The wisdom in ignoring Cameron
There was a lot of wisdom displayed by President Muhammadu Buhari who chose to ignore the insult of his host at a time he was visiting London for an International Conference on Anti-corruption, which held three days ago on Thursday, May 12, 2016. In African parlance, it is very uncharitable for a host to insult his invited guest to his face.
It is also a polite way the President chose to reply his host — Prime Minister David Cameron — that the insult did not belong to him, President Buhari. And that was why he cleverly ignored it – the insult. The President has also demonstrated a high-level of statesmanship in the interest of his country (Nigeria) and International Co-operation to achieve certain set-goals of his Administration – the recovery of looted funds from foreign secret accounts by some unscrupulous Nigerian public officials who are the basis of the insult in the first place.
No one can precisely say why Mr. Cameron has chosen to qualify the level of the supposed corruption in Nigeria with the adjective “fantastically”, and then still went ahead to group the country with a nation like Afghanistan. May be the Prime Minister’s intention was to provoke his duly invited guest – his Nigerian counterpart. If not, why hasn’t Rt. Hon. David Cameron chosen another forum to bare his mind on the alleged corruption status in Nigeria? Thank God, the object of his insult refused to be bothered as long as our stolen assets securely locked up in Britain are repatriated back to Nigeria.
If the Prime Minister thought with the timing of the insult he could scuttle or divert the attention of the visiting President of Africa’s most populous nation from pursing his main goal of honouring the invitation to attend the Anti-corruption Conference, the United Kingdom’s Prime-Minister has missed the point. This is because instead of demanding an unreserved apology from his host for the uncharitable comments on Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has chosen to ignore the insult and instead requested for the co-operation of his host to release the proceeds of corruption that are stashed in British banks.
President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated a lot of maturity and wisdom in his unique reaction to the obvious uncharitable comments from Mr. Cameron, which has set the social media on fire because Nigerians did not take lightly the comments credited to the Prime Minister. President Buhari refused to be deterred in his resolve to recover the loot that is allegedly kept in foreign accounts in the Europe and especially in the domain of his host. According to the President, what matters to him is the recovery of the stolen assets and the money instead of demanding for an apology.
But is it right for Mr. Prime Minister to tag Nigeria ‘fantastically corrupt’ just because of the corrupt practices of some Nigerian politicians and few privileged public officials? It is like calling the whole of Great Britain a corrupt nation just because about 48 of their politicians including Mr. David Cameron’s father are allegedly involved in the Panama’s episode.
But thank God, the Archbishop of Canterbury came to President Buhari’s defence by saying that “this particular President (referring to President Buhari) is not corrupt.’’ Anyway, in the final analysis the recovery of the loot from the U.K is what matters more to Nigerians and their Government and not in any insult, after all “eebu kii so lara”, according to a Yoruba adage, meaning insults do not reflect in a man’s body.
Olakunle is the General Secretary, National Prayer Movement, and is based in Abuja. He writes via firstname.lastname@example.org