PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan and his United States’ (U.S.) counterpart will discuss Nigeria’s elections in 2015, Boko Haram and other security issues as both leaders meet today.
Jonathan arrived early Sunday in the U.S. for meetings with Obama and at the United Nations (UN). The White House announced the issues Jonathan and Obama will discuss.
Specifically, both Presidents Jonathan and Barack Obama will discuss Nigeria’s security challenges with Boko Haram and its preparations for the 2015 elections, the build up to which has generated a heated polity in the country, especially regarding the anticipated declaration of the incumbent President for a second term.
While the Federal Government has imposed a state of emergency in three northern states due to the activities of Boko Haram, the insurgency has taken an even intensified dimension this past week.
On the other hand, the Nigerian polity has become enmeshed in controversy apparently because of an anticipated 2015 game plan. The ruling PDP recently split, with a new faction threatening the party alongside other political pit battles across the country.
A Senior White House official told reporters over the weekend that President Obama will be discussing the issues among others with his Nigerian counterpart in their meeting this afternoon in New York.
White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama’s team will “leave on late Monday morning and get up to New York early Monday afternoon. The President’s first meeting will be a bilateral meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.”
According to him, “Nigeria is a very important partner of the United States in Africa on issues related to economic growth, security and democratic governance.”
Detailing some of the issues lined up for discussion in the presidential meeting holding in Waldorf Astoria, the White House official said: “We expect that the two leaders will discuss the upcoming preparations for Nigeria’s elections.”
Other issues Rhodes hinted may come up for discussion at the Obama-Jonathan meeting is America’s “new signature development initiative, Power Africa, and our potential co-operation with Nigeria on the initiative.”
In addition, the leaders will also review Nigeria’s participation “in the President’s Young African Leaders initiative; as well as our security co-operation as Nigeria contends with a northern insurgency and a terrorist threat from Boko Haram.”
Confirming the meeting, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the U.S., Prof. Ade Adefuye, said the presidential meeting shows that the relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. remains strong despite a slight strain following Obama’s visit to Africa this year, without a stop in Nigeria.
Adefuye added that after President Jonathan leaves the Obama meeting later this afternoon, he will head to the New York Stock Exchange where he will meet with Hedge Fund managers to discuss possible U.S. and foreign investments in Nigeria’s power, petroleum and agricultural sectors.
Afterwards, the Nigerian president will be honoured with the ringing of the closing bell at the NY Stock Exchange, an activity beamed globally in the media, including live on several TV stations in the U.S. and abroad.
Adefuye said that himself, the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Viola Onwuliri; Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Trade Minister, Mr. Olusegun Aganga; and the Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, will accompany the President to the New York Stock Exchange.
President Jonathan and his delegation arrived early yesterday morning at the JFK International Airport and were received by Adefuye and other top Nigerian officials. He is billed to remain in the U.S. until Wednesday, a day after he addresses the yearly opening debate of the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday.