By Kazeem Ugbodaga
President Joe Biden has sent a special invitation message to meet President Bola Tinubu urgently at next month’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The message was conveyed through the US Presidential Envoy and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Molly Phee.
Phee, who visited Tinubu in Abuja on Saturday, pledged US’s support for the position of ECOWAS, expressing the high regard the U.S. Administration has for Tinubu.
She said Biden has extended an exclusive invitation to meet Tinubu on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York to advance discussions further in late September.
“We know there is more we can do to incentivize large-scale American investment in Nigeria and we are committed to working closely with you to achieve that, as part of efforts to strengthen the Nigerian economy and the regional economy.
“We appreciate your willingness to create an enabling environment for that. President Joe Biden is asking to meet with you on the sidelines of UNGA and you are the only African leader he has requested to meet. It is a mark of his high regard for your leadership,” the U.S. Special Envoy said.
Speaking, Tinubu said he accepted the invitation to meet the U.S. President on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and that the work of perfecting democracy is never done, even in developed democracies, as seen recently in America, as well as other emerging democracies in the world.
The president advised Phee to ensure that U.S. policy is intentionally collaborative with independent African democracies at a time when they are under assault by anti-democratic forces within and outside of the continent.
Tinubu noted that American-backed development finance and multilateral institutions, which were designed to support war-torn Europe after World War II, require swift and comprehensive reform to meet the developmental requirements of younger democracies in Africa, which operate in authoritarian-crowded environments, such that the legitimate yearnings of Africans would no longer be manipulated to serve the narrow aims of self-seeking demagogues through unconstitutional takeovers of power.
“Yes, the private sector will lead the way within an enabling environment we create for them, but the U.S. Government must be innovative in its thinking and systematically create incentives for U.S. industrial investment in Nigeria.
“Under my leadership, Nigeria stands ready to address their specific regulatory, tax and environmental concerns. I am determined to create prosperity for all Nigerian families,” the President declared.
The Nigerian leader affirmed that the crisis in Niger Republic would not deter him from concluding his economic reform programme successfully for the benefit of Nigerians and that he takes a queue from no nation, but will only advance the interest of the Nigerian state in his approach toward ECOWAS’ handling of the regional standoff.
“We are deep in our attempts to peacefully settle the issue in Niger by leveraging on our diplomatic tools. I continue to hold ECOWAS back, despite its readiness for all options, in order to exhaust all other remedial mechanisms.
“War is not ideal for my economic reforms, nor for the region, but the defense of democracy is sacrosanct. The ECOWAS consensus is that we will not allow anyone to insincerely buy time,” the ECOWAS Chairman affirmed.