Potential Benefits Of President Buhari's US Visit
For me, the visit to US by President Buhari has been an impressive one indeed, especially if both sides will walk the talk. With Obama giving the Buhari administration such a second-to-none credibility capital, shows how a new Nigeria is unfolding before our eyes, which is inviting the world to begin to take Nigeria seriously.
One very important take home for President Buhari should be Obama's advice that he should work extremely hard in uniting the ever divided Nigeria because, as Obama hinted, a divided nation can never expect serious development. That's why as the father of the nation, Buhari should do everything possible to unite Nigerians by carryung every ethnic group along whether they voted for him or not because a good father never discriminates among his children.
Convinced that Boko Haram will soon be defeated with US support, the rush to investing in Nigeria's critical sectors of the economy will become inevitable and unprecedented.
Even though US's expectations are not made fully public, including if Washington behind the scene is still wanting AFRICOM headquartered in Africa, certainly the visit is going to be a very beneficial one to both sides.
First, as Nigeria's economic ally, it is possible that the US might reconsider buying Nigeria’s oil which it did not stop buying because of shale oil but as a punitive measure for Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Bill. After all, the US still buys Saudi's oil which being heavy and with more sulfur is not only not better than Nigeria's but, in fact, costs far more to transport to US.
Second, the new friendship will definitely make Nigeria now navigate the global economic and trade diplomacy with less difficulty. In particular, it will make Buhari's efforts to recover Nigeria's stolen hundreds of billions of dollars kept overseas by our past government officials, easy to find and repatriate.
Third, helping Nigeria strengthen surveillance of the Gulf of Guinea, should undoubtedly drastically reduce the present unacceptable level of stealing of Nigeria’s oil by international gangsters, if not put the thieves completely out of business.
Fourth, the newfound relationship should mean that even if the US for whatsoever reasons does not invest in Nigeria, so far, the truth is that the now well-marketed Nigeria to the rest of the world, has been confirmed as a serious investment destination for serious-minded global investors. In other words, this visit has once again confirmed Nigeria's status in today's world as the most beautiful girl in town everyone that matters should notice and want to befriend at all costs.
That means that helping Nigeria build nuclear reactors for electricity generation will no longer be blocked. Even if for any reasons the US seems not eager to invest in this important power sector areas, certainly it may not stand on the way of countries like France and Russia, who might be ready to assist us build our nuclear power generating plants.
A new cold war over Nigeria's strategic power in Africa, being its most populous and largest economy and its potentially influential role in the 21st century world, seem to now put BRICS member countries on notice. This means that as the BRICS's leading nation, China should besides thinking of how best to take full advantage of Nigeria's emergence as Africa's indisputable economic powerhouse by pouring hundreds of billions in Nigeria's ever profitable mining, agriculture, food processing, and real estate, ensure Nigeria’s timely membership in BRICS by transforming it into "BRINCS."
No doubt Obama's public confirmation of Buhari’s impeccable integrity and honest leadership is a big deal for Nigeria, a country whose leaders have always been seen by the whole world to have penchant for corruption. What this message sends out to foreign investors and governments wanting to deal with Nigeria is that finally the corruption zero-tolerant Nigeria is now welcoming them with the full assurance that no longer should they be afraid of the safety of their investments in Nigeria because of its past corrupt and weak system, lacking credibility in the rule of law.
Odilim Enwegbara, development economist.