Pressure On Obama To Attend May 29 Inauguration
US Groups Want President In person
AS the May 29 inauguration of Nigeria’s President-elect and the Vice President-elect draws closer, pressure is mounting on the White House on who should represent the United States at the event.
While the immediate past US Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, is asking President Obama to send his deputy, Vice President Joe Biden, to lead a high-powered US presidential delegation to the event, a pro-Africa US lobby group in Washington DC and the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN) are requesting Obama himself to attend the event.
White House officials have said the US President is not ready yet to announce a delegation to the swearing-in ceremony. But such an announcement is expected in the forthcoming week based on traditional practices by the White House.
There have been news reports and claims that Obama is certainly planning to send a very high-powered, presidential scale delegation, possibly led by his wife, the VP or the US Secretary of State.
Specifically, regarding the Buhari-Osinbajo inauguration, Ambassador Carson noted yesterday: “President Obama should send a high level delegation to Buhari’s inauguration in Abuja on May 29.
According to him, “this delegation should be led by Vice President Joe Biden, who engaged with both President Jonathan and with President-elect Buhari in the run-up to the presidential election, and if the VP is unable to go, Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson or Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack should lead the delegation, which should include senior officials from several cabinets departments, including the Department of Defense.”
In a similar vein, CANAN, and another leading US group made up of top Americans Constituency for Africa separately released statements asking the US President to be personally present at the May 29 event in Abuja.
The group, Constituency for Africa, is considered one of the leading organizations in the US “committed to educating and mobilizing the US public on matters pertaining to Africa.”
Its president, Mr. Melvin Foote in the statement argued, “last month, Nigeria completed its election process in a peaceful and transparent manner. While the US applauded this positive feat, our involvement cannot conclude just yet.
In fact, in some ways, it is only just beginning, which is why I strongly urge President Obama to attend the inauguration of President-elect on May 29.”
Although Carson did not ask Obama to attend the Buhari-Osinbajo swearing-in event, he is asking the US President to visit Nigeria very soon. Carson said “President Obama should stop over in Nigeria when he visits East Africa in July.”
According to him, since President Obama is slated to visit Kenya and Ethiopia in July, “it would be deeply troubling for many Nigerians to see Africa’s largest democracy snubbed at this important moment in its history.