The former US President Bill Clinton was in Nigeria for THISDAY Teachers achievement awards. Speaking on the economic development and advancement of Nigeria, the former president emphasized the employment of Nigeria's brain powers living abroad. President Clinton understood the dynamic and trigonometric of trained skills, advanced education and intellectualism in the advancement of a nation.
On the issue of advance education and specialized skill, Clinton gave a powerful recognition and glowing tribute to Nnamdi Asomugha, a Nigerian American footballer, who has worked closely with the former president‘s Foundation and who has become a helping hand to less privilege communities in United States of America. Asomugha, although is a professional footballer, chose to lay emphasis on educational empowerment of a society. Clinton describing Asomugha as a wonderful human being, said:
“He (Nnamdi) does great work in America for poor kids in Arkansas City and he became a friend of mine. Both his parents have Ph.Ds, his sister has a Ph.D. He often says ‘I’m the failure in my family and I only have a university degree and I play football. My point is there are Nigerians who are like this all over the world. What you have to figure out is how to keep those people in Nigeria and how to ensure their success leads on into the rest of the country. So, I think solving the economic divide that is in your country will help the political divide; making better use of your resources.”
L-R: Chairman/Editor-in-Chief, THISDAY Newspapers, Prince Nduka Obaigbena; Recipient, Life-time Achievement Award, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso; former President, United States of America, Bill Clinton; and Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, during the 18th THISDAY Teachers Awards, at Abeokuta, Ogun State. Photo: Kunle Ogunfuyi
Former US president Bill Clinton further said, “There has to be a way to take the staggering intellectual and organizational ability that Nigerians exhibit in every country in the world in which they are immigrant and bring it to bear here so that the country as a whole can rise. One of the people on my trip with me today who unfortunately could not come up here because he had to go to visit his family is a young Nigerian-American, named Nnamdi.”
Nnamdi, as Clinton referred to him played for NFL football fields, and became an All Pro cornerback for the Oakland Raiders. Nnamdi Asomugha was born in America and his both parents are from Nigeria.
"Asomugha was born in Lafayette, Louisiana to parents of Igbo descent and raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, California and Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, California before transferring to and graduating from Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California, playing high school basketball and football. Asomugha is of Nigerian descent.
Asomugha attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he finished his career with 187 tackles, three sacks, 19 stops for losses, eight interceptions, three touchdowns, 15 pass deflections, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in 41 games as a free safety. In addition to football, Nnamdi also proved highly intelligent in the classroom. Asomugha stayed all four years at University of California, Berkeley, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Degree in corporate finance. Asomugha often cites the important role both his parents education played in his life, citing their doctoral degrees in engineering and pharmacy as motivation for his own studies." (Wikipedia)
Nnamdi Asomugha of Oakland raiders. Photo by Jeff Lewis
"Nnamdi Asomugha created the Asomugha Foundation to provide a positive impact on the disadvantaged youth in the U.S. and the underprivileged orphans and widows in Africa through education and empowerment.
The Asomugha Foundation has two focuses. OWIN, Orphans and Widows in Need in Nigeria, where Asomugha is from, and ACTS, Asomugha College Tour for Scholars. Asomugha takes high school students on college tours to encourage them to peruse a higher education. Asomugha, who played football and basketball at Narbonne high school and went on to play football at Cal (Berkeley), emphasized education when he was a student," as reported by Jason Lewis, Sentinel Sports Editor.
On the importance of advance education, Nnamdi Asomugha once said, “When you have a college degree, that always helps with the people that are hiring you, they know that you were determined and that you were able to get that degree while being active in other things. That speaks volumes to a lot of business owners and people who are hiring.”
Clinton acknowledged that Nigeria has a great potential and said “When I became President, my Secretary for Commerce did a lot of work in Africa before he was tragically killed in a plane crash in 1995. I told him to make the list of the 10 most important countries in the world for the 21st century and Nigeria was in the list. Imagine the future of the entire continent if Nigeria fails or South Africa fails. So, you are a country of great potential.”
