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President to attend Buhari's inauguration

By Asser Ntinda
President Hage Geingob is in Nigeria to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Nigeria's President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.

The President left yesterday for Abuja, accompanied by First Lady Monica Geingos, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah. During the visit, President Geingob is expected to hold side talks with other Heads of State and Government who would also be in Abuja for the inauguration.

Nigeria is one of the African countries which gave material, diplomatic and political support to the Namibian people during the liberation struggle under the leadership of SWAPO. At the peak of the struggle in the 1980s, Nigeria took an active role in calling for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 435, directly joining the Frontline States in this drive.

"We value that support," said a senior Foreign Affairs official who was part of SWAPO Department of Foreign Affairs during the struggle. "Nigeria gave us millions of US dollars to carry the struggle forward.

"Many exiled Namibians also got their education in Nigeria. At the UN, Nigeria stood by us all the way through, while some countries were just dilly-dallying, secretly dining and wining with the apartheid regime of South Africa.

"Few countries in Africa did that. Whenever we talked about the Frontline States - Angola, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique and Zimbabwe - we will always add Nigeria, the Frontline States and Nigeria was the language. "That was the language designed to underscore the significant support we received from that country. It is therefore fitting that President Geingob attends in person. It goes a long way in saying "Thank You Nigeria."

Nigeria was also among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Namibia shortly after independence. Since then, many agreements between the two countries have been signed in areas such as mining, mineral processing, tourism, health, supply of specialized volunteers, culture and education. Last year, the two countries signed an agreement which allowed Namibian foreign affairs officials to be trained at the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Service Academy. In January this year, government received 19 Nigerian volunteer teachers in mathematics, physical science, biology and agriculture. These volunteers have been deployed in Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Kavango, Hardap and Otjozondjupa regions.

As trade relations between the two countries expand, new investment opportunities are also emerging. The two countries are now looking at expanding business investments, filming industry, agriculture and information and communication technology. General Buhari's All People's Progressive Congress, APC, won with 15, 4 million against 13 million for outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan's People's Democratic Party, PDP, in the Presidential and Parliamentary elections last month.

"When President-elect Buhari takes office (today), it will be the first time in Nigeria's history for an incumbent elected President to peacefully transfer power to an elected leader of the opposition," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a media release on Thursday.


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Windhoek, Katutura