Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is welcomed to the Oval Office

by President Obama last year. President Obama's decision to avoid the

country again is regarded by many Nigerians as a justified criticism of

the way Nigeria continues to be governed.



Shame on Nigeria ... Obama is Right to Shun Us! (The Daily Independent, Nigeria)


"Isn't it a shame that the first African-American in the White House is to visit the continent a second time without stopping in Nigeria? Does it not affect leaders in this country that most of the problems Obama highlighted during his first trip are still with us, if they aren't worse? How long will we continue to deceive ourselves? We are now a laughing stock among the comity of nations."


By Habib Aruna


June 6, 2013


Nigeria - Daily Independent - Original Article (English)

An Obama fan in Ghana awaits the U.S. president's motorcade in 2009. With Obama visiting the continent again later this month, his itinerary is getting a lot of scrutiny, particularly the decision to avoid Nigeria - again.

NTV NEWS VIDEO, KENYA: Obama to skip Kenya, again, May 23, 00:02:41RealVideo

The most influential and powerful man in the world, President Barack Obama of the United States, is to visit Africa yet again - but without Nigeria on his itinerary. No reason has been given officially. But scratching beneath the surface, one readily understands that as the nation with greatest concentration of Blacks, Nigeria hasn't shown the promise needed to maximize its potential.


The country and its leadership have been a big disappointment to those who were hoping that by now, given its human and natural resources, it would be a leading economic and political power on the continent, and by extension, in the world. However, that hasn't been the case. For more than five decades, Nigeria been held down by forces that have retarded its growth and development. Its institutions still don't function properly. Corruption has become a demon that defies all measures to control it and is about to destroy the very fabric of the state. The elite, many of whom are rapacious, are more opportunistic than pragmatic. The people have been largely docile, mounting too little pressure on their politicians to do the right thing. The power sector, which has triggered such economic development in other countries, is in a similar state. And even worse, companies have been forced to close shop and relocate to other nations on the sub-region.


This stubborn scenario has been in place since the nation achieved independence, and explains why Nigeria has found it difficult to make meaningful progress. For a country that held such promise in 1960, it is inexplicable that it has been left so far behind by contemporaries like Indonesia, India, Brazil, Malaysia, not to mention South Korea - and even Pakistan. Needless to say, even smaller countries like Ghana, Tanzania, Botswana, Uganda, Senegal, and Angola have left Nigeria in the dust in terms of good governance, world standard infrastructure, the empowerment of the populace and allowing institutions to work unfettered by bureaucracy.


It is in this context that we should look at the visit of President Obama later this summer. This time, Uncle Sam will be visiting South Africa, Tanzania and Senegal - countries that have shown a readiness to hew the path of the rule of law, credible and transparent elections, and orderly transitions of power, and be placed where democracy is the norm rather than the exception. And through this visit, like his last one, Obama will be sending a strong message to other African countries: put your houses in order and embrace the winds of change blowing across the world.


Unlike other occupants of the White House, who ostensibly, out of a sense of priority, see Africa as less important in the grand scheme of things, President Obama has made a deliberate attempt to change that paradigm, for example, when he included a stop-over to sub-Saharan Africa at the end of his trip to the G8 summit in Italy in 2009. Instead of a total of seven visits from the five previous occupants of the Oval Office, the Obama Administration suggests that trips to Africa may be more frequent, like presidential visits to Europe. And in Ghana, Obama visited the dungeons of Cape Coast Castle, where many enslaved Africans died and others were loaded onto slave ships.


During his trip to Ghana, in what many saw as a veiled reference to Nigeria, Obama spoke of the need for African leaders to develop democratic institutions rather than create personality cults. This, he said, is how to build a society that allows citizens to realize their potential. Obama used the symbolism of Ghana's Parliament [watch below] to question the character of ordinary African politicians who are more interested in filling their pockets than working for the public good. He used the opportunity to tell African leaders to stop blaming the West for their problems and instead demonstrate leadership to help elevate the standards of living of their peoples. Yet he didn't fail to discuss Ghana's success story and its democratic credentials, which he said should be encouraged and emulated by other African states. The leader of the free world praised Ghana and its leaders for showing that democracy can bring about good governance, which in turn would percolate throughout other sectors of society.

