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Rosalind Helderman

Looking for Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) this week? You might want to hop a plane to Nigeria, where the executive is currently conducting a nine-day trade mission. The trip included a celebration of the 47th anniversary of Nigeria's independence on Monday and a planned address to the nation's Congress on Wednesday night.

"We're going to build a first class economy in Prince George's county," he said in an interview, explaining the trip just before he left. "Our economy pays for everything we're doing in this county."

The trip is Johnson's third to Africa since becoming executive. On previous trips, he has also visited Senegal and the Gambia. This time around he was accompanied by two county aides and seven county residents of Nigerian descent, said county spokeswoman Denise Roberts.

Prince George's is home to one of the region's largest population of African immigrants and Johnson has long sought ties with the community.

The delegation included internist George Ego-Osuala, Alexander Nnabue, an eye doctor, and Remi Duyile, the CEO of a mortguage company in Hyattsville. According to campaign finance reports, Ego-Osuala is a Johnson supporter and hosted a fundraiser for his reelection effort on Aug. 15, 2006 that raised more thn $31,000 for Johnson's campaign.

Others on the trip were Isiaka Ajisekala, Franklin Akinokye, Engk Simon Evegbunam and Philip Jjowusi.

According to County Spokesman James Keary, the county paid about $7,400 for airfare for Johnson, chief of staff Michael D. Herman, Director of the Office of Community Relations Chris Osuji and police Cpl. Harry Walker, who served as security for Johnson during the trip. Johnson sat in business class, the others in coach, Keary said. He estimated the trip, in total, will cost the cost about $15,000. The business people paid their own way.

Johnson's travel habits came under fire after it was revealed last year that he used his county credit card to buy a business class ticket for the Senegal trip. It is not unusual for top political leaders to travel overseas to promote economic development or attend conferences. Keary said traveling business class allowed Johnson to get work done on the long flight. "You're meeting with government officials and business people. You have to be on your game," Keary said.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  October 3, 2007; 6:31 AM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Take a look at this week's Forbes. There is an interestng article on Addax Petroleum which has large holdings offshore Nigeria. They say "Nigeria has not in the past been particularly good at enforcing rules on oil companies." Jack Johnson needs to partner up with Addax and others and get some inexpensive oil futures for P.G. I'd be glad to share in the profits.

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin Realty | October 3, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Also take a lok at the editorial in Forbes. "in Maryland greedy pols are ready to raise the sales tax 20% and to boost the levy on business profits--a great way to clobber both consumers and job-creating enterprises." All ths under the Headline, "Too Bad We Can't Tax Economic Idiocy." Looks like they are calling O'Malley an economic idiot to me.

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin Realty | October 3, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Jack Johnson is really heading to Nigeria to pick up the funds that some widow promised him in an e-mail?

The way he runs Prince George's County, I just can't rule out the possibility.

Posted by: Rufus | October 3, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Rufus? The Rufus from the Fix comments? You're a Marylander?

Has anyone else noticed that Jack Johnson sounds exactly like the ladies man, the Tim Meadows character from SNL? It makes me desperately want Jack Johnson to say "Courvoisier." Just once. Just once and I'm happy.

Posted by: JasonL | October 3, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

If there is an expert on idiots, Robin Ficker should know when to call the kettle black.

Posted by: Fickered-Out | October 3, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Jack spends more official time on the continent of Africa than here in Prince George's County. Consider that he is traveling with an crowd of advisers, assistants and security. Thank goodness for TRIM and term limits. Enough of this fool is enough.

Posted by: Full of Jack | October 3, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it was a one-way ticket.

Posted by: PG'er | October 4, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"The Rufus from the Fix comments?"

Probably not. I think I've posted there once or twice and that would have been some months ago.

Posted by: Rufus | October 4, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

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Chirac hits at 'gangsters of sea'

Posted by: Kurt Le | October 20, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

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