After meeting with Bush at the White House, Nigeria’s President Yar’Adua appears to have reversed direction and announced Nigeria is ready to “partner” with AFRICOM. To understand what partnership means, see my earlier post on how it works in the Philippines, and how that relates to AFRICOM. Partnership may provide the US with everything it wants and needs, both access and resources. I don’t know what combination of bribes and threats were directed at Yar’Adua, but combinations of bribes and threats are how Bush and his cronies do business. The story was reported by This Day, and in allAfrica.com: Nigeria: Yar’Adua in White House, Ready to Partner U.S. On Africom.
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua yesterday at the White House in Washington, D.C., United States (US) stated that Nigeria would partner the US/AFRICA Command (AFRICOM) on security on the continent.
The Council of States of which the President is Chairman, recently voiced opposition to the command.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, who is part of the President’s delegation to the US had himself stated that Nigeria would not support the presence of US troops on African soil under the auspices of AFRICOM.
But at a press briefing at the Oval Office, with President George W. Bush in attendance, Yar’Adua made known his new position.
“We have discussed on security issues, security within Nigeria, the Niger Delta, the Gulf of Guinea and peace and security on the African continent. We shall partner AFRICOM to assist not only Nigeria but also the African continent to actualise its peace and security initiatives. It is an initiative to have standby forces in each of the regional economic groupings in Africa,” said the President.
The President did not give details of the discussion on AFRICOM, such as whether Nigeria will be used as the Command’s base, an issue that has emerged contentious in recent times.
But his support at the White House was a clear departure from the leaning of his administration on the issue.
This disclosure is opposite of what was disclosed by the Nigerian government in November, and clearly contrary to general expectation of AfricanLoft users (See AfricanLoft debate on AFRICOM) and the Nigerian public.
And as Omotaylor writes in the comments:
It will be a grevious mistake in the long term if Nigeria i.e. Yaradua deviates from his earlier decision and partners with the US on AFRICOM. It will be interesting to hear in the near future his full explanation and reasoning behind changing his mind. Leaders are accountable to the people for when the problem starts, the people are the same that would suffer for it.
Again, referring to my earlier post, Bush’s AFRICOM may not need much of a geographic headquarters to accomplish what it wants, if it can get enough African “partners”.