In the first official encounter of the politicians, President Obama has characterised his Nigerian colleague as a “man of integrity”.
Speaking further about the role of Nigeria on the African continent, Obama was quoted as saying by Adesina as saying: “Wherever Nigeria goes, Africa goes. The continent’s destiny is tied to Nigeria’s.”
The American president stressed the importance of keeping Nigeria united, because a divided country can never succeed. “Turn the diversity of Nigeria to source of strength.”
Regarding the battle against Boko Haram insurgency, Obama advised Buhari to combine military action with social and economic programmes. According to Sahara Reporters, Obama expressed confidence:
“President Buhari has a very clear agenda of defeating Boko Haram and extremists of all sorts… and of rooting out the corruption that has too often held back the economic growth and prosperity of his country.”
Premium Times also reports with reference to Barack Obama that the US will partner with Nigeria so that the country “ends up being not only an anchor of prosperity and stability in the eastern part of the continent, but can also be an outstanding role model for developing countries around the world”.
He also said that he would discuss with Buhari the most effective ways of cooperation to end insurgency and how the American side can help Nigeria.
He further pledged US commitment to cooperating with Nigeria as long as the country “remains on course.”
See the extract from Obama’s speech as provided by The Punch:
It is a great pleasure to welcome President Buhari and his delegation here in the White House for his first visit since the historic election that took place. Nigeria is obviously one of the most important countries in the world; one of the most important countries in the African continent.
Recently, we saw an election in which a peaceful transition to a new government took place. Nevertheless, the people of Nigeria understand that only through a peaceful political process that change can take place.
President Buhari came into office with reputation for integrity and a very clear agenda: that is to make sure that he brings safety, security and peace to his country. He is very concerned about the spread and the violence that is taking place there and the atrocities and has a very clear agenda in defeating Boko Haram and extremists.
I want to emphasise how much I appreciate President Buhari’s work so far. I have seen him put together a team, so we can do everything that we can to help him succeed and help the people of Nigeria succeed.
Obama also promised that his country would continue to assist Nigeria in ensuring political stability in the country, Africa and the world.
Buhari in turn commended the US for putting pressure on the past administration led by former President Goodluck Jonathan to conduct credible election. He said the free and fair elections conducted in Nigeria would not have been possible but for the US gesture. He said Nigeria would forever remain grateful to the US for that action.
Our President said
The visit of the Secretary of State before the elections to see the former President, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission and the opposition was a positive trend that saw us through the elections.
And the maintenance of pressure by United States mainly and Europe to make sure that the elections were free, fair and credible made us to be where we are now. It would have been almost impossible if the United States did not maintain the pressure on the former Nigerian Government.”
Apart from that, the American leader addressed members of Buhari’s entourage, urging the five accompanying governors, so as other officials, to assist President Buhari.
The Nigerian leader, on his part, thanked his colleague for the invitation and said that it was partially diplomatic pressure from the US and international community that helped Nigeria conduct democratic elections.
See photos from the meeting. Credits: Sahara Reporters.
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