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The Wall Street Journal’s Africa Bureau Chief, joe Parkinson has revealed why Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari was one of the first African leaders to congratulate Biden.
Mr Parkinson said; “Nigeria’s president was one of the first African leaders to congratulate Biden but privately, some of his key advisors were hoping for a Trump victory and are worried. The reasons are quite simple and are linked — human rights, the #EndSARS protests, and weapon sales.
This photo was taken in Washington in 2015 when Buhari was toast of the town—the old General’s “new broom” would sweep away corruption and (far more important to the US) beat back Boko Haram. It was Biden who actually greeted Buhari at the White House that day before he met Obama.
In those meetings, Obama promised the Nigerians a bunch of fresh military aid to fight the war & find the Chibok girls (some was made public, much of it not). BUT the US stopped short of giving the Nigerians what they really wanted—attack aircraft—because of human rights concerns
It was the Trump administration—considerably less bothered by human rights issues—who agreed to sell Super Tucanos for $600m and later, attack helicopters, that Nigeria has long hoped would be the game-changer in the fight against Boko Haram.
That sale—while mostly paid for—is not yet complete. Ironically, senior State Department officials were staying at the Abuja Hilton in October to finalise the details while #EndSARS protesters were on the streets in Nigerian cities. And therein lies the problem for Buhari.
The Biden campaign released a statement two days before the Trump administration after the military crackdown at Lekki toll gate. It went much further, saying “The US must stand with Nigerians who are peacefully demonstrating.”
The heady days of 2015 when Buhari was seen by Obama & Biden as the man who would fight a quick and victorious war against Boko Haram are long gone. The war has metastasised. Northeast Nigeria has become the base of one of Islamic State’s most successful regional franchises—ISWAP
So… President Biden may be much less welcoming to Buhari; much more sceptical about selling weapons to Nigeria’s military and much more forthright in criticising any crackdown on protests. That’s why, despite the tweets, some at the top of the Buhari administration are nervous.”