Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The forthcoming general election in Nigeria formed the centre stage at yesterday’s bilateral meeting in Washington D.C between the United States and Nigeria with the US pledging its support towards ensuring that Nigeria holds a free and fair poll in February 2023.
At the meeting between the US Vice President, Kamala Harris and her Nigerian counterpart, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the United States government while expressing optimism that Nigeria’s general election will be free and fair, also disclosed that in the last year it had committed $7 billion for food security and humanitarian assistance to African countries.
On its part, Nigeria hailed the US Inflation Reduction Act, saying both countries could work together on climate change and global challenges.
Speaking while welcoming Osinbajo to the meeting held at the Ceremonial Office of the White House, Harris stressed that the US remained committed to supporting free and fair elections in Nigeria next February.
According to her, “We have confidence the elections will be peaceful and reflect 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 bastion of democracy for West Africa”.
She stressed that Africa’s leadership is important to surmounting global challenges, adding that US looks forward to strengthening the relationship with Nigeria.
Her words: “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 continent as a whole and we also look forward to hosting you in December at the Summit here in Washington.”
The US Vice President while stating that the two nations will also discuss the urgent issue that affects the continent of Africa and the world, which is the issue of food insecurity disclosed that the US had committed $7 billion in food security and humanitarian assistance to African countries over the past one year alone.
Harris welcomed Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, describing Osinbajo’s commitment to the issue of the climate crisis, saying “Mr. Vice President, you have been an extraordinary leader on this issue and I know this is something that you feel very strongly about and you’ve been very adamant about the role Nigeria can play in addressing this crisis that faces us all.
“I congratulate you, for example, on your Energy Transition Plan, which I know pledges carbon neutral energy by 2060, ambitious goals, but important goals, and under your leadership, I have no question, that they will be achieved.”
Responding to Harris’s address, Osinbajo noted that “we very strongly believe that we (Nigeria and US) in the coming years, will need to work together again on so many global challenges that are varied, and they come up very frequently now from promoting peace and security, to tackling global health issues and climate change and of course, economic adversity.”
Speaking specifically about Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, he said “the plan is important for us because we see especially, the climate crisis as two existential issues; one is the crisis itself, second the energy poverty which is an issue for us in our part of the world.
“So, while we look forward to the 2060 carbon neutrality goal, we are also hoping that even within a shorter period by 2030 we will deal with the issue of energy poverty.
“We look forward to the coming years and months for even greater collaboration and stronger ties between our countries to create a fairer, more prosperous and perhaps a greener, also freer nation and nations and the world,” the VP added.
He then commended the US for its innovative approach to addressing Climate Change, noting that “I must also congratulate you because of the Inflation Reduction Act and again, in particular, this is historic especially for those of us who are paying attention to all the issues of Climate Change.”
Osinbajo further noted the United States’ leadership in the area of Climate Change saying “we are all excited to queue behind the US and see that we get many of these objectives.”
The Vice President told his counterpart that Nigeria’s recently launched Energy Transition Plan (ETP) is the country’s master plan for addressing the issues of climate crisis and energy poverty.
He disclosed that Nigeria would require investment support towards the implementation of the Energy Transition Plan, referring to his earlier meetings in the past few days in the US Capital at the World Bank Group, the US Treasury and the US Agency for International Development, USAID.
Excited about the responses to the Nigerian plan so far, Osinbajo declared “we are anxious to get all the support we can.
“In the last few days, I have been talking to a few of the agencies here, the World Bank, USAID, in fact, the Treasury Secretary yesterday also. And they have all been positive and shown indication that they will be very helpful.”
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