Africa has been on the short end of the stick with US policies under the Trump administration, with Trump infamously referring to countries in the continent as “shit hole countries”. For Nigeria, during President Buhari’s April 2018 visit to the White House, reports alleged that the US president referred to Nigeria’s president Buhari as “lifeless”.
This untoward approach toward diplomatic relations with Nigeria became more evident as Nigeria’s foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, claimed in February 2020 that he was “somewhat blindsided” by the Trump administration’s ban on immigration from Nigeria, as he only learned about the ban a few minutes before his with the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to discuss the possible expansion of US-Nigeria cooperation. A Biden-led government is likely to be more receptive not only to immigration from Nigeria but would also respect the diplomatic history both nations share.
In addition, the US has become a major opposition to the ascendancy of former Nigerian minister of finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). A similar play to this was the US role in the delay to reelect Dr Akinwumi Adesina as President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), following corruption allegations he was cleared of by a panel of inquiry. The US insisted on an independent investigation, which ultimately arrived at the same conclusion as the first. SBM projects that with a more balanced and traditional diplomatic approach from the Biden-led government, Nigerians seeking international offices are likely to face less opposition.
Furthermore, SBM expects that a Biden led government is likely to put more pressure on the Nigerian government with respect to the issues of human rights violation. Following the influence of Nigerian’s in diaspora in their support for the #EndSARS protests, which drew the attention of President-Elect, Joseph Biden, as well as Hillary Clinton, who both released statements supporting the protesters. Mr Biden had spoken out during the #EndSARS protests urging the Nigerian government to “cease the violent crackdown on protesters in Nigeria, which has already resulted in several deaths.” He added that “The United States must stand with Nigerians who are peacefully demonstrating for police reform and seeking an end to corruption in their democracy”. He further encouraged the Nigerian government to “engage in a good-faith dialogue with civil society,” Biden continued, “to address these long-standing grievances and work together for a more just and inclusive Nigeria”.
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