Nigeria must target poverty in nation to stop violence now sweeping - Bill Clinton
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that Nigeria must do more to alleviate the extreme poverty across the nation’s predominantly Muslim north in order to halt the wave of bombings, shootings and kidnappings by Islamic extremists there.
Clinton’s comment comes as Islamic terror groups have claimed the kidnappings of foreigners in recent days from the region and Nigeria’s weak central government appears unable to contain the spreading violence. He said that poverty remains the main driver for the attacks and needs to be addressed by strong local and federal government programs.
Extremists from a radical Islamic sect known as Boko Haram killed at least 792 people last year in Nigeria, according to an Associated Press count. Fighters who said they belong to Boko Haram claimed responsibility Monday for the kidnapping of seven French tourists in northern Cameroon. Ansaru, which analysts believe is a splinter group from Boko Haram, has claimed the kidnappings of seven foreigners — a British citizen, a Greek, an Italian, three Lebanese and one Filipino — all employees of a Lebanese construction company named Setraco.
“You have to somehow bring economic opportunity to the people who don’t have it,” Clinton said Tuesday. “You have all these political problems — and now violence problems — that appear to be rooted in religious differences and the all the rhetoric of the Boko Harams and others, but the truth is the poverty rate in the north is three times of what it is in Lagos,” Nigeria’s largest city.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton at the annual ThisDay awards ceremony, in Abeokuta, Nigeria, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba) -
Clinton said that oil-rich Nigeria, which earns billions of dollars from its oil industry and is a major supplier to the U.S., must not take a “divide the pie” approach toward attacking poverty. That appeared to be a subtle reference to the endemic corruption that envelopes government and private industry in the country.
“It’s a losing strategy,” the former president said. “You have to figure out a way to have a strategy that will have share prosperity.”
Poverty is endemic in Nigeria, and corruption has siphoned away billions in oil earnings since the country began exporting crude more than 50 years ago. Government statistics show that in Nigeria’s northwest and northeast, regions besieged by Islamic insurgents, about 75 percent of the people live in poverty.
Analysts say that poverty, despite decades of military rule by leaders from the north, coupled with a lack of formal education has driven the region’s exploding youth population toward extremism. Those attacks also have strained relations between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.
Clinton spoke Tuesday in Abeokuta as part of an awards ceremony put on by ThisDay newspaper and its flamboyant publisher Nduka Obaigbena, who has invited the former president several times to Nigeria, along with other celebrities. The event, put on by a newspaper publisher sometimes accused by his staff of not paying them from months at a time, was also attended by former Nigeria military ruler and President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Jon Gambrell can be reached at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP .
President Obama and Hillary Clinton tour the Wat Pho Royal Monastery with Chaokun Suthee Thammanuwat, the Dean, Faculty of Buddhism Assistant to the Abbot of Wat Phra Chetuphon in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 18, 2012. AP
Obama and Clinton wave as they arrive at Yangon International Airport in Yangon, Myanmar, on Air Force One, Nov. 19, 2012. It was the first visit to Myanmar by a sitting U.S. president. AP
Clinton and Obama walk to the Oval Office from the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 12, 2012, after the president spoke on the death of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. AP
President Obama smiles as he is seated with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the start of a Cabinet meeting at the White House, May 3, 2011. AP
Obama, with Clinton, delivers a statement on Libya in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Feb. 23, 2011. AP
Obama meets with his national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan, March 12, 2010, in the Situation Room. From left are, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, United States Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, and the president. AP
Hillary Clinton confers with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama prior to a reception in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and his wife, Mrs Gursharan Kaur, Nov. 24, 2009. (Photo: White House)
Obama meets with his national security team including Undersecretary of State Bill Burns (right) and Hillary Clinton, Sept. 30, 2009, in the Situation Room.(Photo: White House)
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (left) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greet President Obama as he arrives to addresses a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 9, 2009. AP
Obama signs a proclamation celebrating the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the East Room of the White House Friday, July 24, 2009. From left: Rep. Jim Langevin, Sen. Daniel Inouye, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Obama, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. AP
Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) talk in the Oval Office, June 26, 2009. At right is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. AP
President Obama tours the Sultan Hassan Mosque with Secretary of State Clinton in Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009. AP
"The 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton and the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama acknowledge tha audience at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 5, 2012 on the second day of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). The DNC is expected to nominate US President Barack Obama to run for a second term as president on September 6th, 2012. " - Huffington Post (Photos credit STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
credit: Jason J. Lee for POLITICO
I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. A man who ran for President to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before the election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there were still millions more waiting, trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.
