Governors of all 19 states in northern Nigeria have been by the United States Institute of peace for a three day meeting.
The meeting which holds in Washington DC next week cones at the heels of John Kerry, who southerners accused of an Islamic agenda.
The governors will be participating in the Northern Nigeria Governors’ Symposium from October 18 to 21 with civic leaders from the Senior Working Group of Nigeria and representatives of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Organized by the institute with support of U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, the upcoming Symposium is the second such event in as many years.
Speaking on Tuesday at the pre-symposium media briefing, USIP Senior Advisors and former ambassadors, Princeton Lyman and Johnnie Carson said the symposium was designed to bolster Nigeria’s commanding stature in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Describing the country as “a significant powerhouse”, whose position in Africa compares to that of India in Asia and Brazil in South America, Mr. Carson said Nigeria also became “one of the world’s premier democracies” after 2015 epic elections.
Mr. Lyman, who was U.S. ambassador to Nigeria 1986 to 1989, said Boko Haram insurgency opened “new frontiers for engagement” and opportunity to address the “disconnect between political power and development” in northern Nigeria.
Minister of the Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, and Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Fayemi will be attending the event too.
The governors and other participants will meet with officials from U.S. government, public agencies and corporate bodies.
USIP’s Senior Program Officer for Nigeria, Oge Onubogu, said the visiting Nigerian governors will also meet with Steve Hayes, chairman of the Corporate Council on Africa and Gayle Smith, USAID director, to discuss project priorities for northern Nigeria.
USIP officials are confident that the upcoming Northern Governors’ Symposium will build on the successes of the first symposium.
Ambassador Carson also said the democratic confidence is growing due as evidenced by the laudable outcome of the 2015 elections and improved governance environment with lessening of the “disconnect between northern governors and the federal government”.