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Obama to Visit S’Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda, Considers Stopover in Nigeria; by end of June 2013

 

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President Barack Obama


By Paul Ohia

President Barack Obama of the United States is billed to begin his second tour of Africa at the end of June with visits to South Africa, Tanzania and Rwanda.

He will however make a stopover in Nigeria, during which he will hold bilateral discussions with President Goodluck Jonathan and other top government officials.

The initial plan for the African tour was for Obama to spend two days in Nigeria, but owing to insecurity occasioned by the terrorist activities of the Islamic militant group, Boko Haram, the plan was reviewed and he is now expected to spend a few hours or one day in the country.

Sources from the presidency added that security situation during Obama’s visit would be paramount and if there is any reason to doubt Nigeria’s unpreparedness to host the US president, his visit to the country might be cancelled outright.

Obama’s maiden visit to Africa took him to Ghana in July 2009 during which he met with President John Atta Mills, now deceased, and delivered a speech at the Ghanaian parliament in addition to touring a former departing point of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the Cape Coast Castle.

The non-inclusion of Nigeria on his itinerary in 2009 was widely regarded as a snub and a subtle criticism of the country’s leadership, a perception, which the then Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, dismissed.

She had said Obama’s choice of Ghana was “meant to tea-up” US relationship with sub-Saharan Africa, and the choice should not be interpreted in any other way.

During his visit, the two nations are expected to discuss issues centred on trade relations, security and human rights.

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