President Mohammadu Buhari, without a doubt, has had a fairly good outing in the United States. He spoke less and avoided the tricky questions from the foreign media that were intended to bait him. Overall, at least in optics, it was presidential.
However, so much was made about president Buhari’s trip to the United States by his handlers and core supporters even though very little, if anything at all was achieved.
It was all about the politics for the president’s team and nothing for the economic community that caters for about a 100 million Nigerians. If I were the president visiting Washington DC, here are a few things I would do differently;
Firstly, I will lead a strong delegation from the business community to engage not just the American president but key business communities in Boston (a hub for venture capitalists and angel investors), New York and the energy hub in Texas (where a new technology, Hydraulic fracturing is used by the Americans to drive up shale oil).
What Nigeria needs now is strong global economic integration, that is the main concern of more than 100 million Nigerians, not cheap political grandstanding. Politics cater for only 4 million Nigerians, while over a hundred million Nigerians survive on business, small or large.
Secondly, I will quickly correct the over-simplification and dangerous narrative, president trump tried to spin to the global community. To single out the fact that Christians are being killed in Nigeria is potentially a catalyst to further the crises we clearly have been unable to tame.
As much Muslims, people from other faith, have been killed in Nigeria in the recent crisis and the president must resist immediately a skewed narrative that can refuel the crisis.
To us, people are being killed and all must be done to stop the killing of our people. The President should not accept any segmentation of our people by any foreign |leader, including the American President. It is cardinal to note that such a message from the American president is capable of planting ideas in the leadership of the NRA to see Nigeria as a potential gun market as such, it must be strongly rebuffed. To the Nigerian President, all that is needed peace, prosperity and economic development of the country rather than a narrow segmentation of our people.
Finally, I will not return to Nigeria without getting a deal for my country. President trump seems to have gotten all the deals, purchase of jets and the export of agricultural products to Nigeria, what did we get? Nigeria needs to look inwards, rejig its foreign and trade policy and put together a formidable team of brilliant Nigerians that will push our interest in the global community.
Mind you, the reduced importation of rice that the president prides in (even though the facts show otherwise) is not substitute for a coherent, export-driven agricultural policy.
As it stands now, the scoreline is 2 for President Trump and Nil for Nigeria.
Adamu Garba is a 2019 APC Presidential Aspirant
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