By Godwin Nzeakah
Fresh facts seem to have emerged concerning the CIA’s gloomy prediction about Nigeria and 2015. In an interview with Vanguard (29/11/2012) Chief Abu King Shuluwa, one of the founding fathers of the PDP revealed that there is a liberal clause in the 1914 document, proclaiming Nigeria’s amalgamation. The clause, according to him permits any component to pull out of the federation after the expiry of one hundred years, or precisely in 2014. I wept for Nigeria after reading all what Shuluwa, an elder statesman had to say.
According to him, “Nigeria may not be the same again if we are not careful”; in which case one had expected the man to suggest the way out. But on the contrary, Shuluwa displayed a rather stunning I-don’t-care-attitude and bravado that would be the envy of some Afghanistan youth. Hear him. “By the time Jonathan goes for a second term some of us will become like old trailers without brakes and we will be descending a slope. So, anything on the road will be crushed.”
You can beat that if you like, but to it all my reaction has been that of total disappointment, because in Shuluwa’s capacity as an elder statesman whom who we expect in no small measure to help put out the raging fire on our mountain, he should not be seen to be stoking it, instead. I am also aghast that in his bitter and apocalyptic vision of tomorrow’s Southern Nigeria Shuluwa resurrected the long forgotten issue of Biafra perhaps as a way of dragging the Southeast into his gloomy prognostications or to lampoon and deride them. Again his words: “The Niger Delta alone cannot stand the force of Biafra.
But if they think they can, that country will be destroyed because America will back them up and there will be fighting for a long time and we will be watching them… In the south, you are going to have more than five nations. Everybody that has oil will not want the other person to be part of it”. Is that so? Well, and well. This may be the kind of hogwash, ill-digested calculations that go on yonder all the time and which induce that kind of cold comfort that befogs and blocks people’s sense of reason.
This may be proof enough that the aggressive demand for return of power to the North and its audacity are probably aimed at forcing Jonathan out of office and possibly provoking secessionist bids in the South which it is hoped that a combination of mutual antagonism in the region, American might and the ghost of Biafra would help to pulverize. In this connection, since it is common knowledge that Biafra is dead and buried, Shuluwa is only obliquely suggesting that any Niger Delta entity would be attacked and crushed by the Southeast-Ndigbo precisely. Why?
What for: a Niger Delta whose wealth and population do not only exceed those of the South- east but also those of Swaziland, Switzerland, Sweden and Singapore put together? Well, anybody has a right to paint any picture they fancy. Anyway, Shuluwa’s allusion to America should not be dismissed with a wave of the hand if history is anything to go by. But if the U.S. Ever gets involved in the Niger Delta problem, I fear it may not be on invitation nor in the overly simplistic manner suggested by Shuluwa. We should not pray for it, but if tomorrow as a result of some people’s greed, Jonathan is forced out of office to the chagrin of his people, and the oil fields and installations were once again visibly seriously threatened, it is possible that America could conveniently intervene on the pretext of protecting the huge foreign investment in the area, especially if Nigeria is unable to stamp out Boko Haram at that point in time.
This is how the historic Monroe/Roosevelt Doctrine could be conjured against us. The Monroe/Roosevelt Doctrine permits America, acting alone or together with allies to “intervene, exercising international police power in flagrant cases of chronic wrongdoing or importance to curb same around the world”, particularly where American interests are involved. The doctrine has been used successfully against a number of Latin American countries in the past.
In a unique and eye-opening instance in 1903, the doctrine gave birth to a brand new nation, when rebel forces in the city of Panama, with the aid of the American Navy, terminated Colombian rule and proclaimed independence. Like the attraction of oil today in the Niger Delta area, the interest of America in Panama in 1903 was the Panama Canal project which they clinched, completed and opened in 1914, the year of Nigeria’s amalgamation. The Monroe Doctrine was significantly at play in the joint military operation by America, Britain, France and Japan that ended the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900.
Therefore, given Nigeria’s dicey, awful scenario, if you ask me what the future holds in store for us as a nation, I am most likely to respond echoing Demosthenes, the great Athenian statesman, who once told his people. “It is not my business to guess what the future has in store for us; we may be sure it will bring us misfortune if we refuse to look the facts in the face.” The grim situation is unfortunate. Nigeria is blessed with a lot of resources, both human and economic, sufficient to make her one of the most prosperous and successful nations on earth, if only we can shun our greedy ways and imbibe a bit of the spirit of equity and live and let live.
That is why the National Assembly should not deceive itself to think that its recent village square gimmickry is a veritable substitute to the necessary dialogue to properly fix Nigeria and thus forestall CIA’s wicked if possible prediction. As to the question regarding how the South should respond to signals from the North in the years ahead, I would recommend the American attitude to the former Soviet Union which President Ronald Reagan displayed to a great effect as from 1984 when he told the Soviets that “we live in time of challenges to peace, but also of opportunities for peace.
We are prepared to discuss the problems that divide us and to work for practical, fair solutions on the basis of mutual compromise. But we insist that our negotiations deal with real problems, not atmospherics.” In addressing the Soviets that way, Reagan believed that he was dealing with a powerful but crafty and capricious opponent that suffered no fool gladly–an opponent that was ready to respond with equal sincerity, respect and seriousness only if you insisted on your right.
In fact, I used to compare the Arewa Consultative Forum with the Soviets, who believed strongly in the Leninist dictum: “If you are given, grasp; if you are beaten, run fast”. The Soviet nomenclatura, according to Micheal Voslensky, “attacks the weak and fears the strong; it kicks the timid and retreats from the resolute” and was eagerly ready to conquer the world if it was allowed to do so! But somehow it was not allowed, and the world is happier, calmer and safer for it today.
Nzeakah writes from Lagos.