Ten governors from Northern states in Nigeria were yesterday hosted at the White House, America’s seat of power, in Washington DC, during which they held a closed-door meeting with President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser, Ambassador Susan Rice.
The governors, led by Borno State Governor and Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, also held a closed door meeting with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, at the State Department also in Washington. The governors also a held meeting with Gayle Smith, the administrator of the multi million dollars United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The meeting was held at the Ronald Reagan building, headquarters of humanitarian and development agency in Washington.
The three meetings focused on deepening collaboration on conflicts elimination, prevention, humanitarian aide and partnerships on the solving development factors responsible for recurring ethno-religious violence in northern Nigeria.
The symposium is being attended by Governors Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Mathew Dalong (Plateau), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), AbdulAziz Yari (Zamfara), Bindo Jibrilla (Adamawa) and Muhammad Abdullahi Abubakar (Bauchi).
Others are: Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger, Kashim Shettima (Borno), Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto) and Deputy Governor of Kano State, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, who is representing Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State
Meanwhile, the governors on Tuesday, began a three-day symposium organised by the US Institute of Peace which is an agency established and funded by the US government with headquarters in Washington DC.
The symposium which focuses on addressing conflicts and under-development in Northern Nigeria is a follow up on an earlier one hosted in March, 2014 under the Goodluck Jonathan administration when the US invited Northern Governors for a security symposium which dwelt on finding solutions to the Boko Haram insurgency and it’s spread from the northeast to other parts of Northern Nigeria.
Scheduled to end today, the symposium has had different panels of discussant including top US government officials, the governors, development experts from Nigeria and the US who worked together to identify areas of expanding collaboration to improve the “pervasive poverty, acute girl-child education, maternal and infant mortality” amongst other key under-development elements more prevalent in Northern Nigeria in comparison with the rest of the country.
Speaking through Shettima, the Northern governors had on the first day of the symposium demanded practical benefits of their invitation, noting that travelling to Washington at a time of recession was a tough choice they made with high expectations.