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Let’s not forget – Part 2

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Continued from yesterday

No constitution was forcibly foisted on Nigerians. Constitution work by building institution, masses, customs, conventions – to strengthen the adaptive capacity of the constitution. Framers know this hence amending the constitution is usually extremely difficult. In federalism the courts, among other things, interpret the constitution: that is why in federations there are three co-equal branches – the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary.

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8. A similar phenomenon is in the US cyberwar where the US claims Russia, Iran, China, North Korea had attacked it. 18 intelligence agencies complained about Russia interfering in the US election: if so, what was the U.S. reaction beyond complaining that it had been cyber-attacked? Did the U.S. not engage in cyberwars against its perceived enemies of yesterday’s years? Did the U.S. not claim responsibility for hacking revelation, about the West hacking into Dash/ ISIS and thus disrupting their communication to defeat them? Is it even contemplatable that anyone would attack the US or indeed the West and get away with it without repercussion?

9. The US is the most culpable in this regard and there are over 20 defectors to prove this: the latest – Edward Snowden and the Wikileaks exposure; Colonel North and Irangate; the Pentagon Papers of Ellsberg revelations. India and Pakistan had fought the British to gain freedom and had cloaked that war in terms of independence and democracy. Almost always where such battles were fought and independence/”freedom gained”, the new rulers almost inevitably outrun the erstwhile British Raj – in denying freedom to its people, in instituting autocracy and large scale imprisonment of the opposition – India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Rwanda; Uganda, China, Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan – etc. One of their favourite tactics in their despotic playbook – preventive detention, exile or death of the opposition – etc. A semblance of peace, however, from political volatility is the incessant coups in these areas until a strong man arrives who proceeds to be President for Life – Paul Kigame, Yoweri Museveni, Idi Amin Dada, Muammar al-Gaddafi, Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola.

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10. I am proud that Dangote is building a first-class refinery in Nigeria. I am glad as a Nigerian to see that Dangote and BUA are the biggest cement makers in Nigeria. And the richest men in Africa. I would be happier if the other 10 cement companies in Nigeria were still working and therefore increase competition continued to the benefit of the consumer.

I would be most unhappy if NNPC sold the three refineries – Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt for scrap so as to help Dangote’s refineries. Instead why not institute a scheme to rehabilitate (I mean really rehabilitate) the refineries? Each could find money to rebuild itself without a kobo from the Government or NNPC and to the benefit of the inhabitants of the area. At completion, NNPC should remove its suffocating hands from the neck of the rehabilitated refineries. I know of Engineers who would want to rehabilitate the refineries provided NNPC keeps its hands off them. Those who rehabilitate it would do so with money they can raise and sell refined products to pay their debts.

11. The most painful exhibition of the present tribal hysteria is the complete forgetfulness of actions taken by the Federal Government that was even regarded praiseworthy in 1975 but would today be regarded as the epitome of biased Fulani action. In 1976 – 79 Nigeria built the Nigeria highway between Seme – Cotonou Road to Lome. In the last few years, Nigeria is building roads/rail to Niger/Chad and the interpretation of these actions is totally unreal – it is seen as the culmination of a Fulani project.

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12. Having pipelines going to Niger and Chad at least during the Obasanjo regime would have been regarded as pursuing the goals of ECOWAS. Today it represents another manifestation of Fulani power. Should the question not be about the viability of such programmes? If Africa has a network of pipelines selling gas – why not? Was there not a project for the Trans Saharan pipeline which was scuttled mainly by the Russians and Germans who hijacked the programme or preferred another more stable supply route from Russia to Germany and then to the rest of Europe?

13. Another unfortunate development in Nigeria between 1999 and today is the emergence of a political class that feels entitled to be megalomaniac Klectocrats with an attitude: this class believes it is their turn to make themselves as rich as possible as quickly as possible without any consequences. And to squelch any real political discontent – through threats, killings, cultism, imprisonment, and the threat of violence and institution of fear as a political weapon. The class also believes that both the police and the law courts are purchasable. They support this clearly unsustainable situation by exploiting and enhancing their tribal base and hide behind conspiracy theories. Their attitude coincides with the increase in demagoguery and a decline in the quality of leadership in the world.

