President Muhammadu Buhari will be the first Nigerian president ever to stay in the house which is the US President’s official guest house. He will be hosted for three days, instead of two days, by Obama. Reports from Washington DC the US capital say Obama will break tradition (such tradition broken before for Britain’s Sir Winston Churchill and very important state guests of the U.S. ) for Buhari – the first African (or black) leader or president to be hosted in the historic Blair House by a US President.
President Buhari, who left for the US this morning, will be staying at the Blair House, this is in clear departure from the American government’s attitude to visiting Heads of State, particularly African leaders.
Reports emerged that this impending gesture is a demonstration of US President Barrack Obama’s admiration of President Muhammadu Buhari and to support the Nigerian leader’s acclaimed frugal lifestyle and disdain for ostentatious lifestyle.
The decision to host President Buhari in the official Guest House of the United States President will not only cut down the cost of the trip on both sides of the Atlantic (other Nigerian leaders and presidents stayed in 5-star hotels) but also allow time for informal discussions by both leaders. Blair House is opposite the White House.
Buhari is rumored to have pegged his official entourage to not more than 30 officials, a clear departure from former President Goodluck Jonathan who was once reported to have embarked on a two-day trip with a team of more than 100 officials.
It was also learnt that although the Nigerian advance team (protocol unit) had planned the trip to be for two days, the US government offered to accommodate the visitors for three days.
Blair House is the official state guest house for the President of the United States. It is located at 1651–1653 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., opposite the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, off the corner of Lafayette Park.
Blair House is primarily used to house foreign heads of state visiting the president (when foreign leaders stay there, the house flies their flag).