I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside. A man who believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation. A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.
I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party.
In Tampa, we heard a lot of talk about how the President and the Democrats don’t believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everyone to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.
The Republican narrative is that all of us who amount to anything are completely self-made. One of our greatest Democratic Chairmen, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants you to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself, but it ain’t so.
We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. We think “we’re all in this together” is a better philosophy than “you’re on your own.”
Who’s right? Well since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs. What’s the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million!
It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.
Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats. After all, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High and built the interstate highway system. And as governor, I worked with President Reagan on welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals. I am grateful to President George W. Bush for PEPFAR, which is saving the lives of millions of people in poor countries and to both Presidents Bush for the work we’ve done together after the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.
Through my foundation, in America and around the world, I work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are focused on solving problems and seizing opportunities, not fighting each other.
When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better. After all, nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. All of us are destined to live our lives between those two extremes.
Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is the enemy, and compromise is weakness.
One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation. He appointed Republican Secretaries of Defense, the Army and Transportation. He appointed a Vice President who ran against him in 2008, and trusted him to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act. And Joe Biden did a great job with both. He appointed Cabinet members who supported Hillary in the primaries. Heck, he even appointed Hillary! I’m so proud of her and grateful to our entire national security team for all they’ve done to make us safer and stronger and to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I’m also grateful to the young men and women who serve our country in the military and to Michelle Obama and Jill Biden for supporting military families when their loved ones are overseas and for helping our veterans, when they come home bearing the wounds of war, or needing help with education, housing, and jobs.
President Obama’s record on national security is a tribute to his strength, and judgment, and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship.
He also tried to work with Congressional Republicans on Health Care, debt reduction, and jobs, but that didn’t work out so well. Probably because, as the Senate Republican leader, in a remarkable moment of candor, said two years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America back to work, but to put President Obama out of work.
Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we’re going to keep President Obama on the job!
In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President’s re-election was pretty simple: we left him a total mess, he hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.
In order to look like an acceptable alternative to President Obama, they couldn’t say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years. You see they want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place: to cut taxes for high income Americans even more than President Bush did; to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts; to increase defense spending two trillion dollars more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they’ll spend the money on; to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor kids. As another President once said - there they go again.
I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.
Are we where we want to be? No. Is the President satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month. The answer is YES.
I understand the challenge we face. I know many Americans are still angry and frustrated with the economy. Though employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend and even housing prices are picking up a bit, too many people don’t feel it.
I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995. Our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn’t feel it yet. By 1996, the economy was roaring, halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in American history.
President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President - not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract you will feel it.
I believe that with all my heart.
President Obama’s approach embodies the values, the ideas, and the direction America must take to build a 21st century version of the American Dream in a nation of shared opportunities, shared prosperity and shared responsibilities.
So back to the story. In 2010, as the President’s recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around.
The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95% of the American people. In the last 29 months the economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs. But last year, the Republicans blocked the President’s jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here’s another jobs score: President Obama plus 4.5 million, Congressional Republicans zero.
Over that same period, more than more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama - the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.
The auto industry restructuring worked. It saved more than a million jobs, not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships, but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country. That’s why even auto-makers that weren’t part of the deal supported it. They needed to save the suppliers too. Like I said, we’re all in this together.
Now there are 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than the day the companies were restructured. Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. So here’s another jobs score: Obama two hundred and fifty thousand, Romney, zero.
