In what is an unusual diplomatic largesse for his country and presidency,
leading nations around the world are offering President Muhammadu
Buhari state visits this year.
This is just as the United Nations is also looking forward to his
participation at the 70th anniversary of the world body in New York this
In the past recent weeks, the global community has been generally
celebrating Nigeria, including the leading international news weekly,
Time Magazine, which published a very positive review on the country
recently, saying Nigeria is one of the very few things that is currently
positive in a world described by the publication as depressing.
As such sentiments spread in the international community, there are now
at least three major countries known to have invited Buhari to visit their
executive heads of government in what promises to be fairly elaborate
state visits sooner or later this year. These nations are the United
Kingdom, the United States and India.
A senior UN official also confirmed Monday that the world body is
hoping that President Buhari attends the next General Assembly summit
which marks 70 years of the United Nations.
The official said more than 100 heads of state are expected alongside
Buhari at the yearly global summit in New York, where the Nigerian
delegation might be one of the major attractions.
Although a visit to the UN by a nation is more of the discretion of a
country, since the UN is open to all its member-states especially during
the annual General Assembly summits, it is believed that the gathering
offers unique opportunities to celebrate nations, their presidents and
leaders around the world whose public record or global goodwill are
rising, just like what is happening to Nigeria currently.
On the other hand, invitations for state visits from one nation to the
other, and one president to the other is considered more nuanced and
signifies a celebration of warm ties between nations and their leaders.
Of the three major nations being mentioned so far, that is the US, UK,
and India, it is the White House offer of a presidential visit that is
expected to generate the greatest diplomatic windfall for Mr. Buhari and
While Nigeria and the U.S. enjoyed good relationship during the
Goodluck Jonathan administration with the diplomatic hardwork of Prof
Ade Adefuye, the current Nigeria’s Ambassador in Washington DC, the
perception that the former Nigerian president was weak on fighting
corruption and disagreements between the Nigerian military and their
American counterparts on the fight against Boko Haram damaged the
otherwise warm diplomatic rapport between both countries particularly
in the last one year of the Jonathan presidency.
But in both U.S. and Nigerian diplomatic circles, there is wide agreement
that the emergence of the Buhari-Osinbajo presidency has changed the
tone, restoring warm diplomatic relationships again.
This, according to U.S. sources explained why the U.S. President, Barack
Obama, wanted to send his Vice President, Joe Biden, to lead the
presidential delegation to witness and grace Nigeria’s May 29
Mr. Biden could not eventually make the trip because his now passed
son, Beau Biden, was already very ill and dying and unsettling him
emotionally for a while.
However, at the just-concluded African Union summit in South Africa,
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield, discussed
with the Nigerian delegation to the summit details of a proposed White
House and U.S. reception for President Buhari very soon.
We reliably learnt that U.S. Secretary, John Kerry, has actually offered
Buhari a visit to the White House when he attended the president’s May
29 inauguration in Abuja.
The United Kingdom and India are also said to have made similar offers
on different occasions