U.S. President, Barack Obama, has pledged the support of the American government to Nigeria in combating terrorism. The pledge is contained in Obama’s congratulatory message on Nigeria’s 54th independence anniversary, to be marked on Wednesday, Oct. 1.
Obama said the U.S was looking forward to strengthening its relationship with Nigeria in the coming year, especially on good governance. Obama wrote in the message, addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan;
“Nigeria continues to play a key leadership role in Africa and at the UN in promoting regional peace and stability.
“At the heart of our enduring friendship is our shared commitment to democratic values, the rule of law and economic development.
“We look forward to strengthening our relationship and working closely in the coming year, especially in promoting good governance and combating terrorism.
“As Nigerians observe this special day, we wish you a more peaceful and prosperous year.”
Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, urged Nigerians to remain united in confronting the challenges facing the country. Anyaoku spoke to reporters at Nigeria’s foreign ministry headquarters after a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Aminu Wali. He said;
“My message to the nation is to celebrate; we have achieved some successes in a number of areas in terms of our development.
“But we still have challenges and my message is that we should remain united in facing those challenges.”
Anyaoku recounted the role the Commonwealth played in ensuring Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 and argued that it was erroneous to posit that Nigeria had not benefitted from the 53-nation group.
He said during his tenure, the then Chairman of INEC, Late Justice Ephraim Akpata, visited him in London several times which culminated in Commonwealth playing a key role in Nigeria’s electoral process.
“I was able to arrange for the Chief Electoral Officer India, the largest democracy in the world, to come here and spend three months in Nigeria helping to run courses for INEC staff.
“In my conversation with the then Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar, he would tell you that he found our conversations very helpful in the electoral process.
“In that area, the Commonwealth played an important role in helping the country to return to democratic rule.”
Similarly, The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Aminu Wali, had acknowledged that the country had been very generous to African nations “but it had not reaped more’’ from its generosity. He said;
“Diplomacy is about reciprocity, if I give you more, I expect more from you.
“My intention is to ensure that Nigeria gets more from its investments.”