The agreement the administration made with management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage over the next few years is another good deal: it will cut your gas bill in half, make us more energy independent, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and add another 500,000 good jobs.
President Obama’s “all of the above” energy plan is helping too - the boom in oil and gas production combined with greater energy efficiency has driven oil imports to a near 20 year low and natural gas production to an all time high. Renewable energy production has also doubled.
We do need more new jobs, lots of them, but there are already more than three million jobs open and unfilled in America today, mostly because the applicants don’t have the required skills. We have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are being created in a world fueled by new technology. That’s why investments in our people are more important than ever. The President has supported community colleges and employers in working together to train people for open jobs in their communities. And, after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the drop-out rate so much that we’ve fallen to 16th in the world in the percentage of our young adults with college degrees, his student loan reform lowers the cost of federal student loans and even more important, gives students the right to repay the loans as a fixed percentage of their incomes for up to 20 years. That means no one will have to drop-out of college for fear they can’t repay their debt, and no one will have to turn down a job, as a teacher, a police officer or a small town doctor because it doesn’t pay enough to make the debt payments. This will change the future for young Americans.
I know we’re better off because President Obama made these decisions.
That brings me to health care.
The Republicans call it Obamacare and say it’s a government takeover of health care that they’ll repeal. Are they right? Let’s look at what’s happened so far. Individuals and businesses have secured more than a billion dollars in refunds from their insurance premiums because the new law requires 80% to 85% of your premiums to be spent on health care, not profits or promotion. Other insurance companies have lowered their rates to meet the requirement. More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents can now carry them on family policies. Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care including breast cancer screenings and tests for heart problems. Soon the insurance companies, not the government, will have millions of new customers many of them middle class people with pre-existing conditions. And for the last two years, health care spending has grown under 4%, for the first time in 50 years.
So are we all better off because President Obama fought for it and passed it? You bet we are.
There were two other attacks on the President in Tampa that deserve an answer. Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the President for allegedly robbing Medicare of 716 billion dollars. Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits. None. What the President did was save money by cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren’t making people any healthier. He used the saving to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program, and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. It’s now solvent until 2024. So President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare, they strengthened it.
When Congressman Ryan looked into the TV camera and attacked President Obama’s “biggest coldest power play” in raiding Medicare, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. You see, that 716 billion dollars is exactly the same amount of Medicare savings Congressman Ryan had in his own budget.
At least on this one, Governor Romney’s been consistent. He wants to repeal the savings and give the money back to the insurance companies, re-open the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and reduce the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight years. So now if he’s elected and does what he promised Medicare will go broke by 2016. If that happens, you won’t have to wait until their voucher program to begins in 2023 to see the end Medicare as we know it.
But it gets worse. They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming decade. Of course, that will hurt poor kids, but that’s not all. Almost two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for seniors and on people with disabilities, including kids from middle class families, with special needs like, Downs syndrome or Autism. I don’t know how those families are going to deal with it. We can’t let it happen
Now let’s look at the Republican charge that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work.
Here’s what happened. When some Republican governors asked to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama Administration said they would only do it if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20%. You hear that? More work. So the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform’s work requirement is just not true. But they keep running ads on it. As their campaign pollster said “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” Now that is true. I couldn’t have said it better myself - I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad.
Let’s talk about the debt. We have to deal with it or it will deal with us. President Obama has offered a plan with 4 trillion dollars in debt reduction over a decade, with two and a half dollars of spending reductions for every one dollar of revenue increases, and tight controls on future spending. It’s the kind of balanced approach proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.
I think the President’s plan is better than the Romney plan, because the Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: The numbers don’t add up.
It’s supposed to be a debt reduction plan but it begins with five trillion dollars in tax cuts over a ten-year period. That makes the debt hole bigger before they even start to dig out. They say they’ll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code. When you ask “which loopholes and how much?,” they say “See me after the election on that.”