14. What else can the decline into tribalism and nativeness and otherness be except a refusal to want to listen to all sides and to form policy which enhances diversity and promotes all? Can we snap Nigeria out of self–hatred?

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Perhaps it is true after all that politicians are reactionaries, not leaders: but rather they achieve and maintain power by responding to public opinion, not driving it. If this is true then weep for Nigeria.
15. There are Camels in Dubai/Saudi Arabia but none has argued that the camels should roam the streets of Dubai or Saudi to eat whatever Camels eat – cereals and to drink water from droughts in the town. There are cattle in Benin, Cameroon, Togo, Senegal, Cote d’ voire etc. what happens there? We must come to the conclusion that sooner rather than later, ranches would be built, just as in Kenya among the Kikuyi.

16. Buratai’s interview during the Senate confirmation session was the best reason not to appoint him an ambassador. You do not reward incompetence with preferment and promotion. You don’t empower excuses. The army has never been more disappointed and dispirited. I have never seen more incompetence bolstered up by ignorance and pride. It is a bad option of General being appointed ambassadors – no ambassadors are being appointed generals. Not all generals can be ambassadors. Indeed few can. It is claimed that General Buratai had never fought a war before becoming the Chief of Army Staff and that his military career consisted mainly of overseas posting as military attaches.

How can he win a war? In that Senate interview, what does he mean by saying that the forest was a hindrance to winning the war? (our president claiming that only God can control our borders?)

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17. If Boko Haram can bond with people who live in the forest, what is General Buratai’s intelligence doing? So did his intelligence corps arrive in the forest and were told that Boko Haram had bonded with the foresters?

Concluded.
Dr. Cole, OFR, is a former Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil.

It is true that a number of European Generals were appointed Ambassadors for services rendered. Imagine Eisenhower’s plan to invade Europe: the plans were to deceive the Germans as to where exactly the World War II landing across the channel will be. And those generals won World War II.

18. Imagine – Christian “militia” seizing 300 Muslim students in Kaduna or Kogi or even in Lagos and Ogun – 1st time, 2nd time, and 3rd time – altogether 7 times – Muslim – Boko Haram had seized students. What happened to the 70 virgins reserved for suicide Muslims if they killed unbelievers in a jihad? (But Boko Haram is not a Jihad). For over five years now I have been waiting for at least a theoretical explanation of why and how Boko Haram Western education is evil.

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I assume that Boko Haram has no possibility to prove their case. What, however, is debilitating is the loud silence among Moslems to condemn what is, in the face of, it is unacceptable idiocy. Are we to run the civil service, the banks all business along Islamic lines? Should Nigeria have only Islamic education? Why are religious leaders not coming together to condemn the “ideology” of Boko Haram? The Northern Governors’ Forum (Nay, all the Governors) issuing a statement that Western education is not only good but essential for development and progress: thereby emphasizing the universality of knowledge and education. 2 + 2 = 4 in all religion!! Why are Governors remaining quiet on Boko Haram when each of their state budgets contains over 30% dedicated to education? Their failure to do this lends credence to the belief that Boko Haram was never a religious movement: it has always been a political ploy, first employed to get rid of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Now it is used to collect money for the 2023 election.

19. US is condemning Uyghur’s in China for religious differences and persecution. The international community is condemning Burma in Rohingya for religious differences and persecution of the Rohingyas. Since Boko Haram started in Nigeria the authorities have not condemned Boko Haram as an evil unacceptable religious poison instead which has no place in Nigeria, committed as we are, to development through education. All mallams, all clerics, all spiritual leaders should in concert with the 37 Governments in Nigeria be condemning Boko Haram. No longer should we tolerate this nonsense of freedom of speech which in reality aims at overthrowing the Government.

Patriotism, said one leader, is not a fashionable word anymore. “I am a patriot, I believe in my country. Right or Wrong. I will fight anyone who threatens it or its people”.

How many Nigerians can say and mean the above statements?

Concluded
Dr. Cole, OFR, is a former Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil.

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