James Entwistle, the outgoing United States Ambassador to Nigeria has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to fight corruption and insecurity. Entwistle revealed that the administration has done well on the economy considering what was on ground when it took off.
“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,” Mr. Entwistle said.
The Ambassador who will be leaving Nigeria after a successful career spanning over 35 years asked Nigerians to be patient with Buhari.
“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,” Mr. Entwistle said.
Speaking on the economy of Nigeria, he said: “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.
“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,” he said.
He described last year’s presidential election process, which brought President Buhari to power as the most inspirational thing he was proud to be associated with in his over 35 years career.
“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.