Acting Nigerian president Mr. Goodluck Jonathan is set for his first international trip; a visit to the white house to hold talks with U.S. president, Barack Obama concerning the fight against global terrorism, amongst other pressing issues such as electoral reforms and religious tensions in northern Nigeria.
“Jonathan this Saturday will be making his first official trip outside the country since he assumed executive powers,” presidency spokesman Ima Niboro, was quoted as saying.
The Obama administration was reportedly the first major foreign power to publicly congratulate Jonathan after he assumed executive powers in February from incapacitated President Umaru Yar’Adua, who remains too sick to administer over the country.
According to reports, the two leaders [President Jonathan and President Obama] would focus their negotiations on ways to prevent global terrorism, four months after a Nigerian citizen tried to blow up a U.S. passenger plane in Detroit.
Nonetheless, Nigeria has already installed body scanners at its international airports at the request of the United States, as both countries partner in the search for global peace and security.
Conversely, Washington has said it was confident that President Jonathan would also move on with electoral reforms, anti-corruption measures and peace efforts in the troubled Niger Delta.
The visit comes as Washington grows critical Nigeria’s electoral commission and the political/religious uncertainty plaguing the West African nation ahead of its presidential elections next year.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said on Monday that Nigeria’s elections chief, Maurice Iwu, should be replaced if the country wants to hold credible national polls.
Nigeria and the U.S have enjoyed a strong tie that was shaken by the events of December 26 2009, concerning an act of terror by a young Nigerian Muslim man.
As both presidents meet in Washington this weekend, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is scheduled to meet top Nigerian government officials in the capital Abuja next week to discuss aviation security.
Early in the week, the U.S. and Nigeria signed a Binational Commission (BNC). According to reports, the United States establishes binational commissions with Nigeria as a collaborative scheme to produce substantial and assessable progress on common issues that challenges both nations.
Analysts say by signing the BNC agreement, the United States government demonstrated its genuine concern with aspirations of Nigerians at every level, both in the public and the private sector.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the United States is by far Nigeria’s largest trade partner, accounting for nearly 45 percent of the West African country’s exports, mainly crude oil.