By Is’haq Modibbo Kawu
“It (is) the best of times, it (is) the worst of times, it (is) the age of wisdom, it (is) the age of foolishness, it (is) the epoch of belief, it (is) the epoch of incredulity, it (is) the season of light, it (is) the season of Darkness, it (is) the spring of hope, it (is) the winter of despair, we (have) everything before us, we (have) nothing before us…” -CHARLES DICKENS in TALE OF TWO CITIES
IT was the much-lamented Chief Sunday Awoniyi, a founding member of the party that once described the PDP as “a basket of scorpions stinging themselves to death”. Judging by all that happened in recent weeks, there can be no better description of the behemoth which holds Nigeria in a stifling bear-hug since 1999!
As we have argued here, a vicious struggle is unfolding for the soul of the vote “capturing” contraption, with different tendencies within the party posturing for advantage, in the buildup to the 2015 elections.
We warned that only the politically naïve would believe that 2015 politics have not taken centre stage. Isn’t politics warfare by other means?
President Goodluck Jonathan is fighting the battle of his political life, despite appearances; and he has to contend with many political foes. His main advantage is incumbency with the apparatus of state power available for deployment to fight his battles.
Recent stirring by the EFCC against perceived foes like Sule Lamido and Rotimi Amaechi, is a piece of the jigsaw. But Jonathan has become increasingly alienated from many of his supporters in the bruising battles that took him to the summit of Nigerian politics.
The “shoeless” boy is now obliged by circumstances to become master of his own political life, for the first time. It is an unfamiliar turf for Jonathan and he faces a bloody battle.
The enemies are many, ranging from the badly wounded despot, Olusegun Obasanjo to the over-bearing governors whose control of the party machinery as a self-serving collective, has cast a pall on PDP politics since 2002, when they first flexed their muscles and almost deprived Obasanjo a Second Term ticket!
Obasanjo is hurting from the short shrift he got from Jonathan, whose steady ascendancy from a nondescript deputy governor, to presidency he had facilitated; yet President Jonathan will not allow him rule by proxy.
It is an irony of politics, that Obasanjo who publicly declared that whoever invested in his presidency in 1999 for a return, forfeited all, will somehow attempt to defy political logic that“godfatherism” has a short shelf life!
But Jonathan must be taught a bitter political lesson, so Obasanjo has become the arrowhead of an alleged plan to take power to the North. Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s removal as party secretary is Jonathan’s first move against Obasanjo and the governors. But we still don’t know how that will pan out: a lost battle or vanquish in war! I expect a countermove.
It is frightening that Jonathan’s base has narrowed and by returning to churches in recent weeks, he was hankering back to base religious sentiments which he craftily exploited in 2011.
How rank-and-file Christians (just like other citizens) worried about insecurity; incompetent governance and sundry unfulfilled promises, will react to the new manipulation of religion remains to be seen. But things will get messier in the weeks and months ahead.
The PDP denizens are held together by power and the access it offers to the incredible looting of Nigeria they have perpetrated since 1999. They are not political fools, because the threat of being knocked off their perch will eventually make them rally.
But before then, many PDP scorpions would have been stung to death. This is a moment of turmoil inside Africa’s largest basket of scorpions: The PDP!
Coming soon to skies over your head: US CIA predator drones
IN an article written recently for CNN, titled “On drone killings, Brennan doesn’t uphold our values”, Mary Ellen O’Connell, quoted the American Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, as saying that CIA targeted killings through predator drones will “likely to expand to Libya, Mali and Nigeria”. As O’Connell noted in the article, “attacks by CIA drones…have killed thousands of people, including hundreds of children, far from any battlefield.
These killings have occurred in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen”. Similarly, in an article titled “Mali and the Scramble for Africa”, written for Global Research on January 14, 2013, Ben Schreiner pointed out that “the Pentagon’s deepening penetration of Africa”, is a crucial part of an overall worldwide process of domination.
He quoted the ARMY TIMES as noting that Africa “…in many ways remains the (US) Army’s last frontier”, and “in order to satiate the U.S. appetite for global ‘power projection’, no frontiers are to be left unconquered”.
Despite its overwhelming rejection by Africans, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), plans to deploy soldiers to 35 different African countries in 2013, with upwards of 4,000 US soldiers to “take part in military exercises and train African troops on everything from logistics and marksmanship to medical care”. Instructively, “the Malian officer responsible for the country’s March (2012) coup just so happened to have received US military training”.
In the same vein, the WASHINGTON POST in June 2012, “revealed” that ‘preliminary tentacles’ of the US military already extend across Africa, noting that: “US surveillance planes are currently operating out of clandestine bases in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya, with plans afoot to open a new base in South Sudan”. Already the Pentagon is spending $8.1million “to upgrade a forward operating base and airstrip in Mauritania”.
Even with Obama’s presidency, the nature of American Imperialism does not change. Obama has killed more people with predator drones than the war criminal, George Bush! The increasing militarisation in Africa is part of a new scramble for African resources being waged with China.
Currently, the US gets 18 percent of its energy needs from Africa and that will reach about 25 percent by 2015.
Africa supplies about one-third of China’s energy needs, “plus copper, platinum, timber and iron ore”. Maximilian Forte in “Slouching Towards Sirte” argued that: “Chinese interests are seen as competing with the West for access to resources and political influences.
AFRICOM and a range of other US government initiatives are meant to counter this phenomenon”. Spare a thought therefore for the 600 Nigerian troops that will soon be deployed in Mali, because even with a regional imperative to justify the deployment, there is the long shadow of imperialism hanging on the project.
As Jean Bricmont wrote in HUMANITARIAN IMPERIALISM: “the ideology of our times, at least when it comes to legitimising war, is a certain discourse on human rights and democracy”.
The Malian context fits that frame perfectly. A military coup toppled a democratic administration and the West’s worst nightmare unfolded, as Islamists took over Northern Mali and imposing draconian interpretations of Sharia.
This region of West Africa was always profiled as neo-colonial West Africa’s soft underbelly and most likely to become launch pads for radical Islam. Since year 2000, there have been military, political and security projections about the Sahel region of West Africa.
The fact that the American Defense Secretaryopenly threatened targeted killings through CIA predator drones in “Libya, Mali and Nigeria”, shows how far we have travelled on the dangerous path into the unending “War on Terror”. So get ready because predator drones are on the way; with certainties of collateral deaths raining out of our skies!