President Donald Trump of United States described President Muhammadu Buhari as “a valued partner and strong democrat,” during the recent meeting between the two leaders in Washington, the senior special assistant on media and publicity to the Nigerian president, Malam Garba Shehu said in an article he wrote about the presidential visit on Thursday.
According to him, Trump also described his boss as a rare leader that had successfully cut down corruption in the country.
The presidential aide said the Nigerian president got everything he wanted from the US government form his American counterpart during the visit, contrary to expectations of those he described as opponents of his government, in the essay he titled, “Takeaways from the Auspicious Meeting between Presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Donald Trump.”
Garba said, “This note is written by one who is mindful of the fact that there are Nigerians, I mean the opponents of this administration, who have prayed and prayed very hard that our President in the course of his historic visit to the White House on Monday, April 30, 2018, would stumble badly or come back with nothing.
“President Buhari, to the disappointment of this group, delivered a calm, brilliant performance. He refused to be provoked and did not get angry at the taunting. He instead turned his attention to the task at hand and at the end, came home satisfied that he got everything he wanted from the U.S government. The Rose Garden worked out very much for him as a routine engagement, certainly not like the make-or-break meeting as some wanted it to be.
“It is also important that records be set straight to counter the mischief of opponents, some of whom have started rendering false narratives of a meeting to which they were neither invited nor in any way aware of its details.
“The meeting of the two leaders happened in three phases. First, the one-on-one in which only the two of them were present. Then, they had a working lunch, each leader accompanied by 10 top officials. President Buhari had with him the Governors of Ogun and Plateau; the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Industry, Trade and Investment; the Chairpersons of Senate and House of Representatives committees on international relations; the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, (NIA), the Chief of Defence Staff and Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States.
“The U.S President had more-or-less the same representation, except that the Secretary of State who just got cleared for the job by the Senate hadn’t assumed so he was represented by the Deputy Secretary of State.
“President Trump also brought with him the Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which I must emphasize, is significant to Nigeria given the fact that the U.S. remains the largest contributor to the ongoing effort to reconstruct the North East and resettle its millions of displaced persons.
“The third engagement involving the two leaders was the joint press conference by the leaders, aired live by some major TV networks across the world.
“First of all, it is important to state that from the very beginning, the two leaders got on very well with one another. They also shared a common respect for each other. Some key remarks made by President Trump on our President sum this up. He said President Buhari ‘is a rare leader,’ he said ‘I respect him a lot’ and said our leader had ‘succeeded in cutting down corruption.’ He called President Buhari a ‘valued partner’ and a ‘strong democrat.’
“The two parties had agreed before the meeting that discussions will be on three key issues namely Security/Counter-Terrorism, Trade, and Development of Democracy in Nigeria.
“On security, the Nigerian delegation was pleased from the onset that the Trump administration had agreed to the major sale of military equipment to Nigeria. Team Nigeria was equally pleased with the much-increased role of the U.S in assisting the efforts to defeat terrorism in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region in general.
“The President expressed appreciation for these and requested additional support to counterinsurgency.
“On the specific issue of the sale of the 12 Super Tucano A-29 warplanes and weapons to Nigeria to effectively fight terrorism, President Buhari told his American counterpart that we are pleased with this, but want delivery to be fast-tracked, given the security situation in the country.”