President Obama meets President Jonathan

President Obama met with acting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, left, on April 11, 2010

Abuja — Acting President Goodluck Jonathan returned to the country yesterday after a four-day working visit to the United States where he attended the Nuclear Security Summit, met President Barack Obama and had other engagements.

It was his first official visit outside the country since he emerged Acting President on February 9 following President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s ill-health.

Foreign Affairs Minister Odein Ajumogobia (SAN) told State House Correspondents that the visit was successful.

“The visit was very successful. The meeting between the Acting President and President Obama was a successful one. It generated a lot of goodwill for the Acting President.

“You could see the interviews granted by the Acting President to CNN,” he said.

The Presidential Aircraft, “Nigeria Airforce One,” touched down at the Presidential Lounge of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja around 10. 27 am without some governors and top government functionaries that were with him in US.

Governors Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, Ikedi Ohakim (Imo) and Adams Oshiomhole (Edo) as well as Ajumogobia and Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, among others, were with Jonathan on the visit.

While in the US, Jonathan addressed the Council on Foreign Relations and visited the World Bank where he solicited the bank’s support to finance infrastructure and provide technical expertise in the power sector.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government will soon establish a Diaspora Commission that will harmonise the contributions of Nigerians living abroad and ensure proper documentation of their input in the affairs of the nation as key stakeholders.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant Media and Publicity to the Acting President yesterday said Jonathan disclosed this while addressing the Nigerian Community in Washington DC on Wednesday to round off his official visit.

The Acting President said the establishment of the commission would enable the government have proper records of the contributions of Nigerian citizens abroad.

“We want to upgrade the Diaspora department in foreign affairs to the level of a commission to coordinate experts in the Diaspora. We are looking at establishing the commission before the end of this administration, in the next 12 months,” he said.

Jonathan applauded the roles and contributions of Nigerians in the Diaspora saying that they have become some of the best in their chosen professions across the globe.

He said the government will continue to acknowledge the contributions of these noteworthy ambassadors, while thanking them for promoting the country’s image internationally.

He urged the Diaspora not to relent in making positive contributions towards nation-building, noting that the task of swapping the negative perception about Nigeria with a positive image requires collective responsibility.

The forum afforded Nigerians in the US the platform to interact firsthand with the Acting President and ask questions on the state of the nation.

US Ambassador to Nigeria, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, said Jonathan’s visit to US has given tremendous boost to the country’s image abroad, making Nigerians in Diaspora hold their heads high once again in national pride.

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