Friday, September 16, 2011

Nigeria: end of African-centred foreign policy?

It is difficult to understand the logic that informed Nigeria's decision to announce their 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 shortsighted decision could enhance the interests of a country that likes to see itself as Africa's Numero Uno. Nigeria's hasty decision looks all 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 have toiled to build solid Pan-African credentials reduced to a mere errand-boy of Western imperialism. A country that has worked tirelessly over the years to build solid Non-Aligned, Africa-centric foreign policy credentials, is today the tool the imperialists use to advance their interests in Africa. Nigeria spearheaded the French designs on La Côte d'Ivoire and today, the country has firmly burnished her credential as an imperialist puppet state by extending recognition to the rebels in Libya.

The decision becomes 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?

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 that 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.

Those from Nigeria have seen how the so-called elected officials have taken corruption to mind-boggling levels with all layers of governments actively involved. Nigerians are witnesses to their 400-member National Assembly collaring twenty-five percent of their national budget for themselves. They are fully aware that seventy-five percent of their national earnings goes into recurrent expenditure (paying salaries and running the machinery of a moribund government). They are aware of the feud by their top judges over corruption charges.

Nigerians know that theirs is a country where virtually nothing works. They know that they live in a country where citizens are not expected to have access to steady electricity, water, and 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 commonplace. 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.

Many 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 know these things and they also know that they live in semi-colonial countries that are still firmly tied to the apron string of the West. They knew that their countries are independent in name only. They knew 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 pasture in far-away lands including in (if the Western-media account is to be believed) mad-Ghadaffi's Libya. Many Ugandans are braving all to serve in war-ravaged Iraq.

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 Europeans' 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, they could live in clean and well-kept houses. They could travel 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 for the first time in their lives. For the first time in their lives, these Africans could live decent lives as human beings and are supposed to live in this modern era.


Wise saying:

" Never use both feet to test the depth of the sea." - African proverb