Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to meet President Obama: Talking points and first impression

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It has been reported widely in the press that Nigerian leader and Acting President Goodluck Jonathan will be meeting his American counterpart President Obama in Washington. Obama's Washington is holding a Nuclear Security Summit and world leaders will assemble in Washington for the summit in early April 12-13. The global leaders including Nigerian president are expected to participate in the summit and he will probably hold talk with President Obama.. This is a great opportunity for His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan to display his leadership skill and reassured the world leaders that he is in control and our great country Nigeria is a peaceful nation that will resolve her problems peacefully.

Given the circumstance that impelled Goodluck Jonathan to the role of acting president, it is imperative that he will make impression on the world stage with his understanding of the role of Nigeria as a leader in Africa and what the world expects from Nigeria. This is a golden opportunity for our leader to engage personally in rebranding and making affirmative impression of Nigeria and himself as an emerging discipline and dynamic leader.

It is widely known that America has interest in Africa with regards to enduring of democracy and democratic principles in the second largest continent. Africa with population bulging into a billion people in near future with enormous natural resources especially crude oil has become a strategic interest to Washington. According to Council on Foreign Relations: “Currently, 15 percent of U.S. oil imports come from Africa—as much as from the Middle East—and the continent is poised to double its output over the coming decade. It has become the focus of attention from countries like China, which now imports more oil from Angola than from Saudi Arabia. In addition, Africa is rising in importance in trade, international security, democracy promotion, and efforts to tackle worldwide concerns about global health and poverty.”

Oil is the engine of development, the supply is never enough especially the reliable and safe one. With all the troubles in the Middle East, African oil appears to be the safest at this point in time and the supply of African oil is more secured when compared to Middle East and Russia. Africa's oil proximity to the American market makes its very favorable. The ebony light crude coming from Nigeria is more accessible, easier to explore and refine. Almost 15% of America oil consumption comes from Africa and it is expected to rise up to 25-30% in near future. This makes Africa a strategic important to the West. Although Africa is resources rich but it is still the least developed continent and Africans are still poor.

The world community especially United States know quite well that for Africa to move forward that Nigeria the reluctant giant of Africa must show leadership, by consolidating democracy, probity and free market economy.

Afripol put up an article that analyzed: “THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: THE POLICY FOR NIGERIA” the article listed litany of Nigeria's expectations and needs.

Carson Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African, reinforced America's interest in Africa: “Nigeria, Guinea and other African countries need civilian governments that deliver services to their people, independent judiciaries that respect and enforce the rule of law, professional security forces that respect human rights, strong and effective legislative institutions, a free and responsible press, and a dynamic civil society. This is not a list of options or some menu from which governments and leaders may pick and choose to suit their own ambitions. There has been far too much of that behavior in the past. Rather, all of these rights are requirements for a stable and prosperous Africa that will help ensure a brighter future for the African people.” Therefore Nigeria must lead Africa by examples.

Goodluck Jonathan to be strategic in his engagements

Nigerian leader must be willing to do business with United States. He should emphasis mutual benefits for both countries. He will show to his counterpart that he is willing to work with him inorder to realize the dream of making Nigeria a resourceful, effective and respectful nation that is working for average Nigerian.

Be concise and direct

Instead of handing over volumes of documents that detailed what Nigeria needs from America. He will talk directly to President Obama in simple words what Nigeria really wants without utilizing convoluted diplomatic languages. President Goodluck will leave diplomatic shenanigans and delivering of volumes of documents to his trained diplomats.

United States is a Friend and an Ally

Our leader must remember that America is a true friend of Nigeria. Thousands of Nigerians are living in America, prospering without hindrance and contributing to America positively. Millions of dollars are transferred from Nigerian Americans to the country of their birth Nigeria. And these Nigerians living in America are bringing ideas, knowledge and resources to make Nigeria a better nation. For this our country must show appreciation and build on this friendship for mutual benefits of both countries. The reward of President Goodluck Jonathan trip to America and meeting with President Obama may be the beginning of better understanding of Nigeria's predicament and appreciation of America's invaluable friendship.

Emeka Chiakwelu is the Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol Organization. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa. [email protected]

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Articles by Emeka Chiakwelu