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Wikileaks and Nigerian ruling class indiscretions

By Is’haq Modibbo Kawu
“Ribadu, seeming to be in an environment where he felt comfortable and relaxed (the US Ambassador’s residence!), told the ambassador he wanted to share some more of what is really going on”- WIKILEAKS report

“The revelations were the outcome of interactions between US Consul-General in Nigeria at that time, Mr. Brian L. Browne and notable political stakeholders in the country in that period. Among those in contact with the US senior diplomat was Prof. Ukandi Damachi, allegedly a close confidant of Gen. Babangida and a former staff of the University of Lagos now into private business”- VANGUARD newspapers, Monday, September 5, 2011

FOR me, the revelations from

the Wikileaks reports have not been exactly sensational, given all that we have experienced in the hands of those who rule us. The innards of ruling politics have always been a cesspool of intrigues, bitter rivalries, scandals and cloak-and-dagger at its most brutally naked. What the Wikileaks reports have done, was to add flesh to the skeleton as well as unmask individuals, displaying the ugly nakedness of ruling class actors for all to see.

In that sense, Wikileaks are a genuine nemesis of ruling classes around the world, especially the most powerful imperialist system in human history, US imperialism. No wonder, Private Mannings, the alleged whistleblower, is kept in solitary confinement, while Julian Assange faces the possibility of extradition to the United States, if he is not bumped off, somewhere along the line.

Imperialism’s dirty linens and the corrupt ruling classes allied with it, around the world, are being washed in the open sewers of contemporary politics, and the whole world is watching!

But what should give us the pause in Nigeria, is how our ruling elite readily and shamelessly sing like birds, in the presence of American diplomats, often agents of their secret services! It is a pattern that is alarming, because underlying it, is a deep-seated inferiority complex; the house-nigger mentality, which signposts a near-total absence of self-worth, dignity and patriotism.

The quotations at the head of this piece give a good indication of the mentality of those who rule us or hold sensitive positions, in our national system.

There is a groveling servitude to American diplomats (secret agents really), that took hold of Nigeria, and has underlined public policy, especially since 1999. We might recall that the main reason General Victor Malu was removed as Chief of Army Staff, was his opposition to the increasingly-overbearing American influence on the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The Americans were allegedly invited to teach “peacekeeping” tactics; yet Nigeria had a more superior peacekeeping record than the Americans, notorious for invasion of countries around the world!

It signposted the new reality in Nigeria, the collapse of a nationalist and patriotic tradition and the complete surrender to the diktat of imperialism.

Above all, American imperialism: in security matters, in economic doctrine, in the cultural sphere! Kowtowing to America became central to policy, and from the most junior official to the highest, invitation to dinner in the American ambassador’s residence became a mark of recognition and an opportunity to sing without let about Nigeria, thus providing vital pieces in the tapestry of American domination of Nigeria and the world.

This is not trivial. Recall that the late President Yar’adua described his invitation to the White House, by President George Bush, as the greatest thing that ever happened to him! Groveling servitude to imperialism manifests in even the most insignificant situations, to the utter embarrassment of the individuals concerned. Last year, the controversial sports chieftain, Amos Adamu, fell for a sting operation laid out by British journalists. He sang like a bird and fell into a trap, which ended his controversial sports career.

The same man would have treated Nigerian journalists with contempt, but facing Oyibo journalists he lost it, and like Humpty-Dumpty, fell off the hill of his carefully-constructed, money-spinning life in sports.

Our founding fathers: Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, were committed patriots, anti-imperialist and dignified human beings, with a strong sense of history. They fought colonialism and chose consciously to build a new nation. As they used to say, the right to make our own mistakes was a gain of liberation! The same patriotism led to the rejection of American diktat, by General Murtala Muhammed in his famous “African has come of Age” speech, during the Extraordinary Summit of the OAU, on the Angolan crisis in 1975. Nigeria led Africa’s recognition of the MPLA as the genuine movement of national liberation, against the FNLA and UNITA sponsored by the Americans and apartheid South Africa.

