It was made known that the former United States’ Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson has implored President Barrack Obama to prioritise repairing relations with Nigeria by stopping over in Abuja when he visits East Africa in July.
Carson, who served in the first cabinet of Obama, said the visit will help to sooth the frayed relationship between the two countries. He also suggested that the US President formally invite Nigeria’s President-elect to the White House to iron issues out.
According to Carson who was a former ambassador to Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe, Nigeria is the sixth largest democracy in the world and that “the success of the elections has also raised Nigeria’s political profile”.
Nigeria, he noted, is also the most important country in Africa and it would be unfair to ignore the successes the country has achieved in spite of its many challenges.
President Obama is slated to visit Kenya, a longstanding economic, democratic and security partner, and Ethiopia, an important security partner whose democratic and human rights performance has been strongly criticized in the international community.
Carson said, “It would be deeply troubling for many Nigerians to see Africa’s largest democracy snubbed at this important moment in its history.”
“An economically vibrant and democratically robust Nigeria is in the interests of Africa, the United States and the broader global community”.
Carson listed 10 ceremonial and substantive actions that the Obama government should take to appreciate the paradigm shift in the manner the country conducted its general elections and the resolve of the incoming Muhammadu Buhari administration to establish a better relationship between Abuja and Washington, especially in the security arena.
The actions, besides the visit to Abuja in July, listed by Carson, in his article titled “Top 10 Ways to Repair U.S.-Nigeria Ties” and published in by AllAfrica, an online news platform yesterday he said Obama must send a high-powered delegation for Buhari’s inauguration on May 29.
“Ideally, this delegation should be led by Vice President Joe Biden, who engaged with both President Jonathan and with president-elect Buhari in the run-up to the presidential election. If he is unable to go, Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson or Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack should lead the delegation, which should include senior officials from several cabinet departments, including the Department of Defence”, he wrote.
The former US under-secretary of state for Africa also said Obama should “formally invite President Buhari for an official visit soon”
“If the White House does not send an appropriately high delegation to the inauguration in Abuja, an official visit takes on greater urgency”, Carson noted.
The other actions, he said should be to reinvigorate and elevate US-Nigeria strategic dialogue as established by former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.