Nuhu Ribadu testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs about the U.S.-Nigeria relationship in a time of transition, focusing on how the United States can help Nigeria continues on a path of democracy and stability.
Good morning and thank you for this kind invitation Chairman Feingold, Ranking Member Isakson and distinguished members of the subcommittee. It is a cherished opportunity to speak to you today. Your subcommittee has shown sustained interest in Nigeria, an interest, that I must say, has not been misplaced or gone unnoticed.
The story is now widely known that last November, President Yar'Adua left the country for medical treatment, and, typical of his administrations, left no one in charge of the affairs of the state. Naturally, the situation got worse. But fortunately for our country the Nigerian Senate acted prudently this month, recognizing Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as acting president.
Upon taking office, Acting President Jonathan signaled his desire for meaningful reform by immediately removing the controversial Attorney General and Minister of Justice Michael Andoakaa, affirming his commitment to electoral reform, re-engaging the Niger Delta militants and taking steps to improve power generation and distribution.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask for America’s assistance in restoring law and order to Nigeria and want to focus my remarks on three crucial recommendations:
- Insisting on constitutional and legal continuity;
- Restarting the fight against corruption; and
- Ensuring free and fair elections in 2011.