AT last the President of the United States, Barack Obama would visit Nigeria on 28 May, 2013, as part of a three-nation tour of Africa, ending speculation of the Obama scorn.
Seen as long overdue but coming at a time when security is the number one item on the country’s agenda, the 44th President of the United States is expected to parley with President Jonathan on how to tackle the niggling problems of insecurity, the economy and trade relations between both nations. President Obama would be interested in hearing President Jonathan’s plan to contain the Boko Haram insurgents who he plans to offer amnesty, even as the sect continues to slay hundreds in their quest to end western education in the country apart from kidnapping foreigners for ransom.
Both men are likely to contemplate the resurgence of Niger Delta militancy, which had simmered with the granting of amnesty by former President Yar’Adua.
It is also very likely that the economy of African states which President Jonathan has tabled in the World Economic Summit in South Africa would be discussed. How to source funds from the international community and the strategies to be adopted to bring down unemployment and poverty in Africa would also feature prominently in their discussion.
America would be interested in a partnership that would engender a favourable outcome for both countries whose bilateral trade hit $5 trillion in the first quarter of 2012.
It would be an opportunity for President Jonathan to engage Obama on the US exploitation of Shale gas projected to cut a quarter US imports of Nigeria’s oil by the end of the year. They could discuss how Nigeria can benefit from alternative energy programme of the United States.
The visit would also give President Jonathan a chance to see how the AGOA programme can be improved to favour Nigeria’s businesses, especially the SMEs.
Obama’s planned session with businessmen while in the country assures that there is yet scope for improving business and trade relations between both countries. Obama’s visit is believed to be five years late given that he was billed to have visited the country in his first term in office, especially when he visited other African countries, including Ghana, which is only 30 minutes away from Nigeria by flight.