The US President Barack Obama will welcome Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to the White House on June 8, officials said on Saturday, according to an Agence France Presse (AFP) news report.
Obama “looks forward to consulting with President Jonathan on the latest regional and global developments, and deepening our strong bilateral partnership,” his spokesman said in a statement.
Jonathan Goodluck’s agenda includes two other engagements. The Nigerian presidency said Jonathan, who will leave Nigeria on Monday, would also take part in the United Nations high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS and the launch of a project aimed at eliminating HIV mother-to-child transmission with former US president Bill Clinton.
Nigeria is currently one of the nine non-permanent members of the UN Security Council and Jonathan was also expected to take part in one of the Security Council sessions that may decide on a second term for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, according to the statement. It said 12 foreign leaders, mostly from Africa, had confirmed their participation at the HIV/AIDS summit.
Jonathan was sworn in last weekend for a four-your term as leader of Africa’s most populous country and this visit is the first that a West African leader will be making to the White House since Obama visited the continent about two years ago.
The Nigerian leader’s visit comes amid renewed tension in his country, after a series of blasts rocked Nigeria following his swearing-in, killing 18 people. In early May Obama commended Nigeria’s elections, where he said the majority of ballots were cast free from intimidation, signalling a strong future for democracy, but he slammed the post-poll unrest as “deplorable,” the AFP says.
Jonathan’s visit this week comes a day before Obama welcomes another African leader, Gabon’s Ali Bongo, to the White House “to discuss strategic regional and bilateral topics.”
Certainly, these visits are nothing but note-comparing sessions to allow the US President give more directives on how these puppets should administer affairs to benefit their pay masters.
As African voices in the UN Security Council, Nigeria and Gabon teamed up with South Africa to endorse the West’s bid to enter Libya with impunity to devastate it under the guise of solving humanitarian problems created by the mid-February insurgency against long-serving Muammar al-Gaddafi.
This meeting is at the instance of Obama, and he will call the shots. The Nigerian leader and his Gabonese fellow-stooge will nod their heads to almost every dribble that drops from the master’s mouth and acquiesce on every account to push their countries further into the belly of the monstrous Western capitalist system. What do these leaders do to improve the living conditions of their people?
While selling out their countries’ resources to the ever insatiable West and looting the proceeds to build fortunes for themselves, these leaders care less about the ever-worsening conditions of existence for their people.
Visits to leaders like Obama don’t yield anything profitable to enhance the conditions in their countries. Such visits are just rituals they go through to renew the bonds of their servitude to the powerful voices that command and control them from afar. I challenge any of these African leaders to prove me wrong.
Being the most populous and known regional power in Africa, Nigeria’s situation is pitiable. Despite all the endowments, the country is still buried in economic malaise because of selfishness, greed, and maladministration over the years.
Still grappling with the problems of under-development, Nigeria is a classic case of how the short-sightedness of African leaders makes the people destitute in the midst of plenty. How much of Nigeria’s wealth trickles down to the ordinary citizens whose productivity generates that wealth?
Nigeria has faced numerous security problems in the Niger-Delta Region and should have solved that problem to the advantage of the “rebels” if indeed the logic with which the US led the alliance against Gaddafi is anything to go by.
I hope the US will take action to force Jonathan Goodluck’s government to accede to the demands of the rebels so that the Niger-Delta Region can benefit from the wealth that it generates for the country. That’s the main issue that has given rise to the rebel insurgency against the central government.
By the logic of support for rebel forces fighting for their rights, the US government should act with the same dispatch that it did in supporting the Benghazi-based rebels. What is good for those rebels but not for their counterparts in Nigeria? Let’s not talk about the differences concerning Gaddafi’s attempt to suppress those protesters because Nigeria has used similar means to attempt eliminating the rebels in the Niger-Delta Region.
All that time, the US looked on without batting an eyelid. All it was interested in was getting its daily allocation of the crude oil produced in the Niger-Delta Region while tacitly supporting the Nigerian government’s action against the rebels so that production could not be disrupted to its detriment. Nigeria is a major supplier of crude to the US.
The Nigerian government’s stern resistance to the demands of the rebels hasn’t solved the problem. That’s why the rebels have resorted to the otherwise unheard-of terrorist acts of planting bombs in Abuja and other areas to demonstrate their anger and press home their demands for inclusion in the beneficiaries of the national cake.
In its characteristic hypocritical manner, the US is silent on the demands of the people of the Niger-Delta Region while gorging the millions of barrels of crude oil that the foreign companies drill from the Niger-Delta oil fields for export to the US. Why is the US not saying or doing anything to support the Niger-Delta people’s fight for part of the national wealth, which comes from the petroleum resources exploited from their homeland?
I hope that Jonathan Goodluck will be bold enough to lay on Obama’s table the issues that his country opposes in world politics, masterminded by the US. If he does so, he should be bold enough to defend his perspectives and ensure that due recognition is given to the African cause. If he fails to do anything of the sort, he will leave the US empty-handed.
Just like Nigeria, Gabon is rich in petroleum reserves. Yet, the vast majority of the Gabonese live in deplorable circumstances because their country’s wealth is not used to provide services that they need to live in decency. Gabon’s late Omar Bongo is known for looting the coffers to acquire assets for his family’s comfort. The current Gabonese leader is a beneficiary of that loot and is himself well poised now to continue his father’s legacy. Is this someone to trust to solve problems?
His visit to Obama is inconsequential to the ordinary Gabonese citizen. To Africa, his visit is just an irritant because he will also be expected to pledge away the continent’s sovereignty. Within the context of Gabon’s endorsement of the resolution that legitimized the West’s impunity in invading Libya, we expect nothing fruitful from Bongo’s interactions with Obama. Nothing but rubber-stamping of the US’ interests.
Certainly these African leaders will be at the White House to be instructed on what to do to rubber-stamp Ban Ki-0Moon’s quest for a second term. From all indications, the US is satisfied with the manner in which he has handled his responsibilities and will support his bid for a second term.
And as the most powerful voice in the UN, the US considers it its bounden duty to call all leaders of member-states to attention. They will be browbeaten into submission. Welcome Ban Ki-Moon to a second term as the UN Secretary-General!
Still on the initiatives concerning US interests in Africa, we have more to say. I wonder what the Obama administration takes Africans for. I say so within the context of an announcement that irks more than inspires me to be optimistic that the Obama administration is interested in uplifting Africa from the doldrums.
The substance for my irritation comes from the announcement this week by the Obama administration of an initiative to engage Africa with a visit by First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha to South Africa and Botswana later in the month.
What exactly can Michelle Obama and her children engage Africa to achieve? We shouldn’t sit down to be hoodwinked. These people are on vacation to relish the benefits of the South African Safari; and no one should bother us with anything to suggest that they are on the continent for our good.
In any case, if the Obama administration seriously wants to engage Africa in any productive venture, is it Michelle Obama who should be delegated to do so?
For Africa to make any headway in its relations with other continents, it needs better leaders than those currently in charge of affairs in the various countries. Self-seekers don’t build countries.
Articles by Michael J.K. Bokor, Ph.D.