By Emmanuel Aziken
Few global events since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 have generated talk of a Third World War as the recent faceoff between the United States and Iran.
The mutter was upon the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Brigade, the elite branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards penultimate Friday. The order for the killing was given by President Donald Trump of the US.
The audacious order bore the imprint of a leader determined to protect the lives of ordinary Americans wherever they may be.
Trump cited Soleimani’s alleged hand in the killing of an American contractor in Iraq the week before.
Those who say that President Trump’s action directed at a state actor was unprecedented outside a time of war forget President Ronald Reagan’s action against Libya on April 14, 1986.
President Reagan in his defence of the raid on Tripoli cited alleged involvement of Libyan agents in the bombing of a disco hall frequented by United States servicemen in West Berlin, in former West Germany. That bombing on April 5, 1986 led to the death of an American serviceman.
Two weeks later, President Reagan responded with a blistering attack that left a permanent mark on the psyche of Libyan leader, Mummar Quadaffi.
Not only did he lose an adopted daughter, but the strike is also believed to have caused a turnaround in Quadaffi’s orientation to the world.
He also understood that Russia or USSR as it was then would not deter Washington’s bid to draw revenge for spilled American blood.
So, against the background of the consolidation of American military and economic power under the Trump administration, and the corresponding weakening of Moscow’s might, it is strange that the world has been enraptured with talk of a World War!
World War III between who?
A world war simply envisages at least two sets of nations coming together against one another. In this case there was no such scenario of Iran coaxing a coalition of countries to back it against America.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin would surely not sacrifice the best relationship he has had with someone in the White House because of the Iranian Mullahs.
Likewise, many of the countries in the Middle East who detest Iranian hegemony and Shia influence would also not have been displeased with the pains of the Iranian leaders.
Proxies including the militias of the Party of God (Hezbollah) around the Middle East who were remotely run by Gen. Soleimani were perhaps too dumbstruck by the general’s assassination to react.
However, despite its limited options in reacting to America, Iranian leaders have been able to showcase the outpouring of emotions on the streets in solidarity of their departed icon.
It is remarkable that at least 50 persons were said to have been crushed to death when the funeral for the general was held in his hometown Kerman.
The news of people being crushed to death in mourning for Soleimani brings to question the patriotism of Nigerians in these shores.
It is tempting to scour the polity and search out a Nigerian leader who would bring out such patriotic fervor?
Perhaps, the only one that really comes to mind now is President Muhammadu Buhari with his famed 12 million vote bank that swayed the likes of Bukola Saraki, Bola Tinubu and Rotimi Amaechi to seek him out to sustain their political relevance ahead of 2015.
However, the Buhari that they knew or thought they knew years ago has apparently been progressively demystified and the aura of reverence around him punctured by the challenges of power.
It was as such an irony that it was reported in some media in the week under review that a man in Gombe was compelled on account of the challenges Buhari has faced in office to organse an Islamic ceremony to change his son’s name from Buhari to Rabiu Kwankwnso!
This narrative, however, does not just stop at the devotion of the citizenry towards the leaders. It is even more remarkable that the leadership has progressively detached from the citizenry.
The repeated reports of kidnapping and shocking incapacity of the state to address the situation limits the reverence ordinary Nigerians would have for their leaders.
Shockingly, not even the security men are spared from the trauma. Only last Thursday, it emerged that two policemen got their liberty after two months of captivity in the den of kidnappers in Rivers State.
Though the official policy of the police is not to negotiate with bandits, those who have been so brutalized have learnt their lessons. Governors of Katsina and Zamfara have variously had peace talks with bandits!
With such footage of government officials in dialogue with bandits and kidnappers, why would anyone put his heart out for a Nigerian politician? Why?