President Clinton's Trip to Nigeria
President Clinton will travel to Nigeria, West Africa at the invitation of the President of Nigeria, H.E. Olesegun Obasanjo from August 25-27, 2000. President Clinton's historic return to Africa will underscore the United States ongoing support for Nigeria's impressive democratic transformation under President Obasanjo's government and for Nigeria's critical leadership role in the region. The two Presidents will discuss the growing relationship between the United States and Nigeria, building upon the dialogue they launched during President Obasanjo's October 1999 visit to the United States.
Since taking office, President Obasanjo has won well-deserved praise both at home and abroad for his bold and sincere leadership. He has moved quickly to rid the military of overly politicized soldiers, tackled corruption and appointed a commission to examine human rights violations that occurred during the many years of military dictatorship. And most importantly, he is eager to restore Nigeria's leadership role in Africa.
Since his birth in 1960, Nigeria's progress has been thwarted over and over again by military with little or no concern for the more than 110 million people living in Nigeria. For many years, its most courageous citizens were either imprisoned or killed, its vas wealth siphoned of due to waste and corruption, and its potential to lead its region and continent toward a better future squandered. President Clinton firmly believes that it is the best interest of America to assist Nigeria's recovery. More than any other country in Africa, Nigeria has both the means and the will to play a leadership role in the stability of the continent. It should also be noted that over the past decade, Nigeria has proved itself ready, willing and able to share the burden of a peace keeper in the political instability or several of its West African neighbors such as within Sierra Leone and Liberia. A stable and democratic Nigeria, served by a professional military that respects civilian authority, can do more than any other country to save Africa's people the enormous cost and human suffering from constant civil unrest, conflict, and aggression.