The 2011 elections in Nigeria, scheduled for January 22, pose a threat to the stability of the United States’ most important partner in West Africa. The end of a power-sharing arrangement between the Muslim North and the Christian South, as now seems likely, could lead to postelection sectarian violence, paralysis of the executive branch, and even a coup.
A Poor Joke
Having read with consternation the impunity and condescending Op-ed of Ambassador John Campbell regarding Nigeria; One is compelled to make a joke of his uninformed prophesy; that in the panic delusion that often leads to the harassment of innocent aliens in America every year on and around the anniversary of 9/11, John Campbell felt obligated to take pot-shots at all Nigerians as a group to appease the islamists they so fear.
That Nigeria as a nation is partner to predatory multi-national corporations with Head-quarters in the US is a fact we can here stipulate. That these US corporations have had lopsided agreements greased by bribery and corruption of Nigerian government officials (line-item listed as cost of business) against US laws and practices elsewhere, is also a known fact. Halliburton, a US Corporation, under CEO Dick Cheney who went on to be arguably the most powerful Vice President in US history, was indicted for bribery in Nigeria by a court of law. So Nigeria has indeed been the United States’ most important Oil and Gas partner in West Africa.
We can also stipulate that strategic US interest is to develop the Gulf of Guinea to replace the turbulence in regard to Middle-East oil. Nigeria has been good to the US. From the time of the formation of OPEC, every time the US has called upon Nigeria, Nigeria has always delivered. What has the US, as a partner, given in exchange to Nigeria as a nation? As a nation, we have always encouraged our leaders to partner with the US and other persons of goodwill to address regional security issues such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Darfur and Somalia even during military regimes. Nigeria has formally spent lives, materials and money for peace- keeping efforts within the sub-region; informally, through its corrupt leaders, broken every law to do the bidding of US Oil and Gas Corporations. All you need do to confirm this assertion is to check the facts of the persons who have always been in charge of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the signatories to all the lopsided international legal agreements with US Corporations; and check the list of those alleged to have been bribed by Halliburton (The thieving Elites) to know who really are the corrupt Nigerian Partners of the USA.
Nigeria, not being a vassal state of the US, one wonders why the Ambassador would even raise the issue of the leverage of the Obama administration over the conduct or outcome of the elections in Nigeria. In 2000, Nigerians both at home and abroad watched with interest all that was wrought to bring in an underachieving, controversial and undeserving President to rule the most powerful nation on earth whose misrule the world still reels from without interference or policy blackmail from the Nigerian people. To project that the 2011 Nigerian elections may lead to chaos and subsequently to a coup is a disingenuous auto-suggestion or scare-mongering reminiscent of the George W. Bush days in America where every dissenter is a potential terrorist! The US elections of 2000 was indeterminate, it did not lead to chaos or a coup d’etat, why should that of Nigeria lead to a coup?
Nigerian Constitutional Government
In regard to the current President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, ambassador John Campbell wrote:
‘The result was a power vacuum until February 2010, when the National Assembly extralegally designated Jonathan the “acting president” by resolution, even though there is no constitutional provision for doing so. In April, Acting President Jonathan attended the nuclear safety summit in Washington, where U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden warmly embraced him, not least because his designation forestalled a possible military coup. In May 2010, the first act of Nigeria’s political tragedy ended when Yar’Adua died and Jonathan became the constitutional president.’
The issues that led to the constitutional standoff in Nigeria were dealt with according to Nigerian law and constitution. Illegal or extra-legal matters were litigated and settled by the Nigerian courts. Not being a Nigerian lawyer, one wonders where the good ambassador got the authority to label the consensus work of the Nigerian National Assembly extra-legal. If the consensus of the NASS was extra-legal in making the then Vice President ‘Acting President’, no Nigerian court has so determined so it remains valid since the NASS need not apply to the opinion of foreigners for validity legitimacy or legality.