People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets. What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic. If they stay with a 5 trillion dollar tax cut in a debt reduction plan - the - arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen: 1) they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving that middle class families will see their tax bill go up two thousand dollars year while people making over 3 million dollars a year
get will still get a 250,000 dollar tax cut; or 2) they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel; or they’ll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education and other programs that help middle class families and poor children, not to mention cutting investments in roads, bridges, science, technology and medical research; or 3) they’ll do what they’ve been doing for thirty plus years now - cut taxes more than they cut spending, explode the debt, and weaken the economy. Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can’t afford to double-down on trickle-down.
President Obama’s plan cuts the debt, honors our values, and brightens the future for our children, our families and our nation.
My fellow Americans, you have to decide what kind of country you want to live in. If you want a you’re on your own, winner take all society you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities - a “we’re all in it together” society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. If you want every American to vote and you think its wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama. If you think the President was right to open the doors of American opportunity to young immigrants brought here as children who want to go to college or serve in the military, you should vote for Barack Obama. If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American Dream is alive and well, and where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, you should vote for Barack Obama.
I love our country - and I know we’re coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we’ve always come out stronger than we went in. And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor – to form a more perfect union.
If that’s what you believe, if that’s what you want, we have to re-elect President Barack Obama.
God Bless You - God Bless America
In 1998, then U.S. president Bill Clinton met a baby who was named after him in a village in Uganda.
Now, fourteen years later, the former president was reunited with his "Ugandan son."
According to the Clinton Foundation's website, the baby was named Bill Clinton because he was born in the same month the American head of state first arrived in the African nation.
The Ugandan newspaper the Daily Monitor reports that the two Bill Clintons met in Entebbe, Uganda last Friday. The teen, whose full name is Master Bill Clinton Kaligani, was airlifted to Entebbe and sat down with Clinton for lunch.
According to AllAfrica.com, Kaligani had to miss an exam to make the meeting but the boy was thrilled to meet the man who has made such an impact on his life.
“[Clinton] was very happy to see the boy. He asked him what he wants and the boy informed him he wants to become a doctor. He promised to look after his 'son' in every way," Betty Namugosa, the teenager's mother, said.
“I feel good. He told me he also wanted me to be a doctor, that I should work hard and pass in my studies,” Kaligani said, according to the Daily Monitor.
The Innovations For Poverty Action blog explains that Clinton was in Uganda to support an effort to "eliminate diarrheal deaths among Ugandan children." The Clinton Health Access Initiative, which the former president founded in 2002, is working with the Ugandan Ministry of Health to help increase access to effective treatments for diarrhea.
ABUJA, Nigeria - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged Nigerian authorities Thursday to boost their intelligence capabilities to better combat growing extremist violence. Clinton is proposing that Nigeria create an "intelligence fusion cell" that would combine information from the military, spy services, police and other federal, state and local agencies. The cell would also coordinate counterterrorism activities and serve as a contact for foreign intelligence services, said State Department officials.
The officials said the United States was ready to assist the cell with organizational expertise, training and equipment, including computers, and would offer the aid to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and his new national security adviser, Mohammed Dasuki, on whom the United States has high hopes for expanded intelligence cooperation. The officials were speaking on condition of anonymity because Clinton had not begun her meetings with Nigerian officials yet.
Clinton At Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport
Greeting U.S Embassy workers at Abuja
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with members of diplomatic security at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
The United States has become increasingly concerned about the threat posed by militant groups in west Africa such as the Islamist Boko Haram in Nigeria and cells of al-Qaeda-linked fighters in northern Mali.
The security situation in Nigeria has deteriorated to the point where the movement of U.S. embassy workers is often restricted. Clinton will spend only about five hours on the ground and will not spend the night in Abuja, where the hotel traditionally used by visiting U.S. dignitaries has been the target of terrorist threats.
