But some questions do crave for answers from what this story from Kenya is saying:
1. Is this happening to only Nigerians or is the Kenyan government has simply become anti foreigners?
2. Why, as this report suggests, are Nigerians being so closely associated with the presidential order to “fish out, arrest and deport all foreigners suspected to engage in drug trafficking in Kenya.”
3. If Nigerian are being targeted, what is the Nigerian government doing about it?
4. Does the African Union Charter not have anything to offer in a situation such as this?
5. Is there a lesson here for Nigeria? Our countrymen to the North have often opposed any attempt to conduct proper census of Nigerians, hence it is often impossible to know who is who in some areas. It has been suggested that Boko Haram proliferated because there is not an effective means of keeping track who comes into the country or where they are. Oftentimes, we don’t even know who is a Nigerian!
6. Kenya itself has been battling terrorists and religious extremists in its Northern borders. Could there be some overreaction on their part?
It is even more critical to look more broadly at this story coming out of Kenya and its wider ramifications. What are the reasons? If Nigerians are singled out, why is that the case?
Any Nigerian who has been involved in business or investment discussions anywhere in the world in recent era has faced comparable mistreatment, embarrassment, and humiliation. Those may not result in one being imprisoned or deported, but the humiliation and disrespect is always there. The mere fact of being Nigerian is added baggage each time you show up in foreign land. The green passport is held against you even before someone gets to know your intentions. Ironically, from observing what goes on in the USA, Europe, and other developed economies, Nigeria may be among the very corrupt nations in the world, but it is certainly not the only. Some of the biggest scams imaginable occur in the First World, so-called. In the US, just watch the CBS News program, 60 Minutes, or other investigative reports in mainstream American media. Of recent, the Al Jazeera news network is beefing up its contributions to the pile. Any frequent visitor to the Far East will acknowledge that its not all roses there either.
The fact is that Nigeria simply has the worst possible image; period. We may wish this were not the case, but truth sanitizes things. There have been cases where fraud and other crimes planned or carried out in faraway Australia, Britain or other part of the world, have been attributed to Nigerians. Indeed it has become convenient and popular to point to Nigeria whenever there is an instance of fraud or as the perfect example of a corrupt state. A close look at the activities of major American, European and other foreign conglomerates and multinationals doing business in Nigeria will confirm that they are not often the best example or influence when it comes to corrupt practices. And when one looks at the facts, it is indeed difficult to challenge the underlying presumption of criminality and corruption when outsiders look at Nigeria.
The Nigerian fish is rotten from the head, as Dr. J.O.S. Okeke would often say, hence there is not much that can be salvaged.
Take a look at the stories we read and hear daily about all levels of government in Nigeria. Look at how our elected officials and civil servants carry on with public funds! Look at the speed at which they amass wealth that can absolutely not be reconciled to their official compensation. Look also at our three tiers of government. A Governor who uses public funds for public projects and development is a rarity. If anything, he is criticized for not sharing the funds. When and were in Nigeria has funds allocated for the development of a Local Government Area (LGA) been used for that purpose? The funds actually rarely make it to the allocated destination. In many of our States, in the Southeast for example, a sitting elected official, often at the highest level, owns the company or companies that do government contracts (roads, buildings, bridges, etc.) The ethical principle commonly known as Conflict of Interest does not appear to reside in the shores of Nigeria.
Look at what happens to our sports teams when they go for international competition. Much of the funds allocated for the upkeep of players rarely gets used for that purpose. The horror stories from the World Cup in South Africa 2.5 years ago are still fresh in everyone’s recollection. How many government projects get budgeted and funded several times over without anything getting done? Who accounts for those funds? Why has so much money been spent on the Power Section yet most Nigerians still depend on generators? How about those sad situations where Nigerians intentionally bring in fake drugs that will eventually kill their own kit and kin! The list is endless.
The key question is: What does our government actually do about these situations, about the runaway corruption that is so evident everywhere? Every government since General Buhari and Idiagbon has largely talked about corruption but done little to abate it. For that matter how is it that our presidents and governors get filthy rich after few years in office? Is that leading by example? Or does it set a tone anyone can take seriously? Nigerians in the Diaspora, USA in particular, witnessed first hand how a country and its people are damaged when corruption is at the helm.
Nigerian students of the 70s who used to be the darling of their American hosts and professors suddenly fell from grace — once it became evident that corruption had become an instrument of governance at the home base. This was manifested by the sudden emergence of a new crop of Nigerian students who cared nothing about education. That was the genesis of credit card fraud, check kiting, drug peddling, and other crimes for which Nigerians have become unpopular. These children were brought up in an era that paid no heed to education, morality or other values. That was an era when the universities were closed most of the year and students easily spent in excess of six years on a first degree program.
Am not suggesting that every Nigerian is corrupt or criminal. I am also not suggesting that Nigerians should either be targeted or handled with extralegal measures, even when there is proof of illegal activity. Far from it. My point is that these things do matter. The world pays attention, and no one wants to become contaminated. Could this be what is driving the Kenyans? Even when the allegation against Nigeria is false, but our government looks the other way, it gets noticed.
Why is a court in London able to convict Nigeria’s Delta State Governor Ibori, but the combined weight of the Nigerian EFCC, the Nigerian courts, etc. could not even indict him in Nigeria? And what message was given to the world when a convicted, corrupt governor of Bayelsa State Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha was pardoned by Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan to the shock of Nigerians and the world alike!
