Ties between Atlanta and Nigeria should be revitalized by
the visit here last week of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo who will be the first
democratically elected president of Nigeria in 16 years when he assumes office
next month, according to Augustine O. Esogbue, a professor at Georgia Tech’s
School of Industrial and Systems Engineering.
Dr. Esogbue told GlobalFax in a telephone interview that
Gen. Obasanjo’s meetings with city and business leaders here were upbeat and
that the president-elect underscored provisions his government would take to
safeguard foreign investment in his country.
The possibility of a direct flight between Lagos,
Nigeria’s commercial capital, and Atlanta was seriously discussed, he added.
He also said that he expects a delegation of Atlanta officials and
businesspeople will attend Gen. Obasanjo’s inauguration.
In addition, he said that the Nigerian government’s
decision to open a consulate general in Atlanta for the Southeast would further
enhance positive relations.Â K.O. Olisemeka, the Nigerian consul general has
been operating out of temporary quarters, but a permanent facility is to be
opened in the near future.
According to Dr. Esogbue, the Sister City relationship
between Atlanta and Lagos, and the activities of the American-Nigerian
International Chamber of Commerce here both were negatively affected by the
regime of the late dictator Gen. Sani Abacha.
As the founding chairman of the Atlanta-Lagos Sister City
Committee and the chairman of the board of the chamber, however, he added that
he is confident that they would experience a rekindled enthusiasm as Nigeria
“gets its act together.”
For more information, Dr. Esogbue may be reached by
calling (404) 894-2323; fax, (404) 894-2301.