Nigeria: End of African-Centered Foreign Policy

Posted by By at 1 October, at 15 : 47 PM Print

Nigeria: End of African-Centered Foreign Policy
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Nigeria: End of African-Centered Foreign Policy

 

(reaping the whirlwind of lack of vision)

It is difficult to understand the logic that informed Nigeria’s decision to announce the recognition of the NATO-backed rebels in Libya.

Although the leaders in Abuja said that it was taken in the interests of the country, it is very difficult to see how this ill-timed, ill-advised, wrong-headed and short-sighted decision could enhance the interests of a country that like to see itself as Africa’s Numero Uno.

Nigeria’s hasty decision looks the more foolish when the country’s main rival, South Africa, is wisely towing the position taken by the continent’s main body, the African Union.

It is sad to see the country whose past leaders toiled to build a solid Pan-African credentials reduced to a mere errant-boy of western imperialism.

Nigeria, a country that toiled over the years to build solid Non-Aligned, Africa-centric foreign policy credentials, is today the tool the imperialist use to advance their interests in Africa.

Under the enfeebled leadership of Goodluck Jonathan, a man that appears increasingly to have been promoted beyond his capabilities, Nigeria spear-headed the French designs on La Cote d’Ivoire and today, the country has firmly burnished her credential as an imperialist puppet state by extending recognition to the rebels in Libya, even when the dust of battle is yet to settle and many questions are still left unanswered.

There is no clear cut articulation of the policy thrusts of the rag-tag bands NATO organized to promote Western agenda in Libya; yet Nigeria rushed to offer recognition.

President Jonathan and his team should come out and tell Nigerians what exactly the country stands to gain by the imperial conquest of the North African nation?

The decision becomes even more incongruous because it was taken when the airwaves are saturated with reports of the killings of Nigerians and other Black Africans by the rebels who believe that every Black face is a Ghadaffi mercenary in a country where a third of the population is Black!

Are we to believe that the leaders in Abuja were sleeping when CNN and other western media showed the rebels killing and maltreating Nigerians and other black-Africans? Or is the allure of being seen as loyal imperialist poodle too great for the quislings in Abuja?

It is a very sad for Nigeria’s standing in Africa!

Many Africans have trooped to Ghadaffi-led Libya because it is the ONLY well-run country in the whole continent. Whilst most of them are in Libya to do menial jobs, many of these Africans are professionals who contributed to the smooth-running of the Libyan economy.

To these Africans it is absolute baloney to say that Ghadaffi was anything but a saint who managed the affairs of his country rather well. Many of them are from countries whose democratically elected governments are backed by the Western nations. They are living witnesses to the total mess these so-called democratic leaders have wrought on their countries. They have seen how their so-called democratic politicians colluded with western corporations to rape the resources of their countries in the interests of global capitalism.

Those from Nigeria have seen how their so-called elected officials (with their do-or-die election shenanigans) have taken corruption into mind-boggling levels with all layers of governments actively involved. Nigerians are witnesses to their 400+ members of National Assembly collaring twenty-five percent of their national budget for themselves. They were told recently by their Finance minister that fully seventy-five percent of their national earnings go into recurrent expenditure (paying salaries and running the machinery of a moribund government). They are aware of the feud by their top judges (including the Chief Justice of Nigeria) over corruption charges.

Nigerians know that theirs is a country where nothing works. They know that they live in a country where citizens are not expected to have access to steady electricity, water and decent telecommunication. They know that they live in a country where the educational infrastructure has collapsed and where reports of one hundred percent failure at examinations are common place. They know that they live in a country that cannot provide security for its citizens. They live in a country bedeviled by kidnapping and, now, the menace of Boko Haram.

Nigerians know that they live in a country where even the population remains a guess-work. They felt the insult heaped on them when their government (after fifty one years of self rule) has to ask Israel and Americans for security assistance. Nigerians know all these and they know that the problems stemmed primarily from self-seeking, visionless and utterly corrupt elite that enjoys the unalloyed support of the West. They also know that the Igbos people that wowed the world with some scientific breakthroughs during their abortive independence war of 1967-1970 still live among them. They know that a lot is possible and can be done in their country.

Many of the Africans know all these things and they know that all the mess is taking place under a western-styled democratic dispensation that enjoys the backing of the West. They also know that they live in semi-colonial country that is still firmly tied to the apron string of the West. They know that their countries are independent in name only. They know that the only thing that has changed is just the faces at the corridor of power – with black replacing white in the colonial scheme of things.

