit Nigeria was the Democratic President Jimmy Carter from March 31 to April 3, 1978. Clinton, another Democrat, was also on an official visit to Nigeria from August 26-28, 2000. While in Nigeria, he addressed the National Assembly and before he left, he was given three Nigerian names which include Sodangi, Okoro Omowale. The Republican President George Bush also visited Nigeria from July 11-12, 2003. American presidents through these visits affirm the strategic importance of Nigeria to the US.
During the run-up to Barack Obama’s election as on November 4, 2008, the generality of Nigerians were enthusiastic that an African-American was contesting the US President. Nigerians were therefore solidly in support of Obama’s presidential ambition and prayed fervently for him to win. In fact, the enthusiasm was so much that if it were to be possible, at least for the purpose of voting for Obama, Nigerians would not mind if their country became the 51st state of America. Thus, when Obama was sworn in as the first African-American President of the US on January 20, 2008, Nigerians went wild with jubilation. It marked a defining moment in the history of the US and the Black race. Nigeria, the most populous Black country in the world, stood tall.
It is therefore to be expected and in fact taken for granted that Obama would visit Nigeria before the end of his tenure. Alas, a few months to the end of his exit, Nigerians are still waiting to receive him. It is however never too late for President Barrack Obama to visit Nigeria.
Finally, given America’s chequered history of race relations, Obama’s election no doubt technically put an end to racism in the US. Although some few American individuals may still be racist, the generality of Americans however have since done away with racism. It is in the light of this that Obama should finally remove the only vestiges of racism in the US which is the name of the official residence and principal work place of the President of the US, the “White House.” Whatever the reason behind the name, it connotes racism. The “White House” was largely built by enslaved and free African -merican labourers. As of the time it was built, these enslaved and free African-American labourers could never have dreamt or imagined that one of their own would one day reside there as the President of the US. This much was alluded to when Michelle Obama, the American First Lady, addressed the National Democratic Convention held in Philadelphia from July 25-28, 16.
President Barack Hussein Obama, if it is the last thing you will do before the end of your tenure, just like your awaited visit to Nigeria, please, change the name of the “White House” to “American House.” His Excellency, Mr. Stuart Symington, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, should kindly forward these requests to President Barack Obama.
[About the author: Brig. Gen. Ojo (retd.) writes from Lokoja Kogi State via firstname.lastname@example.org]
September 15, 2016 at 7:44 AM
come do waiting for Nigeria ?
September 15, 2016 at 8:01 AM
to come and do what in Nigeria? he can only come to if its necessary
September 15, 2016 at 11:21 AM
wetin make he come do for Nigeria na
September 15, 2016 at 1:05 PM
THE JOURNEY OF LIFE:
LIFE IS THE MOST difficult exam. Many fails because they try to copy others not realizing that everyone has a different quation paper.
OVER TIME, I‘VE DISCOVERED there is no absolute finish line for everyone in the race of life. Our tracks are different and so our durations.
THE ONLY THING we have in common is thesame empire. For instance, one person graduates @ 20 and struggles for another 5yrs to get a job while another might graduate @ 25 and get employed immediately. One can marry a Virgin and wait for the next decade to have the blessing of children, while another lady probably after having series of abortions in her past becomes a mother almost immediately after marriage.
A fellow becomes MD @ 38 and dies @ 56 or before that while another becomes MD @ 55 and live up to 95. Hmmmm… What a life?
LIFE IS FULL of twists, turns, ups and down and many more surprises and disappointments. Life offers each one of us different opportunities and once an opportunity is lost, its gone forever except by God‘s grace. It is up to each one of us to patiently prepare, wait, recognise and utilize every opportunity.
WE LEARN on the way. No one know it all or has it better. There‘s a reason why we all don‘t fall at thesame time. It‘s so that when one is down, weak and discouraged, the other who is strong can encourage and lift the other person.
GOD NEVER PROMISED that the road would be easy but He does promised NEVER to leave or forsake us. Although, life is a kind of competition, let us learn to go easy on ourselves and trust that the Almighty God is working it all out for our good (even if it doesn‘t make sense now).
Whatever trials, challenges, or down-turn we face, all shall pass and in due course, we shall be up and strong again to lift up those who may be down around us.
Never lose hope.
THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER.
I take a stroll…
September 15, 2016 at 4:18 PM
General Ojo,that’s a nice write up from you asking if obama will ever visit the nigeria. However,I don’t think his visit at this time will make any different to our nation considering the little time left for him to hand over power to subsequent president elected.
Just as you mentioned,Nigeria and the US have many things in common especially in the adoption of their system of democracy along with their pattern of constitution.
Nigeria would have been a great and exemplary nation in africa and the whole world if our leaders wholeheartedly practice the democracy that was handed down to us at the same time respect our national constitution. Ever since nigeria started practising democracy,we’ve so far had no real development. Instead,Our democracy have been marred with corruption,shameful embezzlement and looting of the nation’s account without any power on the part of the Government to bring those enemy of the nation to stand trial,not even 1. Trials of the suspected looters have always been on the pages of news papers.
