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On the theme of a new world order – Part 5

By Bolaji Akinyemi
04 November 2022   |   2:37 am
Before the war, BRICS had been planning the development of a New Development Bank, Contingent Reserve Arrangement, BRICS payment system and BRICS basket reserve currency.

Map of Africa. Photo: aperianglobal

Continued from yesterday

Before the war, BRICS had been planning the development of a New Development Bank, Contingent Reserve Arrangement, BRICS payment system and BRICS basket reserve currency.

Africa has not been indifferent to the need for a common currency. I am not going to be concerned with a common currency like the CFA used in French West Africa and French Equatorial Africa which is tied to the French Franc and controlled by the French Central Bank. Shades of the Colonial Pact. Our concern is the efforts by authentic African organizations to evolve an African currency.

ECOWAS as far back as 2003 has decided to adopt Eco as a common currency in West Africa. The adoption was postponed to 2005, 2010 and 2014. In 2022, the spoiler of African UNITY, France got its French-speaking West African countries to adopt Eco tied to the French Franc as its own. This development led to a lot of disagreement within ECOWAS. The compromise was reached at the JUNE 2021 Summit meeting of the Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which agreed to the launch of “Eco” in 2027. It remains to be seen whether “Eco” will be the ECOWAS version or the Francophone version.

There is a proposal for the creation of The African Monetary Union to be administered by the African Central Bank. This would entail the creation of a common currency to be called Afro or Afriq. In 1991, the Abuja Treaty was signed which created the African Economic Community which called for the adoption of a single currency by 2023, and the creation of an African Central Bank by 2028.

Nevertheless, the important message is Africa has been seized of the issue. The war hopefully will refocus Africa on the issue. But if the experience of ECOWAS is to be educative, expect France through its main surrogates to try to derail it. The new world order: The Nigerian factor. I cannot overemphasize the need for Africa to be present at the table where the design of the new world order would take place and where the African agenda will be autochthonous. To achieve this, the role and status of Nigeria as a primus inter pares cannot be overstated.

We must admit that in the past sixteen years, the voice of Nigeria on Global Affairs has been irritatingly, embarrassingly and glaringly silent. This is a period that covered the administrations of Yaradua, Jonathan and Buhari. This has provided the opportunity for the marginalization of Nigeria and the absence of a force to drive the African role in global affairs.

The reasons for the Nigerian silence are multiple. The first is the illnesses of Yaradua and Buhari. The second was the lack of interest in foreign affairs by Jonathan and Buhari. However, l must emphasize that the issue goes beyond this.

The Foreign Ministers of Brazil, Russia, India and China met in September 2006 in New York to lay the foundation of BRIC which later became BRICS with an invitation to South Africa. The Nigerian President at that time was General Olusegun Obasanjo. Why was the Foreign Minister of Nigeria not present at that meeting. This was during an administration that was active in global affairs.

My suspicion is that we had a President at that time who usually was not interested in anything he could not lay claim to authorship. By the time South Africa was invited to join in 2011, South Africa’s GDP was $375.3 billion while Nigeria’s was $361.5b. The difference of $14b was not sufficient to have explained the non-inclusion of Nigeria.

By 2020, Nigerian GDP was $432.3b while that of South Africa was $301.9b. By 2022, Nigerian GDP is the first in Africa at $510.588b, Egypt is second with $435.621b and South Africa is third with $426.116b. Nigeria is in more trouble than we perhaps appreciate. I have served on several committees dealing with security issues.

I have come across documents which indicate that the security problems such as the Boko haram, the so-called issues of kidnapping, banditry, and clashes between Herdsmen and farmers have external manifestations. I have interrogated villagers who have no interest in lying swearing by their local Deities that they saw helicopters at night dropping weapons, food and supplies to some of these terrorists and taking off in the middle of the night.

As of that time, the Nigerian Air Force insisted that they were not involved as they did not have helicopters with night capabilities. So who are the forces who were involved in these night operations to destabilise or to even destroy Nigeria. This was before the Buhari administration came into power. Therefore it cannot be billed fully to the present administration.

But the present administration has its share of the responsibility. The global isolation at BRICS and G20 levels cannot however be laid at the doors of the global community. Even though fingers have been pointed at this administration as the most corrupt that Nigeria has ever had, what with 500,000barrels of crude oil stolen, what with secret pipelines to steal crude oil laid nine years ago which was just discovered by NNPC after it was pointed out to them by a non-state actor who had just won a security surveillance contract.

What the Nigerian GDP would have been if the leakages on the Executive and legislative levels have been substantially reduced is better imagined. The blame does not lay at the door of the Buhari administration alone. We have not had a corrupt free
administration since 1979 except for the period of 1984-1985, during the first Buhari military administration. Now we are faced with three candidates running for the office of the President who lacks integrity and credibility.

Well as Cassius said to Brutus in Shakespeare in Julius Caesar “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings”.

Nelson Mandela in a famous interview expressed his disappointment with Nigeria, pointing out that unless and until Nigeria sorts itself out, Africa and the Black race will remain where they are at the bottom of the global ladder. The exact words of Nelson Mandela are “the world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect.

The Black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence” Yet he was a former President of South Africa, leaving in South Africa. He did not identify South Africa but Nigeria as the authentic African personality.

Nigeria need not be worried unnecessarily by the priming up of South Africa. Turkey was not brooding when it was excluded from BRICS. She simply hunkered down and built up its industrial capacity. Now, Turkey is a powerhouse in Europe that can call the shots when and where it wants.

Nigeria needs to clean up her act. She needs to become a less corrupt country. She needs to practice an inclusive form of governance and not a patent form of governance that emphasizes incompetence, square pegs in round holes and turns Nigeria into the exclusive property of one nationality thus breeding secessionist agitation. This state will not help Nigeria achieve its manifest destiny in the world.

Concluded

Akinyemi, Professor of International Affairs delivered the 2022 Nigerian Institute of International Affairs Distinguished Lecture on October 20, 2022.

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