President Muhammadu Buhari’s upcoming visit to his American counterpart, President Barack Obama, is evidently the most anticipated political event of the near future.
Since the visit was announced there has been much speculation about the objectives and expectations on both sides, and issues to be discussed during the encounter. We have gathered the most notable facts about next week’s meeting.
Find all the things you do need to know below:
1. The major meeting of the two countries' leaders is to be held on Monday, July 20, although the whole visit will last four days.
2. In an unexpected development Obama decided to break his administration’s tradition and host Buhari as his personal guest at the Blair House and not in the White House. This might be an indication of a US readiness to demonstrate an individual approach in diplomatic relationships with Nigeria.
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3. In an official statement the presidency disclosed that the focus would be on the issues of the economy and security.
4. The American side is to pressure Buhari to reverse the Nigerian anti same sex marriage law passed in January 2014. This is not simply speculated, but was clearly stated by the US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
5. Apart from the Obama, Buhari will meet with several other senior officials, and with representatives of Nigerians in the American diaspora.
6. Buhari will be accompanied by the governors of UImo, Nasarawa, Edo, Borno and Oyo states, the CBN governor and several ministers. The presence of the Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, is of special interest, as Borno is the state worst affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
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7. Some believe that the recent sacking of service chiefs and appointment of replacements might be connected with the upcoming visit, and that such a decisive move by Buhari shows that he is ready to completely change the military strategy in the fight against the insurgency. Under Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, accusations against the military leaders by American government finally resulted in a deterioration in relations between the two countries and noticeable withdrawal of US military support. Is there a chance that the chiefs' sacking is something like an apology for the previous cabinet?
Moreover, if asked what has been done by Buhari’s administration with the huge funds, including foreign money, allocated for the fight against Boko Haram, the president will be able to answer: “I have a new team in place: trusted, with integrity, and primed to actualize my mission of ending Boko Haram insurgency,”, a Vanguard source commented.