As Nigerians begin to await the result of President Muhammadu Buhari’s trip to the US, feelers have emerged that the United States are far from pleased with the conduct of the president and his large contingent.
According to a report by The Focus, White House sources have revealed that the American government raised a lot of concerns bordering on the exorbitant cost of the trip, the lack of preparedness of President Buhari among others.
A White House source who spoke anonymously enthused thus: “May be we are not reading from the same script, but the overall message by Obama is that they should go get themselves together, then get back with us.
“We are just being polite about this because your President doesn’t seem to understand a whole lot about government”.
According to the report, Buhari fell short of expectation as he and his large contingent had no presentation as to how they planned for the United States to help the crumbling economy, stressing that it was appalling that Buhari visited the country without an economic crew especially as the Nigerian economy is solely dependent on crude oil and petroleum products.
The source at the White House also expressed bewilderment that President Buhari raised no concerns at America’s dwindling importation of Nigeria’s crude oil and petroleum products which hitherto rose from 24 billion dollars in 2005 to over 38 billion in 2008, but has sharply dropped as a result of America’s shale energy revolution.
Asides Buhari’s widely publicized statement that the US had aided and abetted Boko Haram by refusing to provide weapons to execute the war against terror which has angered the American government and raised concerns about Buhari’s seriousness in collaborating with them, the US says Buhari blew the chance to earn their assistance, especially as regards the kidnap of over 200 schoolgirls from a school in Chibok, Borno State.
A White House source said: “We informed them early enough and even asked to assist them to make considerable argument to earn exceptional U.S. support to the regime, especially in areas of security and commerce, but they blew it.”
The American government also highlighted yet another blunder on Buhari’s part, where in an article of his published in the Washington Post, the Nigerian President attempted to defend his delay in inaugurating his cabinet by saying that President Barack Obama has also delayed his cabinet selection after he was elected. A section of Buhari’s article read: “It is worth noting that Obama himself did not have his full Cabinet in place for several months after first taking office; the United States did not cease to function in the interim.”
Countering Buhari’s claim via an article, a Nigerian attorney and writer based in the United States Oshiokpekhai Utu-Orbih wrote: “I don’t know where he got that information. I am still trying to come in terms with the rationale of the above statement in the said article other than the fact that President Buhari has gone to press to lie against his host in a bid to justify his dictatorial rule over Nigeria.
“After the historic election of 2008, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America on January 20, 2009. On January 21, he appointed Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State; on February 2, 2009, he appointed Eric Holder as Attorney General, then Ken Salazar as Secretary of Interior on 20th January 20. Obama continued with Tom Vislack, Agriculture January 21; Ray LaHood , Transportation January 23; Stephen Chu, Energy, January 20, and Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security, January 21. I can go on and on. Must Buhari rewrite the American history because of his disdain for constitutionality?”
It was also gathered that as against the 33-man contingent that reportedly joined President Buhari on his US trip, about 229 people were said to have joined him, the largest in Nigeria’s democratic history. The cost of catering for the contingent, as gathered, cost a total of about N2.2 billion.
More appalling is the fact that although Buhari’s entourage was so large, they were unable to articulate a clear proposal for America’s help on foreign policy and commerce, a position that had been buttressed by President Buhari’s poorly composed speech, which was lacking in substance and had no connection with his extremely expensive diplomatic trip.
President Obama, while addressing the Nigerian contingent said that the US “can be helpful in addressing some of the corruption issues that have held Nigeria back”.
According to White House sources, President Obama’s message meant a “no-deal” until the Nigerian president puts forward a credible request for America’s collaboration and assistance.