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Obama snubs Nigeria?

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by BAK, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Jun 11, 2009
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    African view: Obama snubs Nigeria?
    BBC News Online

    Barack Obama is not stopping over in Nigeria to meet Umaru Yar'Adua in July

    In our series of weekly viewpoints from African journalists, Sola Odunfa considers US President Barack Obama's forthcoming visit to Ghana in a letter from Lagos:

    Last weekend a recently retired senior Nigerian diplomat sat virtually alone at a bar in his club contemplating rather than drinking the glass of soda water on the coffee table before him.

    After watching him for some time I approached to cheer him up.

    We would persuade the White House that a touchdown in Nigeria would serve our mutual interests

    Retired diplomat
    He was not interested in any subject but the impending one-day visit of Africa's own president of the United States to the continent.

    "This cannot happen," he said.

    "What cannot happen?" I asked. "This is not the first time the most powerful man in the world would be visiting the continent of the dark man."

    "Sola," he answered with a dry smile. "In my time in the foreign service, all of us in our missions in Europe and America would have been mobilised to ensure that President Obama would make at least an airport stop-over in Nigeria next door.

    "We would persuade the White House that a touchdown in Nigeria would serve our mutual interests."

    'Giant of Africa'

    As the discussion or, more appropriately, the lecture went on, I found that the former career diplomat's discomfiture was caused, not by the apparent snub of "the Giant of Africa", as Nigerians love to describe their country, but by what he concluded was the death of Nigeria's foreign service.

    As far as my respected friend was concerned the government had declared the foreign service redundant.

    Nigeria has intervened in regional conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia
    "That cannot be the case," I said. "Remember that Foreign Minister Ojo Madueke declared long ago that Nigeria's foreign policy was 'Citizens' Diplomacy'"

    That is, the government would do whatever was necessary to protect Nigerians everywhere in the world, including applying tit-for-tat actions when a Nigerian was maltreated abroad.

    "That was a hollow statement meant for newspaper readers," the diplomat replied.

    In fact, he said, Nigeria began practising citizens' diplomacy under military rule: Lawyers were recruited into the foreign service, trained in diplomacy and posted to key missions abroad to advise Nigerians.

    When necessary those lawyers attended court hearings to keep a watching brief for Nigerians.

    In time, according to him, every government knew that if they maltreated innocent Nigerians in their country, their own citizens in Nigeria would not be left untouched.

    Also, he said Nigeria became active in the international institutions set up to formulate a global immigrant policy, given the large numbers of Nigerians in Europe and America.

    Olusegun Obasanjo threw his weight around when he was president
    Nigeria's clout as "Big Brother" was well established in Africa, especially in the western sub-region, so, no serious international discussion on Africa would be held without the participation of Nigeria.

    "What has brought about the change," I asked.

    He did not mince words:

    • Perceived systemic corruption has led to distrust in important circles

    • The economic downturn has meant that the government can no longer back its diplomacy with funds

    • Lastly President Umaru Yar'Adua, unlike former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has not been seen to demonstrate any serious interest in matters beyond Nigeria's shores.

    It is not only President Obama who is perceived by Nigerians to have snubbed their country, even small African nations now behave with little consideration for what the reaction of Nigeria might be.

  2. Bluray

    Bluray JF-Expert Member

    Jun 11, 2009
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    Too much is made of Obama.

    First of all, the phrase "most powerful man in the world" need qualification.This man's office cannot even persuade the Congress to act, how powerful can that be? In many aspects the pope is more powerful than the president of the USA.Reagan even enlisted the pope to finish off communism.

    Second, the reason these Obama visits are hailed as the second coming of Christ beats me. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that he is half-black.I do not remember Africans making such a big fuss over who was the first president to meet president Bush, nor crying out loud when Bush skipped them for their neighbors on his itinerary.So what Obama is not going to Nigeria, I thought the Nigerians were a proud people and could do better than demean their dignity by neighing like a frustrated horse.

    Obama is using his popularity and office as symbolic leverage, an audience/ visit if not qualified is taken as a stamp of approval. The Nigerian election was a farcical textbook example of electrocracy and Obama probably does not want to associate himself with that whole show, at least the reasons he gave for going to Ghana points in that direction. So if they would like so much to host Mr. Obama, they should consider changing their act and not merely try to use some shortcut like they do in stealing elections and so many cases.

    These Nigerians are so oversensitive and with a sense of overinflated importance, I wonder what would they say had they heard January Makamba and his undiplomatic public scolding of their government.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
  3. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

    Jun 12, 2009
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    Miafrika bana...inashangaza kweli!! Aje asije kuna tofauti gani? I could speak in French but I'm afraid people won't be able to take it.
  4. Eqlypz

    Eqlypz JF-Expert Member

    Jun 12, 2009
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    Wamelalamika Kenya, sasa Nigeria nani atafuatia?
  5. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

    Jun 12, 2009
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    Tanzania will follow, you are the cleanest boys in the hood, so I think you deserve some attention, Atleast Bush gave you an ear, ama it was the jealous girl friend tactic perfected by young girls, where Bush wanted the Kenyan Admin to feel bad and pull their act together so that they get the visit by the big man.
  6. Kinyambiss

    Kinyambiss JF-Expert Member

    Jun 12, 2009
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    Its all rubbish and doesnt help Africa. We are morons if we think some refueling stop is going to make our situation better. That is a joke... Nigerians are crooks and their government had a foreign policy of "reciprocal citizen terror" its just amusing to see how a country so well endowed with natural resources can remain poor and abused by its own shroud wearing leaders (lol.) with impunity! But if more than 50% of the country are crooks then what to expect...SHAME!
  7. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

    Jun 12, 2009
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    ukweli mtupu Kinyambis.