After her meeting with Jonathan and Dasuki, Clinton expressed the U.S. commitment to Nigeria. We intend to remain supportive of your reform effort. We are very supportive of the anticorruption efforts. We really believe that the future for Nigeria is limitless," Clinton said.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said later that the Nigerians were very interested in creating the intelligence fusion cell. The United States agreed to send a team to Nigeria soon to help them set up the counterterrorist operation. Boko Haram seeks the strict implementation of Shariah, or Islamist law, across Nigeria. The terrorist group is held responsible for more than 650 deaths this year alone, according to an Associated Press count
The group's gain in strength and lethality has led some U.S. lawmakers to demand that Boko Haram be designated a "foreign terrorist organization" and subjected to enhanced sanctions. The Obama administration has said that it is reviewing the case but notes that numerous individual members are already on U.S. financial blacklists. American officials also worry that Boko Haram's rise might destabilize the broader region, particularly in Mali, where Islamist militants are taking advantage of a post-coup power vacuum to sow unrest in the north.
"The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is in the Presidential Villa for a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria in continuation of her eleven nation Africa tour. She arrived the Villa at about 3.54PM. Though details of the meeting has not been disclosed to journalists, officials said the US Secretary of State is expected to hold discussions with the president on how to strengthen ties between Nigeria and the US. After meeting with the President, she is also expected to hold a meeting with the nation’s Security Chiefs, who are already."- Channel TV
Hillary Clinton sure knows how to have a good time. The secretary of state was captured on camera dancing during her trip to South Africa, on the heels of showing off her moves in Malawi. Earlier this year, Clinton made headlines when she was snapped drinking a beer in Cartagena, Colombia, where she was attending the Summit of the Americas. It was just before the trip that a striking photo of the secretary of state texting aboard a military C-17 plane on her way to Libya gave way to "Texts from Hillary" -- an Internet meme sensation. In April at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, President Barack Obama joked that "much has changed" during his time in office. He quipped, "Four years ago, I was locked in a brutal primary battle with Hillary Clinton. Four years later she won't stop drunk-texting me from Cartegana." - Huffington Post
If you have not heard, Hillary Clinton, United States Secretary of States was in Senegal on her official 11-day African trip that will take her to Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Ghana. In capital city of Dakar she addressed Senegalese policy makers, scholars, politicians and bureaucrats at University of Cheikh Anta Diop Dakar. When she gets to Ghana she will attend the burial ceremony of late Ghanaian President Atta Mills.
From what we were gathering from the media she will be laying greater emphasis on the sustaining of democracy and on China strong influence in Africa. I will return to China later.
Therefore it is not a leisure nor safari driven trip but policy orientated. But why is it necessary to fly to Africa to remind Africans that democracy is important? America has made the spread of democracy the centerpiece of its foreign policy and Africa is no stranger to democratic doctrine of United States of America. Many African countries have accepted democracy in principle but not in practice. With weak democratic institutions and strong men the promise of true democracy is still a mirage in Africa.
Africa is endowed with natural resources and it is potentially rich but the reality is that it is underdeveloped with inferior, shanty and dilapidated infrastructures; struggling with many earthly problems including food shortage, poor governance, poverty and diseases.
As a U.S. Secretary of State, Clinton is the principal facilitator of America’s foreign policy and visibly the face of Obama’s foreign policy. President Obama is almost completing his first term in office and his policy has not changed from his predecessors who are also emphasizing democracy and peace in Africa.
The much difference is unlike former presidents of America, President Obama is not doling out cash to Africa neither he has a special project that is ongoing in the continent that requires funds infusion.
Former President George Bush (43) made available $15 Billion to fight AIDS/HIV in Africa and the result was affirmatively overwhelming, cutting down the numbers of Africans dying of the dreadful disease. It was one of the most successful programs in Africa financed by United States. Africa is thankful to former President George Bush for his humanitarian gesture to the continent.
Africa in spite of her natural resources needs fund to develop these resources and at this point in time United States, a credible and reliable friend of Africa is not in the position to dole out cash to Africa.
United States at this time has its share of problems – the slow growth of the economy, mind blowing deficits and $15 trillion debt. America cannot afford to be giving out foreign aids as it does in the past. Americans are asking their government to look inward and solve their internal pressing needs that requires lots of money.