Africans see all these things and they see how many of their compatriots (the lucky ones) are voting with their feet to seek the proverbial greener in far-away land including in (if Western-media account is to be believed) mad-Ghadaffi’s Libya. The epic violence in Iraq didn’t dissuade several thousand Ugandans from braving all to serve in that war -ravaged country.

Many Africans from the so-called democratic countries are strewn across Europe doing jobs that do not even begin to challenge their education or intelligence. The cleaning crews of most major airports in Western Europe are staffed by African immigrants as though it is Africans’ lot in life to keep cleaning European mess. Many of them are drowning in Spanish and Italian waters as they desperately struggle to escape the poverty and insecurity in their democratic countries.

Those that landed in Libya had their first taste of paradise on earth. For the first time in their poverty-ravaged lives, they could live in clean and well-kept houses. They could travel in comfort buses, on well-constructed and well-maintained roads. For the first time in their lives, they live in houses with running water and enjoy uninterrupted electricity supply. For the first time in their lives they could walk the streets without fear of armed robbers or kidnappers. For many of these Africans, Ghadaffi’s Libya offered them the chance to earn a decent pay for honest toil the first time in their lives. For the first time in their lives, these Africans could live decent lives as human beings are supposed to live in this modern era.

These Africans saw in Libya what should be possible given a leader with a vision and a passionate love for his country. They saw Libyans living decent lives with enough money for leisure. They saw Libyans that are guaranteed free and quality education to whatever level. The saw Libyans paid to do post-graduate studies at the best universities abroad. They saw Libyans that are guaranteed jobs and tax-free paychecks at the end of every month. They saw newly-wedded Libyans moving into furnished apartments at state-expense.

For the first time in their lives, these Africans saw state-run social-security system at work. They saw how every Libyan is guaranteed a house and a decent income. They saw Libyans enjoying quality and free medical services. They saw in Libya where citizens enjoy free electricity and water and where citizens do not pay taxes!

These Africans see in Ghadaffi-run Libya a proud and principled people whose lives are not being run by western imperialism and its local agents. They saw in Libya a country that has zero economic refugees. They saw in Libya a country whose economic policies are not dictated by the IMF and the World Bank. They saw in Libya a country whose resources are use to build ultra-modern infrastructures including a massive aquifer project. They saw in Libya a country that refused to allow its currency to be controlled by external forces. In Libya, these Africans see an African country with absolutely no foreign debt of any description.

To these Africans, it was their first experience of a modern, well-run country. They have the right to feel affronted when western propagandists spew nonsense about the man that brought about the transformation, the miracle they witnessed in Libya.

It is almost sacrilegious. They are being told that it makes better sense to continue to elect kleptomaniac politicians who have no desire to improve the material conditions of their people. They are being affronted with the nonsense that partaking in ritualistic voting every four years to elect self-seeking politicians who are deep in cahoots with corporations to loot the common wealth is far better than living under a Ghadaffi that guaranteed decent lives for most of his people. They questioned why Westerners do not make it their business to caution or sanction the kleptomaniac leaders who have made life hellish for their people in Africa. They asked why the West does not seek UNSC resolutions against the Kenyan and Nigerian parliamentarians who voted outrageous salaries and emoluments for themselves whilst their people wallow in poverty.

In a twinkle of an eye, the Africans in Libya watched all these vamoosed before their very eyes. They saw the West re-enacted their Iraq adventure in Libya. With the connivance of the UN (again!) a band of rebels were transformed into freedom-fighters and supplied with weapons, trainers and special forces to overthrow a government that has managed to stay out of western tutelage and guaranteed the majority of its people decent lives that even westerners can only dream about.

These Africans watched helplessly as 1884-5 Berlin Conference was re-enacted before their very eyes. They watched powerlessly as Western nations started calling conferences after conferences for the dismemberment of an African nation. These Africans watched in total humiliation as the feeble protests of their African Union (?) were scornfully brushed aside by the makers and shapers of global events.

The Africans watched as the rebels, under the air cover provided by NATO marched into Tripoli and were hailed by western media as freedom fighters and liberators.

