10/08/2012: Clinton welcomes reforms in Nigeria
UNITED States Secretary of State, Mrs. Hilary Clinton yesterday met with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, declaring that if the economic reforms being implemented is carried out to a logical end, “the future for Nigeria is limitless.”
Clinton also charged President Jonathan to ensure that there are better opportunities for all Nigerians so that every young boy and girl will have chance to fulfill his or her God given potential.
She pledged that the American government will work closely with Nigeria in order to make the reforms embarked upon by the government to endure “and take the tough decisions that are necessary.”
Clinton, who arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja was driven straight to the Presidential Villa where she was received at the foyer of the President’s office by Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, Nigerian Ambassador to the US, Prof. Ade Adefuye and a retinue of security details and foreign journalists.
She arrived by 3.52 p.m. with a retinue of aides and media team. Her convoy drove into the foyer of the President’s office, a honour granted to only visiting Heads of State and Government. Ashiru led Clinton into the President’s office for a formal welcome and meeting with President Jonathan. Both the American and Nigerian delegations later went into talks.
After the meeting, Clinton said: “You know how committed United States and the Obama administration is to our partnership with your country. We consider it absolutely vital to our bi-National Commission, which has helped us to expand and deepen our co-operation on full range of issues. We are working on economic matters, the improvement of productivity in agriculture, education and health, security, diversification of your economy and so much more. We intend to remain very supportive on your reform efforts. Thank you for mentioning the work we did together on the election.
“We were also very supportive of anti-corruption reform efforts, more transparency in the work that you and your team are also championing because we really believe that the future for Nigeria is limitless. But the most important task that you face, as you have said, is making sure that there are better opportunities for all Nigerians, South, East, West, every young boy and girl to have chance to fulfill his God given potential. We want to work with you and we will be by your side as you make the reforms and take the tough decisions that are necessary.”
President Jonathan extolled the roles played by President Barrack Obama and Mrs. Clinton in supporting the deepening of democracy and good governance in Africa.
He said: “Within this period of being Secretary of State, she (Clinton) has raised the relationship between Nigeria and America to a very high level that we have never reached for quiet some time by personally chairing the Bi-national commission and we have discussed various things - security, economy and so on and so forth. She has been very supportive. And of course, the President of America, President Obama administration is also quiet passionate about Africa and Nigeria. He has always been very supportive of us for the past five years, from the days I came in as Vice President, especially that period as a nation that we faced a lot of challenges when the late President was very ill and we passed through turbulent period.
The support given us is one of those support that stabilised this country. When we insisted we must conduct an election that is free and fair, as the only way we can stabilise democracy, they were very supportive. They gave us moral support and gave technical support to INEC and assisted us to make sure that we conducted elections that national and international observers declared as free and fair. So, let me on behalf of government and good people of Nigeria really thank you and President Obama and the good people of America for this your support for Nigeria and Africa and all what you are doing to make sure that this part of the globe develop.”
Among members of the Nigerian delegation to the meeting were Ministers of Finance (Dr. Okonjo-Iweala), Agriculture (Dr. Akinwumi Adesina), Power (Barth Nnaji), Petroleum Resources (Deziani Alison Madueke) and Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada. Others at the meeting include the National Security Adviser (Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd)), Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyin Petinrin, Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika, Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar and Director General of State Security Services, Mr Ita Ekpeyong.