President Buhari’s forthcoming itinerary on a state visit to the United States is a welcome development. It is pertinent to note that, the last time the government of Nigeria enjoyed true bilateral relationship and confidence of the international community was the time Tafawa Balewa visited the United States between July 25-28, 1961. It was glad tidings for Nigeria as Sir Tafawa Balewa was received with a bouncy welcome. It was a glorious day for Nigeria and Nigerians in the diaspora. History is about to repeat itself under president Buhari’s provident administration. President Buhari’s visit with Mr. Obama should be used to explore those areas of comparative advantage between Nigeria and the United States.
July 25, 2015 will be exactly 54 years since the historic visit when the Prime Minister, Alhaji Sir Tafawa Balewa was invited on official visit and grand tour of the United States, a year after the 1960 Nigerian independence. How much have we lost since then? A billion dollar question! Nigeria had been in political wilderness and economic quagmire. We have drifted from a gracious state to a perilous and pariah nation. The resilience and determination of the Nigerian people in the face of corruption have kept the country on a fragile unity. The peace in the land has been the peace of the graveyard. Our mandate for the president and his coming to power has renewed our determination to see a new Nigeria with opportunity and possibility.
Between 1970 and now, the brain drain from Nigeria was unprecedented in the sustainable socio-economic development of Nigeria. In spite of essential improvement in Nigeria’s development policy, we are yet to see the manifestation of the so-called dividends of democracy in the lives of the ordinary Nigerians. The state of infrastructure is in disrepair, corruption has been the bane of development in Nigeria. Crisscrossing the country, one will discover the dilapidation of our roads and a collapse in other social amenities. The greatness and success of any country should have positive impact on the generality of her citizens.
But providence has given us another chance in Buhari/Osibajo’s administration. The benefits of the president’s proposed official visit to the United States should be used to re-engineer Nigeria’s exceptionalism as the giant of Africa. It should also reopen and renew that bilateral relationship with the U.S. and put Nigeria on the roadmap to security and economic prosperity. President Obama should be invited on a state visit to Nigeria too to reciprocate president Buhari’s official visit to the United States. Nigerians will be glad to give Mr. Obama a tumultuous and rousing welcome to Nigeria, and show their appreciation to America for standing by Nigeria in her period of political adversity.
Nigeria’s new bilateral relations with the U.S. will surely reopen a new vista to national development. Nigeria is a future destination for global trade and investment. Let us use the impending mutual benefits the two countries will derive from the president’s official visit to US to Nigeria’s advantage. President Buhari should use the benefits to lead Nigeria sincerely to a peaceful coexistence and political tranquility among Nigerians. There is no doubt that the coming years will cement good relationship and partnership between Nigeria and the United States, the outcome of which will be mutually beneficial to the two countries.