Whether in Kenya or elsewhere, much of what is happening to Nigerians is the result of leadership; in deed, the absence of focused, honest leadership. The shame and burden our brothers have suffered in Kenya (and are suffering in other parts of the world) are brought on them, in part, by the Nigerian republic that claims our allegiance but cares not much about protecting us; by our Nigerian government that know the right thing but care not to do it.
•Okorie, attorney at law, is a columnist and editorial board member of USAfrica, Houston.
——Forthcoming 2013 book: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first person reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness,
about two global icons and towering persons of African descent whose exemplary lives
and friendship hold lessons for humanity and Africans, the author takes a measure of their works and consequence to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.” He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being close to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
“I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that historic Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief executive of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when President Bill Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and came to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the internet, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/
Margaret Thatcher, Mandela and Africa. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica, and the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com. Click for newscast video of London-based SkyNEWS, the global, 24-hour British international tv network’s interview with USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu on April 11, 2013 regarding this latest commentary http://youtu.be/G0fJXq_pi1c )
ACHEBE Lives As an Immortal Writer In Our Hearts and Minds. By Chido Nwangwu.
USAfrica, May 22, 2013:
‘POPE FRANCIS, champion for the poor and evangelistic dedication’ by Chido Nwangwu
Obama’s Africa agenda, our business and democracy. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfricaonline.com and CLASS magazine and The Black Business Journal
USAfrica: As Egypt’s corrupter-in-chief Mubarak slides into history’s dustbin. By Chido Nwangwu. http://usafricaonline.com/2011/01/30/chido-nwangwu-as-egypt-corrupter-in-chief-mubarak-slides-into-historys-dustbin-egyptians-not-waiting-for-obama-and-united-nations/
USAfrica: Awolowo’s Starvation Policy against Biafrans and the Igbo requires apology not attacks on Achebe. By Francis Adewale.
Long Live, CHINUA ACHEBE! The Eagle on the iroko. By Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, Security, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University, is the Publisher of USAfrica and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com
Africa’s most acclaimed and fluent writer of the English Language, the most translated writer of Black heritage in the world, broadcaster extraordinaire, social conscience of millions, cultural custodian and elevator, chronicler and essayist, goodwill ambassador and man of progressive rock-ribbed principles, the Eagle on the Iroko, Ugo n’abo Professor Chinua Achebe,joined his ancestors a few hours ago, at the age of 82, in a peaceful and graceful transition in the warm company of his family.
Reasonably, Achebe’s message has been neither dimmed nor dulled by time and clime. He’s our pathfinder, the intellectual godfather of millions of Africans and lovers of the fine art of good writing. Achebe’s cultural contexts are, at once, pan-African, globalist and local; hence, his literary contextualizations soar beyond the confines of Umuofia and any Igbo or Nigerian setting of his creative imagination or historical recall.
His globalist underpinnings and outlook are truly reflective of the true essence of his/our Igbo world-view, his Igbo upbringing and disposition. Igbos and Jews share (with a few other other cultures) this pan-global disposition to issues of art, life, commerce, juridical pursuits, and quest to be republicanist in terms of the vitality of the individual/self.
In Achebe’s works, the centrality of Chi (God) attains an additional clarity in the Igbo cosmology… it is a world which prefers a quasi-capitalistic business attitude while taking due cognizance of the usefulness of the whole, the community.
I’ve studied, lived and tried to better understand, essentially, the rigor and towering moral certainties which Achebe have employed in most of his works and his world. I know, among other reasons, because I share the same Igbo ancestry with him.
Permit me to attempt a brief sentence, with that Achebean simplicty and clarity. Here, folks, what the world has known since 1958: Achebe is good! Eagle on the Iroko, may your Lineage endure! There has never been one like you! Ugo n’abo, chukwu gozie gi oo!
FULL text of this tribute-commentary at USAfricaonline.com click link http://usafricaonline.com/2013/03/22/long-live-chinua-achebe-by-chido-nwangwu/
Mandela, others send tributes mourning Achebe
Special to USAfrica multimedia networks, and CLASSmagazine, Houston. @Twitter.com/Chido247, Facebook.com/USAfricaChido n Facebook.com/USAfrica247
The death of the grand-father of modern African literature Prof. Chinua Achebe is drawing several messages from some of the world’s leaders, Nigeria’s president, his friends, contemporaries and writers.
A statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa has been sent to the family of the late renowned writer Chinua Achebe. It conveyed, on behalf of the Chairperson, Board of Trustees and staff of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, “our condolences to the family of Prof. Chinua Achebe, a great African writer and thinker, who passed away on 21 March 2013 at the age of 82.”
Nelson Mandela, a friend of Achebe’s and an avid reader of his works, notably once referred to Prof. Achebe as a writer “in whose company the prison walls fell down” — a reference to Mandela’s 27 years in apartheid South Africa jail.
Both men are known for their principled positions on issues of justice, opposition to bigotry, discrimination and commitment to fairness to all persons and support for progressive pan Africanism. By Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, Security, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University, is the Publisher of USAfrica and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com
Eight lessons of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston. http://usafricaonline.com/2009/11/01/chido-8lessons-rwanda-genocide/