US ambassador speaks on Buhari, his experience in Nigeria

The U.S. ambassador to Nigeria has commented on the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration

James Entwistle has praised the president’s success in fight against corruption and insecurity as well as overcoming economic problems

“It is good that the expectations from Mr. President are very high. But, I think people should remember what he inherited. “

James Entwistle, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, has shared his thoughts on the situation in the country, expectations of Nigerians, the president’s wise approach to economic problems, fight against corruption and insecurity during a meeting with journalists on Friday.

Buhari and Obama’s resemblance

Mr Entwistle said: “I see a parallel between President Buhari and President Obama. President Obama had not been in office very long before the people had the same kind of impatience.

A lot of people forgot what difficult situation President Obama inherited. I think the same thing is happening to President Buhari.

It is completely understandable for the people to have high expectations. They are impatient, because they want to see change. But, the president inherited very difficult circumstances.

Some of the things he identified that needed to be done, like ending corruption, reforms in the petroleum sector, ending of the conflict in the North East, are things that even when you work as hard as you can, they are going to take some time to yield the kind of result you expect.

People should be patient. It is good that the expectations from Mr. President are very high.

But, I think people should remember what he inherited. And in my opinion, I try to be neutral and balanced, I think Mr. President and his team have done a good job in this first year.”

On Nigerian economy

The diplomat stressed that Nigeria is not the only country affected by the sliding oil prices and nowadays there are no country that could be named an “economic island”.

He also commended President Buhari’s economic team, particularly for their resolute steps in exchange rate and removal of fuel subsidy.

On anti-corruption war

The ambassador has expressed his respect to President Buhari, who has abbiden by his campaign promise to make fight against corruption the focus of his administration.

“He has done exactly what he said he would do. It’s clear that he has unleashed the investigative agencies to follow every evidence and information wherever it goes.

I have been following the investigations of those arrested to see whether there is any evidence that they are politically motivated, I have not found any.”

On America’s support to Nigeria According to Mr Entwistle, apart from military training and equipment assistance, the U.S government provided about $700 million this year to deal with the humanitarian crisis in the north-eastern part of the country.

Earlier he has pledged his country’s commitment to Nigeria in its war against corruption, terrorism, militants and other issues of national importance.

On his marvelous experience in Nigeria

“I have been warmly received in every corner of this country.I have no unpleasant experience in Nigeria. I will leave here having enjoyed every minute of my time as U.S. Ambassador.

I will leave here with a great sense of satisfaction, because I believe the relationships between our two countries are in very good shape at the moment. Nigeria and U.S. have a partnership of two great democracies working together to make the world a better place.

The way the Nigerian people made clear that this time they wanted their votes to count and would accept nothing less. I felt very proud. That’s something I will carry in my heart for ever. It’s up to Nigerians to ensure that 2019 is even better,” he said.

James Entwistle has worked 35 and a half years at the U.S. Foreign Service and will leave his post of the ambassador to Nigeria by the end of this month.

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