How joyful the nigerian citizens will be if any of this enemy of progress/evil politician men are brought to book.
Those money stole by our corrupt leaders would have brought real development in all facet of our economy that would have been unmatched in africa and in competition with some of the developed country’s economy.
But what the outside world have observed is increased in insecurity,recession,unemployment,corrupt judicial system,human right violation,lack of infrastructure and terrorism.
So why would Barak Obama be move to visit such country that is still reeling in lack of development and living with one of the most dangerous terrorist in the world when it has the power to change the pitiful condition that beset it? Those points most likely may have been the reason why he failed to pay us a visit.
And I believe the deeply rooted prejudice in US government most especially among the republicans who have the most seat in the congress will not allow Obama to change the name of the white house to the name you suggested. This is a country that is always at the forefront promoting and advocating for human right observation earth wide, whereas many of our blacks living in their land have been massacred by their cops without any justice. In view of this,I don’t think Obama with african descent has the power to change the name WHITE HOUSE to AMERICAN HOUSE.
If Obama doesn’t come to Nigeria,then so be it. What we need now is a good governance from our leaders. Thank you very much Mr Ojo for your write up.
September 15, 2016 at 5:55 PM
So that you can teach him how to be corrupt.
September 15, 2016 at 6:53 PM
Will his coming solve the current issues we have in this country?
September 15, 2016 at 7:13 PM
I WOULD SAY THAT MR OOBO IS A PRETENDER, I DO NOT THINK HE WILL EVER COME TO NIGERIA.
I JUST WANT HIM TO KNOW THAT AMERICA AND ALL OTHER WESTERNERS ARE MORE PROFESSIONAL SUPERDUPER THAN NIGERIA.
PEOPLE SHOULD READ HISTORY AND BE A SEARCHMACHINE TO KNOW WHO THEY REALY ARE.
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY NOT ASK WICKYLINK.COM
BECAUSE THEY TRAINED US , AND THEY ARE OUR GRANDMASTER.
SO IT WAS VERY WRONG FOR FORMER PRIME MINISTER CAMERON AND MR OOBO, TO LOOK AT NIGERIA AS THE GREATEST SUPERDUPER.
September 15, 2016 at 7:28 PM
Thanks for your this piece Professor Ojo, Emeritus professor of history. I referred to you as a professor because of how you put your paragraphs together to form a unique story. However, you don’t have to beg Obama to visit our Country at all cost. If Obama feels that,that is the right thing to do sure he will visit Nigeria. The whole world is observing our bad behavior and how badly we are treating ourselves. Now tell me what remarkable things have we done to attract foreigner to visit our country not to talk of a president of the United States.
Let me tell you the fact of the matter, these westerners can never be your friend if you don’t have anything to offer them. We have to prove our worth to the outside world before they can come closer to us. Just like China. China is the leading economy. She is behind United States in technology but in terms of economy China is very strong. Obama can visit China to discuss about trade deal. What is he coming to do in Nigeria? the information they get from Nigeria is not encouraging. We only put our dependency on oil which is not bringing more revenue as it should. Nobody want to visit a Country where they are only known for Boko Haram insurgency, corruption, ritual, kidnapping etc.
The only reason why they are still relating to us is our crude oil which has been seriously affected by global market price. We need to do more if we want the super power to recognize us. We don’t have reliable infrastructures, no good roads, no electricity, no portable water. We are one of the leading consuming nation even we have to import the water that we drink. Obama may prefer to visit Ghana or Kenya because they are slightly better than us.
We are too proud to seek for help. We think because we are making money from oil we are on the top of the world. Just wait and see when your oil will be no more relevant. Mr Ojo, if you want Obama to visit your Country, we have to change our attitude. We must rebrand ourselves by doing something noticeable so that the entire world can at least come closer to us. Some countries have no other resources than tourism. They make their money from tourists and they expand more on it. Let us try to at least do something meaningful first.
September 15, 2016 at 7:41 PM
not necessary, what is he coming to do?
September 15, 2016 at 7:53 PM
PLS DONT COME WE DON’T HAVE BLUE CARPET DUE TO BUHARI CHANGE FROM RED.
September 15, 2016 at 8:44 PM
F**k Obama. What has he go to offer Nigeria or Africa other than his FAGGOT policy. F**K OBAMA. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN
September 15, 2016 at 11:07 PM
IS he coming to further press on PMB to sign gay marriage into law? His time is already past. We should be speaking of if Hillary Clinton would ever visit Nigeria.
September 16, 2016 at 5:25 PM
Who hin visit Epp sef, just as rightly pointed out by #Metu_Nyetu, it might be for another way of making Mr President sign d gay marriage into law but God won’t allow.