And these Africans now see the imperialists scrambling to pulverize Libya like they did the rest of Africa. They see western nations, one after the other, unfreezing illegally frozen Libyan money to pay themselves for their colonial adventure in Libya. They see shameless western politicians salivating over the juicy contracts they will award themselves in Libya.

These Africans watched weepingly as a modern African nation is flushed down the drain to appease insatiable greedy imperialists.

They then watched in horror as the rebels turned their guns on them and other Blacks, even bona-fide Libyans who happened to be blacks!

A third of the population of Libya is Black, yet the Arab-Libyans in the rebel army considered themselves the only true-blooded citizens and others as foreigners.

The Africans watched in horror and humiliation as they were stripped of their hard-earned properties, frog-marched like criminals, shot and bayoneted. They watched as their houses and properties were torched and looted. They watched feebly as their wives and children were violated with bestial impunity. They watched with contempt as African leaders cowered (many of whom Ghadaffi bankrolled over the years) before the Almighty Colonialists.

1884-2011 is one hundred and twenty seven years. Does it mean that absolutely no lesson was learned? 127 years later, Africa still cannot protect her own!

The horrors of the Africans turned into a nightmare when their home governments whom they have counted on for support and whom they have supported with their unceasing and unfailing remittances over the years abandoned them and sacrifice them to appease their western godfathers.

What manner of insanity informed the Nigerian government extending recognition to the Libyan rebels at a time the AU (of which the country is supposed to be a leading member) was still debating the issue? What moved (still) Goodluck Jonathan to recognize a rebel government when the President of the African Union was condemning the atrocious killing and maltreatment of Black Africans in Libya?

It is said that a nation’s foreign policy is a reflection of its domestic policy. How apt!

Mr Jonathan in his almost three years as president has not demonstrated that he has the interests of Nigerians at heart. It is the same mindset that made him incapable of empathizing with the people he rule that informed his major foreign policy faux pas in recognizing a rebel band that was massacring his compatriots.

The great tragedy here is that Nigeria has always had a robust Africacentric foreign policy anchored firmly in the promotion of African interests. The size of their country has always given Nigerians the illusion of grandeur as they consider their country a continent-power.

To be fair, this has been well-earned when the country threw all her weight and resources behind the liberation struggles in Southern Africa. So much was the country respected in those days that it was made a member of the frontline countries even when it was geographically far away from the theatre.

Nigeria was also instrumental in thwarting the imperialists and apartheid South Africa designs on Angola. It was with joy that Nigerians greeted their then leader, General Murtala Mohammed, message telling American President Ford to mind his own business over the Angolan issue. It was also with great pride that they watched their country played a pivotal role in thwarting British ambitions over Zimbabwe – including the nationalization of British Petroleum in Nigeria.

The lame excuse by Mr. Jonathan that he took the decision to extend recognition to the Libyan rebels in the interests of the nation cannot hold water and will make sense only to those that are totally bereft of thinking capacity.

Aside from the brutal murdering of Nigerians and other Black Africans, Mr. Jonathan erred majorly in his short-sighted diplomatic mistake.

Nigeria has ambition to cling the proposed African seat on an expanded United Nation Security Council. Although it might enjoy the backing of its western sponsors, Nigeria’s dream can only be realized with the support of the majority countries of the African Union. Mr. Jonathan should tell his compatriot how he intend to carry the African votes when he broke so royally and so publicly with the AU over a major issue.

Whatever their shortcomings at home, most Nigeria believe firmly in Pan-Africanism and they believe that their country should play a leading role in the emancipation of the Black Race.

It must be galling to these Nigerians as they watch their President extending his inept domestic rule to the sphere of foreign affairs.

PS: This piece is republished in memory of the students Yobe State College of Agriculture killed by Boko Haram.

It is sad that Africans use foreign religions and ideas and ideologies to devastate their own societies.

How could anyone slaughter human beings and shout that his god is ‘great!’

Which god is so feeble and so powerless that it would require mindless idiots to defend it?

Why would a powerful god watch as miscreants use its name to cause mayhem?

Now that Libyan arms are being used to kill Nigerians, maybe Mr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan should tell Nigerians what exactly informed his decision to support the invasion of Libya.

At least, the imperialists got lucrative oil and other contracts for their endeavor.

Mr. President, where is the thirty pieces of silver Nigeria got in return for her betrayal?

Tchaah!

 

About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are now available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

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Africa: It shall be well: https://goo.gl/KIMcIm

 

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