This is a consultative visit ahead of November’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It will enable the Secretary-General to consult with the Nigerian President and senior officials on national, regional and international preoccupations. It will also allow him to be informed of Nigeria’s priorities ahead of CHOGM.
Richard Uku, Spokesperson and Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat said: “Nigeria is a founding member of the Commonwealth and plays an important leadership role in Africa. It is appropriate that the Secretary-General consult with Nigeria as preparations for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting are made.”
Mr Sharma is to be received in audience by President Goodluck Jonathan. He also looks forward to meeting with Senate President David Mark and House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal. Other expected meetings are with the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Youth Development Minister Bolaji Abdullahi and the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega.
The Secretary-General’s visit to Nigeria comes just a few days before the Commonwealth marks its annual Commonwealth Day. On 11 March, the Commonwealth will have a particularly special reason to celebrate. For the first time in the Commonwealth’s 64-year history, all Heads of Government have agreed to adopt a Commonwealth Charter. This historic document sets out the Commonwealth’s core values to which leaders have committed to uphold. It brings to fruition one of several recommendations of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, aimed at sharpening impact, strengthening networks and raising the Commonwealth's profile.
The theme for Commonwealth Day 2013 is ‘Opportunity through Enterprise’, which encourages creativity, a can-do spirit and hard work. It especially recognises unlocking the potential of young people in this endeavour.