I have been seeing some posts on the web about how Obama is again snubbing Nigeria on his 2nd Africa trip. Obama’s first trip to Africa (sub-Saharan) disappointed many in Africa as the trip was just about spending some few hours in Ghana.
This time around, he is serving a second and final term as President, free from the many hassles of American domestic politics. And where is he going this time you ask?, well, his trip would take him through Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa. He is steering well clear of North Africa for obvious reasons (Obama’s 2009 Cairo University speech anyone?).
His decision to omit Nigeria from his road trip to Africa is regrettable, here are some of the reasons Nigeria is important both economically and politically to the United States:
- Nigeria is the 6th(Iraq just overtook Nigeria as 5th in 2012) largest oil exporter to the United States and have been in the top 6 since 1997
- As of 2011, Nigeria has an estimated population of 167 million; it is the seventh-most populous country in the world
- Nigeria is the 10th largest oil producer in the world and the largest oil producer in Africa
- Nigeria has the second largest economy in Africa
- The United States is Nigeria’s largest trading partner
- An estimated one million Nigerians and Nigerian Americans live, study, and work in the United States, while over 25,000 Americans live and work in Nigeria. source: Wikipedia
- Nigeria through ECOWAS has been active in keeping the peace in Sub-Saharan Africa and regularly contribute troops and money to various UN peacekeeping missions
Despite these and many other reasons, he deems it fit to shun Nigeria at a crucial time, with the rise of Boko Haram and other extreme Islamist groups in Northen Nigeria, Nigeria needs the help of the US and other Western Powers to provide crucial counter-terrorism logistics and support.
The fact is that the West and America in particular cannot afford for Nigeria to become an unstable country, a stable and prosperous Nigeria will act as a catalyst for the whole of Africa and West Africa in particular to be a more peaceful and democratic region.