US trip: Govs, Amaechi, Bakare may make President’s team

The final decision on those who will make the delegation of President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States and other logistics on the impending trip will be taken on Tuesday, The PUNCH has learnt.

Buhari is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama on July 20 at the White House.

The parley is expected to feature Nigeria’s current fight against the Boko Haram sect among other issues.

There are reports that Buhari will be accompanied by five state governors, including Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State; Rochas Okorocha, Imo State; Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State; and two others when he meets Obama in Washington, DC on July 20, 2015.

Lagos pastor, Tunde Bakare, and former member of the House of Representatives, Farouk Adamu, were also said to have been pencilled in as part of the delegation to US.

But the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, told our correspondent on Sunday that preparations for the trip were still ongoing.

Adesina said final decision on the size of the delegation and its nature would be taken on Tuesday at a meeting of those saddled with the responsibility of organising a hitch-free trip for the President and his entourage.

He said, “The programme for the US trip will be unfolded on Tuesday. Whatever is written now is still speculative.

“When the programme is unfolded on Tuesday, I am sure the number of people on the President’s entourage will also be known.

“Tuesday is the final planning meeting for the journey.”

The President is usually accompanied by government officials, including state governors, who by virtue of their status have something to do with issues to be discussed during such foreign trips.

The White House had earlier issued a statement, saying Obama would discuss “a holistic approach to combating Boko Haram” with Buhari during the meeting.

The statement added that advancing economic and political reforms in Nigeria would also be discussed between senior government advisers from both countries during the visit.

Buhari had on Wednesday met with the US Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. Anthony J. Blinken, inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja and expressed the hope that his forthcoming meeting with Obama would further strengthen bilateral ties between Nigeria and the US.


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