PRESIDENT BUHARI'S GREAT DIPLOMATIC FEAT FOR A CHANGE
No doubt the four-day official visit of President Muhammadu Buhari came off so successfully on every count that the country, struggling to effect mitigation from the wreckage the immediate past government and indeed all other past governments made of it, stands to soon reap from that important visit. President Buhari’s visit not only resonated in its spectacular success but re-integrated the country to the comity of serious nations where it had been cast as a pitiable outlaw via the humiliating conducts of the immediate past government.
For the six years the outgone government was blubbering so miserably from one policy mistake to the other, the country was taken as an unserious joker in the comity of nations. From all practical indices the developed world saw the past government as a huge parody and spared nothing to pass that demeaning message. Nigerians were sorely embarrassed as a fidgety and dense government stumbled from one mediocre pit fall to the other and dragged the country down a disappointing maze. Nigerians watched in awe as the country became a regular butt of the ribaldry of the entire world who missed no opportunity to tell us in cryptic and unfamiliar non-diplomatic terms that we had a misfit as a government.
These were very huge liabilities that vitiated the capacity of Nigeria not only to fulfill its roles to her citizens but also to play a notable role even in the African continent. While these lasted, Nigeria’s image plummeted to such abysmally low level that negatively robbed off on its citizenry. Its capacity to carry out any meaningful activity in the international orbit waned so considerably such that nations ran from doing even perfunctory businesses with Nigeria on account of the low grade leadership that drove it.
These were the huge garbages President Buhari inherited as he zoomed into power on the wings of a fervent pan-national mandate in May. As President Obama welcomed President Buhari with that hilarious acclamation thus; ‘“ President Buhari came into office with reputation for integrity and a very clear agenda, that is, to make sure that he has been bringing safety, security and peace to his country”, it was obvious that the heads of Nigerians in every part of the globe swirled with pride and nostalgia for the good old days when the country was reckoned with in the comity of nations. It was certain that this rare testimonial had been given by the US of very few African leaders in world history and marks the re-admittance of Nigeria to the hallowed orbit of serious nations where it had been missing for a very long time.
For his visit, the American government rolled out the red carpet and spared nothing to underscore the importance of that visit. This was a rare privilege reserved for only few leaders in the conduct of American affairs and this was not lost on either the Americans or the Nigerians that watched with keen interest. The field was Buhari’s to prance and he did that so majestically, so magisterially, so professionally and so familiarly, with assured gait to the delight of Nigerians. For each session he undertook, he spoke with measures of traditional seriousness and deep introspection that assures. These have been critical nerves that had been lacking in the conduct of the country’s leadership for a very long time. As this show of respect lasted, the departed pride of Nigerians and their lost faith in officialdom returned and the promises of a newer, fresher and well-burnished relationship between Africa’s biggest nation and the world’s biggest economy and most powerful nation unfurled a specter of positive expectations for the citizens of a nation humbled by inept and ethically rusty governments. For Nigerians, the pointers of a more stable, more assured and more secured polity became reified as we eagerly followed every of his measured engagements.
President Buhari was to get fully engrossed in his very busy itinerary that included: a breakfast meeting with the US Vice President Joe Biden, a US Government lunch on power to be hosted by the Secretary of State John Kerrry, a bilateral meeting with Deputy Secretary of State (Defence), Robert O. Work, a meeting with the United States Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, an audience with ECOWAS Ambassadors and a meeting on tackling corruption in Nigeria with the US Attorney General, Lorreta Lynch.
Also, President Buhari had a meeting with the Secretary of Treasury, Jack Lew, met with potential investors in Agriculture, a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce, an interactive dinner by the US Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Council for Africa, a meeting with the President of the World Bank, as well as the representative of the Bill Gates Foundation. He also met with the Nigerian community in the United States.
President Buhari was hosted by the US Department of State at a function to be attended by the Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. President Buhari even had the honor of receiving the Class of 1980 of the prestigious US War College of which he was a participant.
As his tour of duty came to an end, President Buhari played Nigeria back to the decent club of serious nations where it had long been rusticated. He secured so much political, military, economic and social mileage for a country that has long neighed for responsible government but got a horde of irresponsible and rouge leadership. These include; US commitment to assist the country recover stolen funds cruelly plundered by past government officials and key into Buhari’s pet anti-corruption fight, commitment to the Nigerian fight against insurgency, commitment to invest in agriculture, wider bilateral relationship and investment in industry, commerce and trade and fostering deeper diplomatic relationship between the two countries. The President got resounding approval for his work so far in arresting the drift of a nation and place it firmly on the paths of recovery. Indeed President Obama minced no words to state that President Buhari has greatly impressed with his performance so far in office and has a clear agenda for taking the country far from the very canvass where it was dumped by previous regimes.
There is little doubt that Nigeria and Nigerians will savour the fruits of this well delivered diplomatic feat as we warm up to the realities and promises of the Change we hungrily neighed for, worked fervently for and got as the locusts ravaged this country.
Written by Peter Claver Oparah.