Those were some of the finest moments in our history! They contrast with the deep rot all around us today and the complete lack of honour and the absence of a sense of history, amongst those who rule our country! In the past week, the media have reported that security agents of the Zionist state of Israel now protect the Nigerian President. It is that absurd!

sThese are the worst of times in Nigeria! The state has been systematically weakened by pervasive corruption, incapacity and incompetence of officials and loss of legitimacy by the ruling class. The raison d’etre of power is looting and personal enrichment by officials, while the “privatization” of the state to serve prebendal interests of factions of the ruling class often engenders vicious rivalries which condition the tendency to want to be in the good books of Americans and other foreign powers. Each faction or individuals representing these factions, craves recognition by imperialist diplomats who have controlling interests to protect in the Nigerian economy, politics and civil society, as part of a world-wide hegemony.

Invitations to Ambassadors’ residences; generous offering of food and laced with sufficient alcohol, they shoot their mouths like dane guns! Nigeria is further compromised, but they cannot be bothered because they are actually slaves, or house niggers, ever willing to grovel in the presence of their imperial masters.

This, for me, is the most serious aspect of the Wikileaks Reports! And it is the reason that I think what is on the Nigerian agenda today, is a new struggle for national liberation.

Kaduna, Pan and car importation

The city of Kaduna is my second home. It is where my family resides and like most Northerners of my generation, I have very strong emotional connections with the city which was the capital of the old Northern Region.

As the centre of industrialisation in the North, the recent decades have not been kind to the fortunes of the city: the collapse of industrialisation has led to the massive unemployment and underemployment, which have facilitated crises couched in ethno-religious frames with the consequent loss of lives and property.

Central to Kaduna’s prosperity has been the continued existence of Peugeot Automobile Nigeria, PAN, which was privatized a few years ago. Two years ago, I was invited for a plant tour, which allowed me to appreciate the effort to keep the company alive, its potentials and its place as a national industry.

As I was to begin writing today’s piece (I am writing on Monday, September 5, which is my birthday, so I am home with my family!), I saw the lead story in NEW NIGERIAN newspaper, about “the current move by the Federal Ministry of Trade to grant a waiver to an Indian firm for the importation of Volkswagen products into the country”.

An anonymous source in the Ministry was quoted as revealing that “already the waiver has been granted to import more than 200,000 fully built up Volkswagen SUVs into the country”.

Such a waiver, if true, amounts to the export of jobs to other countries at a time that we are all complaining about the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria. It was that problem which made the government allocate N50billion for jobs creation in 2011; and the waiver granted to the Indian company comes when local companies like the National Truck Manufacturers, NTM, Kano; PAN and the emergent Innoson plant in Nnewi, were bracing up to meet local demands.

It is important for the Nigerian government to support the local automobile industry because the amount of jobs they can potentially create for the Nigerian economy. It seems clear enough that promoting national industry should be central to policy. Those pushing for waivers for foreign companies to import cars are not serving the interest of Nigeria.

They export jobs out of Nigeria as well as foreign exchange. They should be stopped in their tracks, so that PAN can continue to create jobs in Kaduna; NTM in Kano and Innoson in Nnewi!

Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah: A Man and his 40th Birthday

Let me confess that until last  weekend, I have never before heard the name Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah. And I cannot recall any other individual whose 40th or any other birthday, has been so lavishly celebrated with advertisements in Nigerian newspapers.

Not even Obasanjo, in his imperial presidency, got such an outpouring of advertisements! They say Ubah is MD of Capital Oil & Gas Industries Limited, and therefore a major player in the downstream sector of the industry; others call him a philanthropist.

We cannot begrudge the man his successes, since he must have learnt the ropes in a neo-colonial country, at a young age and has made the success that is being so universally lauded at just 40 years!

But I am still unable to wrap my head around the incredible outporing of advertisements; and this is without prejudice to qualities people are valorizing in the man.

 

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