‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja – The Vice President of United States of America, Kamala Harris at the weekend emphasized the need for Nigeria to conduct a free and fair elections in 2023. The VP, told her Nigerian counterpart, Prof Yemi Osinbajo SAN that “US remains committed to supporting free and fair elections in Nigeria next February. Elections which we have confidence will be peaceful and reflectable of the people, and of course we do feel very strongly, as I know you do that Nigeria is and must remain a standard of democracy for West Africa”.
Harris said this while welcoming Osinbajo to the White House in Washington DC. Osinbajo is in the US to deliver a lecture on a just and equitable energy transition for Africa at the Center for Global Development in Washington D.C,
Harris said: “Welcome, Mr Vice President . It is my honour to receive you, to talk with you today about many important matters that face Nigeria, the United States and our partnership, and what we are committed to doing together. There is a strong relationship between the United States and Nigeria, as I was explaining to the VP, there are hundreds of thousands of Nigerian Americans and Nigerians here in the USA and so many who have made significant contributions to the United States, be it as entrepreneurs and innovators, to film and music, and Nigeria, without any question is leading on so many important issues and some of the most important issues of our time”.
Harris commended Osinbajo for his passion and commitment in ending the global climate crisis. “When we look at the issue of the climate crisis, Mr Vice President you have been an extraordinary leader on this issue, and I know this is something you feel very strongly about. You have been very adamant about the role Nigeria can play in addressing this crisis that faces us all. I congratulate you on your energy transition plan which I know pledges carbon neutral Energy by 2060, ambitious but important goals, and under your leadership I’m sure that there’s no question that they will be achieved”, she said.
She said further: “Today we will also discuss the urgent issue that affects the continent of Africa and the world, which is food insecurity. As you know, the US has committed $7billion in food security and humanitarian assistance to African countries over the past year alone. Nigeria has also been an important partner in upholding the international rule based order whether it is tackling the Democratic backsliding that we’ve been seeing in West Africa, or standing up for Ukraine at the United Nations. The United States remains committed to supporting free and fair elections in Nigeria next February. Elections which we have confidence will be peaceful and reflectable of the will of the people, and of course we do feel very strongly, as I know you do, that Nigeria is and must remain a standard of democracy for West Africa;
More broadly, Africa’s leadership is key to confronting all of the global challenges we face and to that end, Nigeria is key. So we look forward to strengthening our partnership. I bring you greetings from president Joe Biden. I was just with him, and he and I remain committed to strengthening our relationship with Nigeria and with Africa as a whole. We also look forward to hosting you in December at the summit here in Washington”.
In his response, said: “Thank you very much. I’m grateful, Vice President Kamala Harris for receiving me here at the white house and my visit is an opportunity to reaffirm the close ties that exist between our countries. The United States has been a long standing partner and friend of Nigeria and even as long ago as Independence. The United States has been a very firm supporter of all of our aspirations, especially our economic and social development ambitions, the United States has always been with us;
We also must appreciate the firm support that we’ve received from the US, especially in our fight against terrorism within our borders, and in the Sahel and of course, the very timely donation of four million vaccines as we battled the covid-19 pandemic and that, of course was extremely useful. With an addition to, as you pointed out, our shared commitment and the international rules base system, we very strongly believe that in the coming years, we will need to work together again on so many global challenges- and they come up very frequently now, from promoting peace and security to tackling global health issues, climate change, and of course economic adversity;
I must also congratulate you of course on the inflation reduction act and I think in particular, it’s historic especially for those of us paying attention to all the issues on climate change, the Climate change component is really ambitious and we think that it shows US leadership in the era of climate change, and we’re all excited to queue up behind the US and see that we get many of these objectives on the way.
On our part and you pointed this out already, the Nigerian government launched Energy transition plan just last week and this plan is important for us because we see energy, especially the climate crisis as two existential issues, the first being climate crisis, and the second being the energy poverty or crisis for us in our part of the world;
So while we look forward to the 2060 Carbon neutrality goal, we are also hoping that within a shorter period of time- we’re looking at 2030 we’ll deal with issues of energy poverty, and so we’re anxious to get all the support we can, and in last few days I’ve been talking to quite a few of the agents here-the world bank, the US air, the Treasury Secretary yesterday and they’ve all been very positive and have shown indications that they’ll all be very helpful indeed;
So we look forward to even greater collaboration in the coming months and years and building stronger ties between our nations to create a fairer and more prosperous and perhaps a greener future for nations around the world. Thank you very much again for hosting me. This is a very great honour indeed”.