That Senatorial Clowning

by Peter Claver Oparah

In a matter of days, we would know whether the Nigerian senate has internationalized its well-known clowning instincts. In a few days, we would know if the United States government will bow to the moratorium by the senate for it to de-list Nigeria as a terrorist nation or whether the senate will swallow the humble pie in a contest it is not fit and trim to provoke. If the US government hearkens to the warning of the Nigerian senate to remove the name of Nigeria from its terrorist nations list, then the Nigerian senate would have succeeded to keep its penchant for buffoonery well protected within our local space. But then, we know the kind of senate and government we are entrapped with and the international community knows as well. We know their duplicity, their arrant cant, their audacious mendacity and such other vices have compromised our status the world over and reduced us to hewers of woods and fetchers of water in the comity of nations. We know our so-called leaders have greatly shrunken our capacity, rendered us collectively impotent, demented our self-worth and have prodded us to a borderless enclave of potential terrorists and suicide bombers.

The Nigerian senate, with its assumed importance, its proclivity to jesting, its empty pose, its loud penchant to over rate itself beyond its stunted capacity, is a true reflection of the leadership that has afflicted Nigeria since independence. Because it is given to shortsightedness, it never stopped to reflect on its powers to issue ultimatum to a world power when it has no known clout beyond its synthetic assumed powers. One will believe that before provoking a diplomatic row, the Nigerian senate would have taken stock of the weight of the nation in the comity of nations and if it ever consciously did, it would have found out that as a result of its actions and those with whom it is in cahoots with in the ruination of Nigeria under the guise of leadership. We understand that most of these characters that have ruined Nigeria are targeted in the tighter security regime that go with this listing and that was enough to set the senate on a thoughtless rage as to issue an empty ultimatum to the United States government.

Make no mistake about it, I don’t support the listing of Nigeria as a terrorist nation so long as the classification is factored on the lone actions of a pampered deviant that happened upon the fantasy of taking along with him hundreds of souls to satisfy his arcane and weird religious persuasion. But then, given the profound failings of Nigeria as a nation, I believe the classification is an advertisement of the pent up anger of serious people all over the world for the grand larceny and glorified cannibalism that has pockmarked Nigeria’s conduct as an independent nation. I firmly belong to the school of thought that believes that the classification was as a result of frustration in dealing with Nigeria’s many irreformable problems. These obtain in the form of rampaging corruption, ethnic and sectarian tension, diseases, impunity, recklessness, all occasioned by a consistent string of daft, purblind and ethically rustic leadership. To the extent that the leadership has become an incorrigible pestilence ravaging the lives of Nigerians, the entire world, and most especially the US has been bearing the brunt of this historic failure and is now sending a message with that classification. The message is loud and poignant; Nigeria must get serious or be shoved aside and the listing is a veiled way of sending the message across.

One would have expected the Nigerian senate and what remains of the executive in Nigeria to be well educated of their powers and constraints before issuing a moratorium. My little understanding of ultimatums is that it must be backed by some powers to sanction and a rich list of alternatives to adopt should the ultimatum be ignored. In this instance, what happens if the US remains adamant and refuses to yank off our name from its terrorist list? What happens if the US calls off our bluff and dares us to do our worst? Would Nigeria invade the US? Would it make it a tit-for-tat and also raise its own terrorist list, with the US at the top? Will it stop selling oil to the US? If it takes the latest option, will it resort to drinking its oil? When we answer all these possible posers, we would find out that Nigeria has no real alternative here. Its best option would have been to meekly hide its face than choose to obtrusively mock itself and advertise its powerlessness in the present situation. For it to issue a valid ultimatum to the sole world power Nigeria must have an actionable alternative that could hurt the US interest and so far, it has none. The country is weakened by the thick layered vices of its leaders, the hopelessness of the people and the impoverishment spawned by decades of untrammeled graft and avarice. Its oil, which its buffoonery leadership toasts as a sign of greatness is getting increasingly irrelevant in the global energy market while its thick population is greatly afflicted by disease, want and misery of inestimable proportion.

Let us ponder what the situation would have been if Nigeria is made up of 150 million well contented citizens and not 150million underfed, storm-tossed citizens. Let us ponder what the situation would have been if we had infrastructures running and certain basic guarantees other free and empowered citizens elsewhere instead of rickety and run-down relics of a prodigious leadership. Let us imagine if Nigeria has a well focused leader and an accountable government that drive the affairs of its citizens. Let us imagine what it would have been if we had shown any sign of seriousness in managing our domestic affairs instead of exhibiting consistent strings of noxious and aberrant attitudes that demean and minimalize us in the comity of nations. Let us imagine what it would be like if we had an economy and an industrial base that would guarantee us some respect from others and confidence in ourselves instead of a scrambled outpost for predatory delinquents, which we pass off as Nigerian economy. If these situations apply, would the United States or any other country for that matter, have classified Nigeria a terrorist nation as a result of the death wish of one misguided fundamentalist? My healthy guess is that it won’t have been possible because we would have been commanding some level of respect in the international fora.

All these therefore throw back the question on Nigerian leaders that have shown an incurable inclination to prod the country to the paths of perdition and ruination. Rather than fawning all over town as its reaction so far has shown and will be confirmed by the time its ill-advised moratorium to the US expires, the Nigerian leadership should wake up to the reality that time is leaving Nigeria behind. From a terrorist country, one is not in doubt where it is headed unless something urgent is done to rescue the chestnut from a raging fire. At a time the leadership is in a self-enfooling excursion in tom-foolery, packaged as rebranding, it is instructive that the actions of a misguided religious misfit has rebranded Nigeria from a barely tolerated nation to a terrorist enclave. While billions of Naira are squandered in a futile effort to launder the charred image of a country that signposts a golden opportunity laid in ruins, Nigerians are dying in their hundreds of thousands in preventable want and penury. It is indeed a tragedy!
My take is that the listing is a clarion call for us to get serious or else risk greater embarrassments in the future. The embarrassment will not be in the act but such reactions as the one that came from the senate and what remains as government in this country.

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