By Obi Nwakanma
Segun Adeniyi’s just recently published book, Against The Run of Play, makes a very startling and disturbing revelation, one confirmed by the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan himself, that the United States government and the governments of the UK and France jointly interfered very directly to manufacture the outcome of Nigeria’s presidential election in 2015.
The former president basically acknowledged that he had been put under pressure to varying degrees by the leaders of these “global powers” who ultimately wanted him out on the basis of at least, two reasons: his handling of the Boko Haram issue and the kidnap of the Chibok girls, and his signing into law of the anti-gay marriage legislation, and such sundry matters on which the “West” had interest. It so transpired that the US administration under the former President Barrack H. Obama invited the twelve governors of the former Northern sates to Washington DC, to measure the heartbeat of the governors, and to plan and perfect this “civilian coup” to remove Jonathan as president.
The red flags should have been raised then, or earlier, when, in the very heat of the campaigns, Kayode Fayemi, Rotimi Amechi, and Bola Tinubu – those “fair haired boys of the empire” – took their race horse, Buhari as a candidate of the APC, on a round of introductory handshakes and ring-kissing to the British political establishment which all in hindsight now, puts all the marbles in place, on the evolution of this electoral plot against the Jonathan administration.
The former president in Adeniyi’s book claims that the US had in fact sent a War ship and placed it nearby in the Atlantic as a kind of silent threat, and so Jonathan had no choice but to tuck his tail into his hind and scamper. This story is pathetic. But what is more pathetic is the reaction of Nigerians to this revelation: there is no outrage. As a matter of fact, some have said publicly, “good for Jonathan! They removed him because he was corrupt!” How can a people remain complicit in their own humiliation? I know how.
It is because more Nigerians have been reduced to what the great Nnamdi Azikiwe called “mental slavery.” Colonization and enslavement and mastery these days is not about putting chains on the hands and feet of people; it is about putting chains on the minds and consciousness of people through the use of strategic imagery and sustained narrative of failure and diminution; such words as “corrupt nation,” for instance; it is to whip and humiliate them and make them feel both worthless and grateful in that sado-masochist experience; it is to truly subject them, through powerful imagery of their own failure, to wish for something outside of themselves.
That is how for instance, a small, backward, island nation like Britain, continues to hold some kind of sick attraction and exert some residual colonial power over a “giant” but failing nation like Nigeria, where its citizens have been successfully, through very strategic action, been turned against themselves, and have been made to hate each other, and have thus made it very easy, and very possible to keep this once hopeful county at the permanent crossroads. Nigerians have always thought of themselves as “the giant of Africa.” I do not really know if anyone still believes that crap. We are a giant, certainly. But more like a giant fart of history – and this because we are more like that ruminating and melancholic cow grazing by the fields while time passes us by.
In a military confrontation with Zimbabwe, for instance, Nigeria will most certainly be worsted. Why? Because Zimbabwe has capacity to produce internally its own means of self-defence. It is this lack that makes Jonathan’s story rather pathetic.
As became very clear to him, when he sought to buy fighter aircraft and ammunition to fight Boko Haram, and he was rebuffed by the US, the UK, France and all their allies, including South Africa, this thing is not about “democracy,” it is all about maintaining and pressing one’s strategic national interests; and it is a fact that a country like North Korea, for instance, seem to continue to amplify. It is why nations establish clear sovereign boundaries, and protect that system of selecting their leadership, and protecting by all means necessary their capacity to defend their values. Proud nations do not tolerate, and often resist external interference in their political systems. It is this sense of pride and outrage that is playing out now in the United States. I draw this inference in a very ironic way, knowing that only a year before the US elections, President Obama, according to the claims now being retailed by President Goodluck Jonathan, directly interfered in Nigeria’s own elections. Nigerians have actually wondered how more voters than was contained in the election registry voted for Buhari in the North. Where did those votes come from? How? The sweep of votes in areas of the South West where Jonathan had banked on winning also raises red flags now.
Jonathan has publicly blamed his failure on “those he trusted.” But we also now know with unfolding events in the “West” itself – in the recently concluded elections in France and in the US elections last year that voting machines and election computing systems can be hacked electronically, and numbers changed, and startling results can come with the dumping of information that could, at the eve of elections, swamp, condition, and transform public opinion, in ways that strategically and artificially manufactures consent or even discontent. These events clearly took place in Nigeria, and it is now left for enterprising Nigerian journalists to investigate and ascertain whether Nigeria’s electoral system was hacked, and to what extent these outside interventions manufactured the results of the 2015 election.
Which Nigerians worked with the foreign agents of these powers to undermine the sovereign will of Nigerians? A serious, and treasonable conduct, which is now the subject in question in the United States as the US Congress continues investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in US elections last year that brought in President Donald Trump. It is ironic because a majority of Americans are feeling outraged that an outside power may have interfered in their electoral outcome.
Never mind that the US interfered in the outcome of Nigeria’s own election, and have been doing the same across the world for a long time. There is the very irony that the United States has, for a very important moment, come to the distasteful experience of being reduced to a “third world country” by Russia, with the implication that even the mighty power could not protect its own sovereign grounds with all the technology at its disposal. It also only goes to show that the American giant has clay feet. Unfolding events are indeed getting startling. As the Congressional inquiry into the Trump Campaign’s connections with the Russian regime gets under way and begins to unfold, and as it leads in the direction of opening potential can of worms into President Trump’s tangle of financial linkages to Russia, including alleged money laundering activities, there already is blood on the floor.
There is this statement that to get to the roots of this, the Congressional investigations must begin to follow the money and to dig up the dead bodies. In the last week, the US is beginning to seem utterly familiar to me: last week, in a very unprecedented move, but using regnant powers available to the President, Donald Trump, suddenly sacked the Director of the FBI, James Comey who has been leading the investigations into the Trump campaign. The President sacked the FBI director, on the advice he says, of the justice department, for his mishandling of the Hilary Clinton story. Quite ironic because it is this same story that brought him to power. But there are claims of a cover-up, as it happened on the same day he invited the Russian Ambassador to the White House, barred American Press photographers from that White house meeting, allowing only Russian equipment.
On the same day, an American reporter in West Virginia was arrested for asking the Trump-administration Secretary of Health pointed questions. Sounds familiar? It is “the third world.” The unfolding scenario is what it is: the giant has clay feet. Or we are back in time – to Rome, with the end of the Republic, the making of a rubber stamp senate, and the rise of Caesar. Interesting times.