Between June 7 and 8, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari was among world leaders that attended the 41st Summit of G7 nations in Bavaria, Germany. G7 is an elite group of world’s leading advanced economies made up of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, France, Italy and Japan. President Buhari was at the Summit on invitation and though he was not the only president or head of state in Africa that was invited, the honour accorded him to attend the conference, in less than one week after he was inaugurated as Nigeria’s newest president, should be duly appreciated because it was a huge boast to Nigeria’s image and profile.
Beyond that is the fact that the 2015 Summit was of great importance to Nigeria because at least two key issues that are currently of grave concern to Nigeria were deliberated. These are the issues of terrorism and the growth of democratic governance in what the summit described as “African Partners”.
It is noteworthy that this years’ G7 Summit had an unusual number of heads of government from countries fighting insurgents in attendance. Among the several declarations made at the end of the summit was one on “Fighting Terrorism and its Financing” and on which the summit noted as follows: “In light of the foreign terrorist fighters phenomenon, the fight against terrorism and violent extremism will have to remain the priority for the whole international community …we reaffirm our commitment to defeating this terrorist group and combating the spread of its hateful ideology. We stand united with all countries and regions afflicted by the brutal terrorist acts including Iraq, Tunisia and Nigeria whose leaders participated in our discussions…”
It is good news that the group of the world’s richest and most powerful nations have restated their commitment to help affected countries in the fight against terrorism. This newspaper is however of the view that these powerful nations should handle the matter with the urgency needed. The declaration made at the summit should be followed up with actions that would send clear signals to the entire international community that they (the G7) mean business.
Boko Haram, the Nigerian version of world terrorism, has been around for upwards of five years. It is a well known fact that at a point, Nigeria looked up to the powerful nations for support to crush the insurgency with big enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, some offers were dangled before Nigeria but Nigerians themselves discovered to their utter discomfiture that not much was done by those who made the offer at the end of the day. Hallmark is of the view that at the national and regional level, Nigeria and her neighbors should redouble efforts. We note with satisfaction that President Buhari continued with the policy of regional co-operation, contrary to the initial posturing of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) before the election that brought him to power.
We commend the president for staying committed to the financial obligation of Nigeria to the regional coalition that is fighting the Boko Haram insurgency. Hallmark is of the view that much as the support of the powerful nations is necessary, Nigeria should sustain the brotherly cooperation with her neighbors in the fight on Boko Haram. We commend President Buhari for insisting that Nigeria should still be allowed to head the command structure of the regional military campaigns and we call on the neighboring countries concerned to see the wisdom in this.
On the issue of support for “Africa Partners” which the Bavarian G7 Summit also took a declarative stand on, we appreciate the fact that cognizance was taken of the democratic progress made by Nigeria, through, in the words of the summiteers, “a largely peaceful democratic transition in Nigeria”. Before the summit, there were media reports that the G7 leaders had asked Nigeria for a “wish list”. We do not know if any such list was drawn and what are its contents but we are of the view that nothing should be done to water down local initiatives for both economic and political uplifting of the country. Our leaders should also be discerning enough to ensure that it is not the usual lip service that extracts no profound empathy to the plight of economically vulnerable nations like Nigeria. For example, the G7 summit statement on the “state of the global economy” seems to paint the picture of diametrically opposed economic fortunes of the G7 nations and less fortunate ones including Nigeria, especially in the light of the current setbacks in their revenue profiles.
In its statement on the state of the global economy, the summit notes, among other things, that “the decline of energy prices has supportive effect in most G7 economies”, a statement that confirms that the economic profiles of the rich and poor, more vulnerable nations are moving in opposite directions. How to achieve a narrowing of this dialectical difference is to us a matter that also needs urgent attention and without prejudice to benevolent gestures from the rich nation to the less privileges ones, including Nigeria.