If the American constitution has no doctrine of necessity, as a common law country, they can learn from the Nigerian persuasive authority that equity regards that as done which ought to be done, and in the exigent circumstances, for the continuity, security and exigency of the moment, the Nigerian National Assembly defeated the cabal holding down progress in Aso-Rock to make Goodluck Jonathan the ‘Acting President’, and God stamped his approval with death; Yes Nigerians believe in God. Question remains; If ‘President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden warmly embraced him, not least because his designation forestalled a possible military coup’ Is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria still an ‘Acting President’? If those facts have been overtaken by events, why re-state same? What has changed? Could it be because Goodluck Jonathan removed all the incompetent corrupt personnel of the NNPC? Would that be why a coup is contemplated as an alternative to the non-election of a ‘northern elite’ president by the ambassador?
The Case for True Democracy
The aspiration of the Nigerian peoples is to be ruled by persons who represent them freely chosen in a free and fair election. In this aspiration, as other persons all over the world, they desire persons of education, of vision of erudition. In this modern world, Nigeria also desires persons who would be accountable to them, who would reflect their wishes, persons who can challenge them to aspire to excel. This, Nigerians hope to achieve through elections after examining the contenders not through an elite of has-been dictators and known looters of the treasury such as mentioned by Ambassador Campbell. Nigeria is looking toward a younger educated world savvy leadership. Not Babangida, not Gusau or Atiku or even Buhari.
The ambassador further wrote:
“Many in the North believe it is still their turn for the presidency, but the northern power brokers do not agree on who should be their presidential candidate. Several northern politicians, including Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammadu Buhari, both former military dictators, are running for the presidency. Other potential candidates are Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, the national security adviser under Obasanjo and Jonathan, and several northern governors. Nigerian democrats are advocating the candidacies of Nasir El-Rufai, the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, and Nuhu Ribadu, formerly the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the anticorruption agency. Both are seen as having the potential to restore public faith in the political system. But so long as the current elites remain the country’s political power brokers, candidates operating outside the PDP will be long shots at best.”
The north, as well as the middle-belt, is not unaware of the manipulation of the militaristic ex-dictators who sitting in their hilltop mansions are visited by American diplomats and called ‘stakeholders’ and consulted to determine how to further strangulate the political space. Being law-abiding, one is sure the U
S will not call any breakers of the US constitution ‘stake-holders’ or ‘political elite’ and the good ambassador in line with US policy to enthrone true democratic values worldwide is advised to quit referring to or treating Nigerian military dictators as political elite or stakeholders or elder statesmen, because they would not be political elite under US or Nigerian law.
Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians within and in the Diaspora; currently, the young are ready to thwart the selfish ambitions of the so-called spent elite who have destroyed the economy and lives of Nigerians. Such is also their democratic right. They show it by writings on these so-called stake-holders’ facebook pages, by demonstrating at their campaign events, by comments on any article that seemingly support such ‘stakeholders’ or elite. The people of Nigeria know their enemies. The people of Nigeria hope and pray that the Obama Administration and other policy makers are on the side of the people of Nigeria, not some dubious nebulous crooked elite ‘stakeholders’.
Let Nigerians Decide
In political contests, alignments are made, concessions are given, elections are won as well as lost. To blackmail the rest of Nigeria that because of some threat to violence or even division or instability on account of some unknown zoning arrangement as a result of Babangida’s miscalculation regarding election victory/defeat is a lame attempt at blackmail to beat Nigerians to elect a ‘northern elite’. Who gave them the right to negotiate or enter into unwritten agreements on our behalf? What if the voting masses are tired of the thieving northern ‘elite’ and would rather vote in ‘another’ or any other who is more disposed to do justice to all? One needs mention that the suffering peoples of the middle-belt and south-south although a longsuffering group are watching with interest to see if the islamist appeasement policy would play a role in this unfolding political scenario.
If President Goodluck Jonathan is the popular candidate for now, we must respect that. He does not need be an Obasanjo to win elections on his own. Ibrahim Babangida was the resident northern dictator with all incumbency powers backed by military troops when he was chased out of power by the will of the people! There is a lesson in that. Curiously, one notes that no mention of what the generality of the Nigerian peoples think, want or are writing, or saying, only some sanctified ‘northern elite’ as if Nigeria belongs to them. There is also a lesson in that. If any muslim from the north is voted in as President, it will not be because he is muslim or from the north; it will be because more Nigerians trust him and voted him in just like they did Abiola and Kingibe. Nigeria is not on the brink. The ambitions of the selfish elite is on the brink! You can say I say so.