President-elect Bola Tinubu went down memory lane in recalling how he was granted political asylum in the United States during the regime of General Sani Abacha in 1995.
The former head of state had clamped down on human rights activists, lawyers, doctors, journalists and some groups.
The President-elect was at the time a member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), a group that gave the Abacha regime a tough time.
Tinubu had fled the country as a result of the pressure from Abacha.
US Secretary of State phones Tinubu, seeks stronger tie with Nigeria
Speaking during a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, Tinubu recalled how America sheltered him in the troubled days.
Tunde Rahman, spokesman of the President-elect, disclosed this in a statement.
“During the talks that lasted about 20 minutes, President-elect Tinubu spoke about his long and eventful sojourn in America, recalling how he was granted asylum by the US when, due to his determined struggle for democracy in Nigeria, he was forced into exile by the late General Sani Abacha’s military junta,” Rahman said.
He quoted the President-elect saying that among his immediate priorities would be to deliver institutional reforms and development programs to deepen the country’s democratic institutions and bring help to poor and vulnerable Nigerians.
Responding to Secretary Blinken, the President-elect said without national unity, security, economic development and good governance, Nigeria would not become a better place to live in or play her proper role in the comity of African nations.
“He urged the US to factor in Nigeria’s important place in Africa and provide needed assistance in the areas of security and economic investment in order for the nation to lead the way and be a shining example to the rest of the continent.
“Secretary Blinken assured that Nigeria should expect a good and mutually-beneficial relationship with the US,” the statement read in part.
Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor, is expected to be sworn-in as the 16th President of the country on May 29, 2023.