What are Bush and Condi really doing in Nigeria? In the article "Presidency Jittery Over Suits Against Jonathan," written by Iyobosa Uwugiaren and Golu Timothy, Abuja on Sunday, 21 February 2010.
Assures US of Credible Election in 2011
Nigerian Vice President Goodluck Jonathan Jonathan yesterday gave his commitment to conduct free and fair elections in the 2011 general elections.
He gave the assurance when he received former U.S. President George W. Bush in his Aguda House residence, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said that the Federal Government would work towards ensuring that the electoral process was transparent and reflected the wishes of Nigerians. "I can assure you that come 2011, Nigeria's elections will be credible. We will do everything possible to overhaul the electoral process and leave a lasting legacy in our political history,'' the acting president said.
Jonathan used the occasion to call on the U.S. Government to reconsider its stand on the listing of Nigeria among countries of interest under watch in the global war against terrorism. He reiterated that terrorism was alien to the Nigerian way of life and culture.
Jonathan noted that Nigeria and the U.S were strategic partners in the quest for global peace and development. He thanked the U.S Government for its concern over the health of President Umaru Yar'Adua.
Earlier, Bush had congratulated Jonathan on his assumption of office as the Acting President and expressed his best wishes for President Yar'Adua.
"Sometimes in life, the unexpected happens. We wish you all the best even though we know it is not an easy job. With God's grace and the support of your team, you will succeed,'' he said.
Bush was accompanied by Ms Condoleezza Rice, the former U.S. Secretary of State in his administration, and U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Robin Sanders.
In what looks like an endorsement of Jonathan as acting president, by former US Secretary of State, Ms Condoleezza Rice, she said, the office of the president, is greater than the occupant of the office.
Responding to a question on what America would do if its president disappeared for about 80 days during the 12th edition of the THISDAY awards in Abuja last night, Rice said she really sympathised with Yar'Adua, but said that the presidency is greater than any individual.
Four days later . . .
Total ready to invest $20 billion in Nigerian oil exploration as President Yar’Adua returns Nigeria
Nigeria's Acting President Goodluck Jonathan says French energy firm Total is ready to invest $20 billion in oil and gas exploration, according to Reuters. That’s another feather in the cap of one of Africa’s largest producers. But an amnesty for thousands of rebels in the oil-rich Niger Delta started to unravel after President Umaru Yar’Adua spent three months in a Saudi Arabian hospital, suffering from heart problems, leaving the country of 140 million people on the edge of a constitutional crisis. He’s just returned to Nigeria, but there’s no word on whether he’s fit enough to resume office, or whether his deputy Jonathan will remain as acting head of state.
Total’s expression of interest comes at a time when other oil majors say Nigeria's proposed oil industry reforms could drive away billions in investment. They fear that new regulations could slow development of deep water reserves. The proposed Petroleum Industry Bill would allow government to renegotiate old contracts, tax oil companies further, and take back blocks that firms haven’t yet explored. Total’s $20 billion investment offer must be taking this into account.