China has come to aid of the continent and has been financing many projects in Africa without asking questions about misrule and poor human rights record in Africa. China does not run a charity based enterprise and Chinese are not in Africa for zero-sum game.
Clinton speaking at of Cheikh Anta Diop Dakar University
China has a massive industrial empire that needs natural resources to administer. China recognized quite well that her growth will not continues without finding new markets to trade with. China has a mammoth population of over 1.2 billion living and breathing citizens that must be feed and cloth. Chinese capitalists and investors are now investing in farming and farm lands in Africa. Food produced from those farming places in Africa can be exported to China.
Clinton may not succeed in convincing Africans to be at lookout in their relationship with China. It is becoming clear, if not self-evident that Africa and China are beginning to understand each other interest. Initially, the relationship may be little rough but with time and frequent interactions the rough edges will be made less frictional.
Africa and China are having reciprocal venture and mutual relationship: Africa has natural resources and China has cash to dole out. As each of them keeps their eyes on their respective interest, the economic and commercial ties become manageable and sustainable.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) Senegali President Macky Sall, at the Presidential Palace in Dakar, Senegal, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
But what does Africa really need from United States and West?
Encouragement and Empowerment to foster Freedom and Liberty: Africans must live in the system of government that encourages freedom and justice. The respect for fundamental human rights must be instituted and adhered to; an environment that provides self-help, self-improvement and self-innovation must be encouraged. Only freedom can make these things possible and make free enterprise a reality, so that free people can create wealth and advance human dignity.
The United States should encourage and support governance that accommodates checks and balances in Africa. This will in turn provide accountability and respect for the populace. What Africa needs mostly include elimination of dictators and socialist regimes, establishment of virile/free political platform and economy, rule of law and respect for individual rights. All these things do border on fundamental issues which foreign aid alone cannot redress. Until these issues are properly put right, the story of the optimum utilization of these billions of dollars from foreign aid will always remain a mirage.
Anti-corruption legislation: The responsibility of fighting corruption is too complex and gigantic to be left for one party. Both Africa and West must partake in the fight against corruption. The West must enact banking laws that will fish out bankers that accept laundered money and tainted wealth from corrupt African leaders and bureaucrats. Ill-gotten wealth must be returned to Africa without much ado, while the culprits must be exposed and prosecuted.
The West must work together with African governments on the war against corruption and bribery. Corporations and Transnational companies operating in Africa must not induce politicians and bureaucrats by bribes in their quest for contracts.
“African Union estimates that the continent loses as much as $148 billion a year to corruption. This money is rarely invested in Africa but finds its way into the international banking system and often into western banks. The proceeds of corrupt practices in Africa, (which the African experts group recommended in 2002 should be classified as a 'crime against humanity' because of its impact on ordinary people), are often laundered and made respectable by some of the most well known banks in the City of London or the discreet personal bankers of Geneva and Zurich."
Elimination of wars and Promotion of Peace and conflict resolutions: The West can work with African union in finding solutions to the cessation of conflicts and wars.
Wars (especially internal strife) are ubiquitous in the continent. Some African governments and warmongers commit their resources to executing endless wars. The West must frown upon the sale of arms to these parties by checkmating their natives’ arms industries.
Fair and Balance Trade: The West must encourage fair and equitable trade with Africa. The giving of aid must not be the only means to defeat poverty and alleviate quality of life in Africa.
The promotion of trade can be possible when concessions are made to infant industries in Africa. The West can improve technological developments by investing in areas of science and technology that can sharpen the technical-know-how in the continent.
The West must stand for fair trade at the World trade organization by conscientiously removing agricultural subsidies given to their own agricultural sectors that adversely affect the traffic of commodities from Africa. Only trade can be the panacea to poverty in Africa, this wills by and large booster a higher GDP and a decent standard of living.
Finally, Clinton trip is perhaps a goodwill tour that probably will not bring any substantial impact to the continent but Clinton should be commended for having Africa in her mind.