Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari and the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 election, Mr. Peter Obi, wednesday congratulated the new British Prime Minister, Mr. Boris Johnson.
On his part, President Buhari stated that Nigeria looks forward to continued relationship with Britain under his watch.
He also felicitated with predecessor, Mrs. Theresa May, whom he said provided visionary leadership for the country.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said the president sent a goodwill message to Johnson.
According to him, the president in his goodwill message, said, “In Nigeria, we respect the choice of British people and we are ready to work with the new Prime Minister to improve our close relations.
“Britain has been one of Nigeria’s most reliable allies, especially in supporting the efforts of this administration to improve security and stamp out corruption and graft.
“As Johnson steps into Mrs. May’s shoes, we look forward to continuation of the good relationships that bind us together for many years.’’
The statement also quoted the president as saying, “we value this relationship so deeply that, regardless of who is in charge, this relationship should survive the political changes in the UK.’’
It added that Buhari praised the British democratic model, describing it as one of the most successful systems in the world, which has survived time.
On his part, Obi expressed happiness over the emergence of Johnson as the leader of the Conservative Party in Britain, saying it was a happy climax to what appeared to be a major leadership issue, with the lesson that contestants should maturely sort out their problems without degenerating into something unpleasant.
Obi said this yesterday while speaking with journalists at the local wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.
Describing Boris as “Afrocentric,” Obi said he had followed his activities as a Mayor of London and was impressed by his pragmatism, his love for justice and his interest in Africa and African affairs.
Obi added that he demonstrated these qualities by the briefness of his speech and the speed with which he had chosen his team.
He expressed optimism that with his emergence, the contentious issues surrounding “Brexit”, would be given the required attention.
Obi also expressed his optimism that more attention would be given to issues affecting Africa. “At occasions when I have had to raise the question about Africa, especially Nigeria, Mr. Johnson had responded with empathy, though with a tinge of cautious optimism borne out of our inability to get our politics right in many African countries. I wish he would treat us with understanding.”