Posted By Worldmeets.US


President Barack Obama addresses Ghana's Parliament in

Accra, Ghana , July 11, 2009.



This visit was widely reported by Nigerian media, but not surprisingly, our politicians took little interest in what Obama was saying. Of course, the speech was largely directed at Nigeria, a country that in so many respects has failed, and which, due to its size and importance, the world has been trying to assist. The international community wants to prevent Nigeria from creating more problems for the continent and world. Just after the 2011 general elections, it was reported that if we put our house in order in terms of rule of law and constitutionalism, President Obama might even visit Nigeria next time around. The events of recent months seem to have suggested to Washington that we are still playing the same old song.


Shunning Nigeria is an implicit show of disapproval about what has been going on in the country. It is a strong message that nothing has changed since his last Africa visit. Hence, there is a need for Abuja to do more to convince the world that it is ready to be a respected member of the community of nations. As leader of the world's leading economic power, President Obama's visit bring the potential for enormous benefits. Indeed, such an event opens the door to great opportunity in terms of foreign investment and trade agreements. Just ask Myanmar (Burma) leaders what they've gained since Obama visited to the country, which not long ago was referred to as a pariah state. Myanmar leader Thein Sein even visited the White House two weeks ago. That shows the enormous advantages a country derives from a mere stopover by the U.S. president. And that is what Nigeria will miss when Obama once again comes around.


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In addition to South Africa, which, despite its challenges, has managed to sustain economic growth and improve race relations, Tanzania's economy has been growing at a rate of over five percent for the past five years. There, too, the democratic process has consistently reflected a stable and promising country. As for Senegal, the third country on Obama's itinerary, the inglorious defeat and exit of former President Abdoulaye Wade shows that the country has developed a robust democratic tradition. Wade wanted to change the constitution to contest a third term. These, in my view, are what may have influenced the choice of countries for Obama's visit. Simply put, the voyage is geared toward adding U.S. moral influence, encouraging them, sending them a sign that they are not alone when challenges arise, and more importantly, to inform countries like Nigeria that democracy is a journey rather than a destination.


Isn't it a shame that the first African-American in the White House is to visit the continent a second time without stopping in Nigeria? Does it not affect leaders in this country that most of the problems Obama highlighted during his first trip are still with us, if they aren't worse? How long will we continue to deceive ourselves? We are now a laughing stock among the comity of nations, and our president couldn't even deliver an address when it was his turn at the golden jubilee of the African Union last week? [The rumor is that President Goodluck Jonathan engaged in a late night drinking binge on the eve of the event.] As the continent and world await Obama’s visit, these are questions that should give our so-called leaders pause.



Handelsblatt, Germany: Kenyans Appreciate Barack Obama's 'Slap in the Face'

Modern Ghana, Ghana: 'Snub' from Obama Reflects 'Death of Nigerian Diplomacy'

The Ghanaian Chronicle, Ghana: Ghana Should 'Cash In' on Obama's Visit

Handelsblatt, Germany: Kenyans Appreciate Barack Obama's 'Slap in the Face'
Ghanaian Web, Ghana: Mr. Obama: It's Time for America to Give Back to Africa
La Stampa, Italy: 'Historic Handshake' for Ghaddafi and 'Obama the African'
My Joy, Ghana: In Ghana, Obama 'Will Cry' for Africa
The Ghanaian Chronicle, Ghana: Ghana Should 'Cash In' on Obama's Visit
The Ghanaian Times: 'Why Obama Snubbed Nigeria'
The Daily Sun, Nigeria: The 'Stoning' of President Barack Hussein Obama
This Day, Nigeria: Obama's Choice to Visit Ghana and Not Nigeria Should Be a Lesson to Us

Boobab, Nigeria: If Obama Comes to Nigeria, 'I Will Stone Him'


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Posted By Worldmeets.US June 6, 2013, 2:23am