America and “the forces holding Nigeria together”
The U.S and ‘the forces holding Nigeria together’
By Nkem Ekeopara
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Recently, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, the U.S Assistant Secretary of
State for African Affairs appeared before the U.S
Congressional subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights chaired by Congressman Chris Smith. His appearance centred mainly on
the US policy on Nigeria, especially as it concerns the terrorist organisation, Jama’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad widely known as Boko Haram and its increasing thirst for blood of Christians and
minorities in northern Nigeria.
One of the most interesting statements Ambassador Carson made on that occasion was that he believed that the forces holding Nigeria together
are much stronger than those that might seek to pull it apart. If I
sat as a member of that Committee, I would have asked him to tell us
these ‘forces’, which he thinks are holding Nigeria together that are
much stronger than the forces that might seek to pull it apart. Since
I am not a mind reader, I’ll offer just my thought as to what or who
the forces are in Ambassador Carson’s mind.
However, let me observe that these ‘forces holding Nigeria together’
might ultimately consume what every objective student of history
knows, is an evil construct by the then British Empire to sustain
their Northern Protectorate with the wealth of Southern Protectorate
and the empire’s larger economic interest.
For the records, Nigeria’s existence in the last 52 years since her
‘independence’ and nearly 100 years since Lord Luggard’s amalgamation
of Southern and Northern Protectorates to form the country remains a
story awash with the blood of innocent people with much of that blood
flowing from the Christian Igbo people who were visited with genocide
during the Nigeria-Biafra War of 1967-1970 and are again being
targeted in the current bloody campaign in the killing fields of
A great number of them (the Igbo) resident in the North including
National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members have lost their lives.
Many who have managed to return back alive to their homeland, East are
now insolvent having left their hard earned investments due to their
being targeted. The setting is almost the same with what happened
before the war. The questions are: For how long will Nigeria continue
to be a vampire that thrives on the blood of its citizens? For how
long will the ‘forces’ Ambassador Carson has in mind endure in the
face of this speedy slide towards an upheaval of catastrophic
Perhaps, the forces Ambassador Carson has in mind holding Nigeria
together are the forces that arrogantly picked former dictator, Gen.
Olusegun Obasanjo from prison and made him president in 1999, and
within a space of 8 years, he became a dollar-denominated billionaire,
with a private university and a flourishing chicken farm as his booty.
In Nigeria, this is typical. It is absolutely normal to grab political
power to achieve economic power.
Admittedly, he was a ‘chicken farmer’ before he went to prison, but it
was never as flourishing as what he has now. Besides, his old farm was
comatose by the time he came out of prison. And that
first venture was from his failed Operation Feed the Nation (OFN)
during his military dictatorship years between 1976-1979, which we
derisively termed in my high school days as “Obasanjo Failed the
Nation” because he was the only visible ‘success’ of that slogan as
usual carefully clothed as a programme to deceive the Nigerian people.
The forces spiritedly urging the Government of the United States in
which Ambassador Carson serves not to brand Boko Haram as a terrorist
organisation even though their tactics tallies with that of al-Qaeda,
are part of the ‘forces’ holding Nigeria together.
These ‘forces’ holding Nigeria together are the ones that make
Nigeria’s human development indices some of the worst in the world. Oh
yes, the forces holding Nigeria together are responsible for making
100 million Nigerians (Ambassador Carson’s figure) live on less than a
dollar per day.
They are the ‘forces’ that handsomely pay themselves in one year what
the American President will earn in 10 years were his tenure to last
up to that notwithstanding that a greater percentage of their fellow
countrymen barely eke out a living. These are the ‘forces’ resisting
the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference to discuss the
National Question because it threatens their entrenched interests.
They are the ‘forces’ holding Nigeria together!
The ‘forces’ holding Nigeria together that ‘are much stronger than
those that might seek to pull it apart’ are responsible for the
scandalous infrastructure deficit we live with everyday. As I write
this piece, I am using a generating set. Never mind that Ambassador
Carson claimed during the Congressional hearing that only half the
population have any access to electricity.
Nigeria is a country of about 160 million people. But it generates
less than 5,000 megawatts of electricity. Even this little quantity of
generation, it does not have adequate transmission and distribution
infrastructure to it carry to the consumers. So, where then is the
source of Ambassador Carson’s spurious statistics? Or did he include
sources such as the one that I am using and these other smaller killer
generating sets from China wiping off whole families? Even then, that
won’t match his figure because about 100 million Nigerians who live on
less than a dollar per day certainly cannot have any access to
electricity since they cannot afford a generating set and the cost of
The contraption called Nigeria exists solely for the private interests
of these ‘forces’. Daily, we see, read and hear of scams that are no
longer in billions, but trillions of naira committed by these ‘forces’
and their cronies without anyone going to jail.
Lets I forget, these ‘forces’ include the international oil companies
(IOCs) in Nigeria that operate with little or no regards for the
environment and the inhabitants of their host communities because
there is always an unholy alliance between them and every Government
of Nigeria. The case of Royal Dutch Shell and its despoliation of
Ogoniland is an apt example. And yet, these IOCs make the most profit
in Nigeria more than any other place they operate.
In my view, these ‘forces’ rather than holding Nigeria together in
Ambassador Carson’s conviction, are quickening its pace on the path to
perdition. Immediate dialogue among the ethnic nationalities is needed
to peacefully terminate this marriage of convenience. •Ekeopara is a columnist for USAfricaonline.com; he is based in Nigeria.
Obama’s Africa agenda, our business and democracy. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal
Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and the Nigeria360 e-group. http://www.usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/ : IF any of the Nigerian President’s 100 advisers has the polite courage for the extraordinary task of reminding His Excellency of his foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation to the national interest about security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in Nigeria, please whisper clearly to Mr. President that I said, respectfully: Nigerians, at home and abroad, are still concerned and afraid for living in what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. FULL text of commentary at USAfricaonline.com http://www.usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/
Related insight: USAfrica’s October 17, 2001 special report/alert: Nigeria’s bin-Laden cheerleaders could ignite religious war, destabilize Africa. By USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu. http://www.usafricaonline.com/chido.binladennigeria.html
Related and prior reporting on the Jos crises on USAfrica, click here: http://www.usafricaonline.com/2011/08/16/10-killed-in-renewed-violence-near-jos/
News archives related to Jos, here http://www.usafricaonline.com/?s=jos
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