Ahead of the May 29 inauguration of Nigeria’s President elect, Bola Tinubu, the United Kingdom High Commission in Abuja has given an indication that a strong delegation from the UK will attend the event.
This was disclosed yesterday to our correspondent by the head of the media unit of the British High Commission in Abuja, Dean Hurlock.
He said, “The UK delegation will be headed by the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for the inauguration, the Rt. Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Minister of State for Development and Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, with the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria and Special Envoy on Girls’ Education, the Rt. Hon Helen Grant (OBE, MP) and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery, CMG.”
Meanwhile, Nigerian-born Enoh Ebong is part of the US delegation to the inauguration of President-elect Bola Tinubu on May 29.
Ebong is part of the nine-member delegation announced on Monday by US President Joe Biden.
A statement issued on Tuesday by the US Embassy in Abuja said the delegation will be led by Marcia L. Fudge, US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Other members of the US mission to Nigeria include: David Greene, chargé d’affaires at the US Embassy in Abuja; Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Democratic Representative from California; Marisa Lago, the US Department of Commerce’s Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, and Michael E. Langley, the commander of the United States Africa Command.
Others include Mary Catherine Phee, the US Department of State’s Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Judd Devermont, national security council’s special assistant to the president and senior director for African issues, and Monde Muyangwa, the assistant administrator for Africa at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Ebong recently led a United States fact-finding mission to Nigeria and Rwanda for purposes of enhancing business and investment in the countries, even as she joins.
Enoh Ebong, who is the deputy director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, was joined by U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, and the members of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa on the mission.
Reflecting on the mission, Ebong said the mission was designed to share information and to identify opportunities to enhance the U.S.-Africa commercial partnership.
She said, “I was asked to join the trip in my role as deputy director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, which collaborates with U.S. companies to craft solutions to development challenges in Nigeria, Rwanda and around the world.
“Fact-finding is an important element of what we do. During the critical early stages of an infrastructure project’s development, we build partnerships between African stakeholders and U.S. firms that identify the components necessary to make the project bankable.”
She stated that when she first came to USTDA, the Nigerian government had recently begun to open up its telecommunications sector.
Since then, she said the US has been connecting Nigerian telecom companies with U.S. experts who can help them modernise their infrastructure.
“We are currently helping Nigeria’s Main One Cable Company plan for the extension of a 300-mile undersea fibre optic network from Lagos to Port Harcourt. Through their work with a U.S. company, HIP Consult, Inc. (Washington, DC), Main One will increase the number of people and businesses with access to telecom services throughout the region.
“Because this model has proven so successful, we are adopting it to help our Nigerian partners privatise their electricity sector. In fact, we’re working across the value chain to bring energy to more Nigerians. As just one example, USTDA is evaluating the technical and financial viability of constructing a 275 megawatt gas-fired power plant for Royal Power Integrated and General Services Limited.”
According to her, the project would increase capacity and improve access to power for residential and commercial customers across Lagos State.
“This effort is a great example of how the U.S. and Africa are working together to increase electricity access under President Obama’s Power Africa initiative. By collaborating on projects like this one, we are helping to ensure that more Nigerians have access to energy. And we are helping to strengthen economic ties between Nigeria and the U.S,” she added.
Speaking about her Nigerian origin. Ebong said, “As both a daughter of Nigeria and a proud American citizen, I am starting to see how my father’s past shaped my future. His commitment to Nigeria’s growth inspired me to join the U.S. government’s efforts to promote development by leveraging the expertise and resources of the U.S. private sector.
“I am so grateful for this opportunity to return to the country of my birth and join U.S. and African stakeholders in exchanging ideas to bolster our partnership. I know my father would agree that, by strengthening trade and development ties today, we are helping to ensure a safer, more prosperous tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, following the trail of the US and UK, yesterday, Canada announced through its High Commission that the country will be represented at the inauguration of Tinubu by Hon. Ahmed Husain, Minister of Housing Diversity and Inclusion.
On its part, the Indian High Commission in Abuja told our correspondent in Abuja yesterday that the country will be represented by a delegation. The media officer of the mission, Vipul Mesariya, told LEADERSHIP that Delhi might send a strong delegation led by a minister.
The Chinese authorities at the Embassy in Abuja also confirmed that a team from the Chinese government will likely be at the event to show solidarity with Nigeria and strengthen the existing bilateral ties with the country. Officer in charge of the political and media unit, Gu Jing, told our correspondent that the country would certainly send a representative, but nothing was certain yet.
A source from Sierra Leone told our correspondent yesterday that president of the country, Julius Mada Bio, was likely to lead a strong delegation to the country.
The Turkish Embassy also told LEADERSHIP that plans are still on ground to send a delegation. A source in the embassy, who did not give her name, said the delegation might be announced before the weekend.
Tinubu was declared winner of the February 25, 2023 presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He defeated his closest rivals, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party to clinch Nigeria’s most coveted seat.
However, Tinubu’s victory is being challenged at the election petitions tribunal by both Atiku and Peter Obi, who allege that the electoral body rigged the election to favour the former Lagos State governor. They are also challenging, among others, Tinubu’s alleged drug-related case in the US.