President Barack Obama on Monday said he has confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership style, and assured of U.S. government’s continued support for Nigeria to achieve desired goals.
Mr. Obama spoke when he received Mr. Buhari at the White House where both leaders held extensive bilateral talks.
The American President spoke against the backdrop of widespread criticism of Mr. Buhari’s style at home, with many dubbing him as “Baba Go Slow” for delaying in appointing key officials of his government about two months after he assumed office.
The Nigerian president is currently on a four-day working visit to the U.S. where he will meet several American policy makers as well as Nigerians in the Diaspora.
Speaking at his meeting with Mr. Obama, President Buhari expressed appreciation to the U.S. government and the American people for their support in ensuring peaceful conduct of the recent general elections in Nigeria.
American Vice President, Joe Biden had earlier hosted President Buhari to a breakfast meeting during which both leaders compared notes on the war on terror.
America had been beleaguered by terrorists, who launched massive attacks that killed thousands in September 2001, while Nigeria battles the Boko Haram sect causing carnage in the North-eastern part of the country.
At the meeting, which held at the Naval Observatory, the official residence of the American Vice President, Mr. Biden shared with his guest what the U.S had learnt from the terror war, counseling that victory cannot come from military option alone.
Military option, he said, must be combined with strong socio-economic support programmes, promising that the U.S would work with Nigeria in that direction.
Mr. Biden assured of the goodwill of the United States in rebuilding the Nigerian economy, but observed that corruption and weak institutions must be tackled if Nigeria was to benefit from reforms.
He added that seasoned technocrats must manage key sectors of the Nigerian economy, and only then would investors be attracted to the country.
The American Vice-President congratulated President Buhari on his victory at the March 2015 elections, adding that it was obvious that the President enjoys the confidence of the Nigerian people.
Responding, President Buhari thanked the U.S for standing by Nigeria in the run up to general elections early this year, noting that the visit of the Secretary of State, John Kerry, was critical as it sent home the message that America would not brook the subversion of the people’s will.
On oil theft, the Nigerian President estimated losses at between 10 and 20 billion dollars, stressing that such income could have been deployed with salutary impact on various spheres of national life like education and healthcare, among others.
Both America and Nigeria pledged renewed commitment to work as partners at the very insightful meeting