The US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, has called on Nigerian President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to concentrate more on reforms that will drive economy growth. Blinken emphasised saying that the United States is committed to further strengthening the U.S.—Nigeria relationship with the incoming administration. He also said that the U.S.-Nigeria partnership is built on shared interests and strong people-to-people ties. A statement released by Blinken’s office said Blinken called Tinubu to express the above sentiments. According to him, those links should also continue to strengthen during the President-elect’s tenure. The statement added that Secretary Blinken and President-elect Tinubu discussed the importance of inclusive leadership that represents all Nigerians, comprehensive security cooperation, and reforms to support economic growth. Already, Tinubu is in Europe for meetings with Nigerians and members of the Europe’s business community. He will be expected back in Nigeria soon ahead of the May 29 inauguration.
According to the statement, in his response, Tinubu pledged to hit the ground running and unify the country upon his assumption of office on May 29. He also pledged to ensure positive relations with the United States. Asíwájú Tinubu said the telephone conversation initiated by the US diplomat, was frank and friendly. The President-elect said that among his immediate priorities would be to deliver institutional reforms and development programs to deepen Nigeria democratic institutions and bring help to poor and vulnerable Nigerians. He also expressed his determination to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy and faithfully serve the people as their president. During the talks that lasted about 20 minutes, President-elect Tinubu spoke about his eventful sojourn in America in the 70s, where he graduated with honours as an accountant in 1979.
He also recalled how he was granted asylum by the US when, due to his determined struggle for democracy in Nigeria, he was forced into exile by the late General Sani Abacha’s military junta. While affirming his democratic bonafides , President-elect Tinubu expressed his absolute belief that the result of the elections, which he clearly won, reflected the will of the Nigerian people. He said he would work to unite the country and ensure that Nigerians are happy and enjoy the benefits of democracy and progressive good governance just like Secretary Blinken, the President-elect said without national unity, security, economic development and good governance, Nigeria would not become a better place to live in or play her proper role in the comity of African nations. He urged the US to factor in Nigeria’s important place in Africa and provide needed assistance in the areas of security and economic investment in order for the nation to lead the way and be a shining example to the rest of the continent.
Secretary Blinken assured that Nigeria should expect a good and mutually-beneficial relationship with the US. He promised to play his part in bringing a sustained and cordial relationship between the two nations to fruition, saying a democratic and peaceful Nigeria is important to the United States as it is to Africa. Both President-elect Tinubu and Secretary Blinken ended their discussion with pleasant greetings and a promise to keep the channels of dialogue and communication open, while maintaining a strong relationship between the two nations, according to Tunde Rahman of the Office of the President-elect.