BOLEKAJA DIPLOMACY: Igbo sages of yore spoke disparaging about a man who’s eager to duel or rush off to war. It is said that such a fellow surely doesn’t have enough circumspection to understand that to duel is to die and to war is to waste. Oji oso agbaso ogu, amagh na ogi wu onwu.
That’s how they put it. No wise man is hungry for fight. He would shoot with his mouth first: you know I can literally mow you down; when did you grow up to look me in the face? Tell those drumming for you I would swallow all of you plus the drums! People boast in high decibels before a fight, not because it’s the rule of engagement; it’s so people would gather and mediate and often, de-escalate and avert such a fight.
Last week on this space, we had described President Bola Tinubu’s approach to the putsch in neighbouring Niger Republic as Motorpark Diplomacy. Many readers however, weighed in to opine that it should have been BOLEKAJA DIPLOMACY. In motor parks, the garage boy earns his bona fides by constantly duelling. He must continually prove he’s fit enough hold his ground in the ‘jungle’. In those days in Lagos the motor boy was quick to tell a heady passenger to bole kaja (get off the vehicle let’s duel if you are man enough!).
The one week ultimatum given to the military junta that seized power in Niger surely manifests bolekaja syndrome. One has searched through diplomatic history to find an equivalent to no avail. Who shuts down talks on the first day of diplomatic engagement?
A THOUSAND AND ONE REASONS NIGERIA SHOULD NEVER FIGHT NIGER: To levy war against Niger Republic is akin to brothers fight brothers. Did anyone ever wondered why we are Nigeria, we have Niger State and a country on Nigeria’s northern tip is Niger Republic? Without the benefit of a research, it suggests the closest kind of affinity. But beyond nomenclature, Niger stretches across the long northern borders of Nigeria covering seven states (Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno) on an unbroken stretch of 1,608 kilometres expanse. Republic of Niger’s 25 million population is 53% Hausa, 6.5% Fulani and 5.9% Kanuri. Meaning that 65% of the population can easily claim Nigerian origin.
BROTHER FIGHTING BROTHER: From the foregoing, it would amount to brother fighting brother to levy war against Niger. Remember our immediate past president, Muhammadu Buhari is said to have his ancestral home out there in Niger. Shall we send mortars flying to destroy that home?
France, the US and other allied countries have been evacuating their citizens but where shall we start, how can we even tell apart, a Nigerian and a Nigerien? Don’t we miss even that spelling sometimes? Who can tell who is a Katsinaian and a Nigerien Hausa? The so-called ‘Hausaman’ in Lagos Sagamu, Ama-hausa in Owerri or Garki in Enugu could well be a Nigerien.
WHO’S WAR IS IT? Further, we don’t need an expert to tell us Nigeria is in no position to levy an external war. Nigeria’s military has been spread thin across about 32 out of 36 states of the country. She has been tangoing with terror groups for 15 years and separatist tendencies are more rife now than ever. Our economy is at it’s softest. All odds are stacked against Nigeria mobilising troops across her border.
Again who’s war is it? We need no seminar to understand that a Niger war theatre is a proxy war for NATO and Russia. This is an extension of the Ukraine-Russia war. France has mismanaged Francophone Africa so miserably, exploiting and raping her territories in the manner of pyrates. Many of the French colonies are getting wiser now and would break the shackle. And they would seek to realign with Russia and China in the currently resurgent international geopolitical rivalry.
Niger is particularly important for the huge deposit of uranium ore under its soil which had been plundered by France for decades. Before Niger, four other sahel enclaves were under military rule but none of them got the special attention Niger is getting. So it could be said to be an uranium war the West is stealthily pushing Nigeria into.
A WAYWARD WEST AND A LAME PRESIDENT: Once again the West (US and Western Europe) is proving how amoral it can get to sit atop the world. The West has watched Nigeria die in instalments since 2009, battling with Boko Haram and ISWAP. The US, Britain and France could have nipped the terror insurgency in the bud and cleared Nigeria’s northeast of the ragtag gangs. But we have watched terrorists acquire sophisticated weapons manufactured in the West. Nigeria has bought weapons from US and Europe at prohibitive rates. The West has looked on as the human tragedy grew more complex and Nigeria’s economy almost ruined as poverty is deepened.
The last elections have left Nigeria’s democracy in suspense with an illegitimate president with zero moral authority enthroned. Today, it seems the West seeks to take advantage of Nigeria’s delicate situation to goad a dodgy president to war as a means of legitimising him through the back door.
NO TO WAR AGAINST NIGER: But Nigerians are unanimous in rejecting war with their Nigerien kit and kin. Nigeria under Tinubu is not exactly a democracy so how can she deign to defend democracy elsewhere. Some have ventured that INEC committed a worse coup during the February 25th presidential election in Nigeria, turning what promised to be a transparent election into a miry mess. The judiciary has since been walking that landmine that could well determine the fate of Nigeria today.
So how could non-democrats uphold democracy? It’s quite salutary that commonsense has prevailed. President Tinubu has reverted to diplomacy. Sultan of Sokoto and former head of state Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd) has been dispatched to meet the Nigerien strongman who has been defiant all the while.
Perhaps a passage to Abuja may be created for deposed President Mohammed Bazoum and a shorter transition period to civil rule may also be extracted from the junta. That will be good enough diplomatic victory for Tinubu and Nigeria.
TINUBU’S BLOATED MINISTERIAL LIST is a signpost that Nigeria’s old order, rattled badly by the Obidients, is fighting back with a vengeance. Never in the history of this country have these many kleptocrats and kakistocrats filled our executive space. Tinubu’s cabinet has listed in it, about ten former governors. Among them are: Nyesome Wike, Nasir El rufai, David Umahi, Ben Ayade, Mohammed Badaru, Simon Lalong, Bello Matawalle, Atiku Bagudu and Adegboyega Oyetola. Most of these are failed governors, treasury looter and long-standing money launderers.
Save for David Umahi and Nyesom Wike, the rest have nothing to show after eight years as governor of their various states. For instance, Oyetola was serially defeated in Osun State as candidate of ruling party and as sitting governor; Ayade the popinjay laid Cross River waste with executive tomfoolery; Simon Lalong cannot walk the streets of Jos after two terms in Plateau; el Rufai is remembered for fuelling bloodshed and making Kaduna into a killing field while Bagudu is a well-documented international master money launderer.
These are the characters that would dominate Tinubu’s cabinet. The other chunk of our failed governors are in the Senate. These negative disrupters who have no value left in them are poised to recolonise us.
MOUTH TO THE NIPPLES: Most members of this gang have their mouths glued to the nipples of our motherland in the last three decades.
Wike for instance has enjoyed a long, inglorious trajectory in the corridors of power in Nigeria. He was LGA chairman, chief of staff to governor, federal minister, governor for eight years and back now as federal minister. It’s a similar path of perdition most of them have plied.
Needless to say that the bloated 47-man list of Tinubu’s cabinet is dead on arrival. Apart from a few good men who would be covered by the heap of rubbish, this is not an Executive Council, it portends an execrable confederacy of treasure hunters.
STILL NO PALLIATIVE: In the midst of all this, no palliative yet for the man on the street who is a victim of ineptitude and inertia. The only new thing is the president’s long speech regaling the people of all the palliative in the pipeline . But it seems as if Nigerians would have to break the pipelines to be sure they haven’t been suckered again as the Tinubu’s presidency has done serially for 10 weeks. There was skirmishes by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC & Co.)
But the joke is now on the NLC !
Feedback: email: firstname.lastname@example.org /07.08.23