By: Philip Agbese
For a people without qualms about being addicted to imported toothpick and foreign bottled water I am totally not surprised by Nigerians weeping more than the bereaved about the (Donald) Trump presidency in the United States. Trump’s executive orders, building a wall to keep out illegal migrants from Mexico and another one banning entry from Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria and four other countries into the US has been a source of ire for Nigerians. Online newspaper, the Cable gave perspective with its analysis that showed that Nigerians may no longer enjoy the two year visitor’s visa if the Federal Government does not reciprocate to issue two year visas to Americans.
What Nigerians are losing sight of however is the history of these countries that are today pariahs to the United States. The nationals of Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria once happily beckoned the western world to come intervene in their affairs, driven by the same misplaced logic that once it is western it is the best life can offer. In fairness to the larger part of the population, vocal minorities largely drove the processes that sent these countries into their current state of anomie. The guilt of the majority was that they did not do enough to stop those that collaborated with foreign interests to destabilize their lands.
The destabilization plot may be targeting new countries but the key concepts and strategies have not changed: sell citizens some lies to make their leaders look bad, sponsor separatists and insurgents to carry out insurrections, commission NGOs to cash in on the situation, teleguide the corporate mainstream media (MSM) to run damaging propaganda and convene circuses called international conferences to decide on the fate of nation’s hapless citizens without their input.
The consequences of these perverted interventions are predictable. The western economies, in need of manpower, need not sail slave ships to bring in captives to power their industries; citizens of destabilized countries willingly loaded themselves unto boats with higher casualty rate than the slave trade of centuries ago in their bid to report to their new slave masters. Whatever is left of the destroyed countries are handed over to prefects selected by the western masters using sham elections to give them an air of democratic acceptability. The next phase is for the proxy governments to parcel out their country’s resources for prompt handover to their conquerors under the guise of foreign investors and other sugar coated name to mask the reality of the horror the citizens have signed up to.
These realities are the things that should give Nigerians concerns. The foreign influences have not relented in ramping up the assault on Nigeria’s sovereignty and integrity. Boko Haram might have began as a piece of local misadventure but it grew to the monster it became because of a mix of too many factors that reek of western support – from the unprecedented access to military intelligence to the sophistication of their training and equipment there are questions Nigerians did not ask loudly enough. The NGOs have been brought in same as compromised media both at local and international levels. Nigeria survived that onslaught.
We must therefore be worried that after failing with Boko Haram, international support seems to be ratcheting up for issues that were once local problems but that are fast assuming frightening proportions. Not only are these issues festering even with the best of national efforts, there is a growing gang up using the international media to blackmail our leaders and label out country a failed state.
The mutation of the various insurrections since the routing of Boko Haram from Sambisa Forest has all the markings of the western interference that wrecked these other countries. What could spell doom for us however is that unlike the mild resistance they met in other places, our citizens who are disgruntled for different and often irrelevant reasons are lending themselves as willing tools for the destruction of their country.
This is why we have an Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and MASSOB that have become unnecessarily provocative; Niger Delta militants that are committing suicide in installment with the destruction of their environment each time they blow up oil installations; cross-border killer herdsmen that the country cannot decisively deal with because of international conventions; and most recently purveyors of hate speech that are calling for fresh insurrection under the cover of religion.
IPOB for instance is making demands that have no basis in the constitution. Its members and leaders know that using unconstitutional and unconventional means to ask for secession, which is a destabilization plot against the country and yet a segment of the international media were out like the back up singers for a possessed orchestra. Their chorus persistently cast our military as an occupying enemy force that must be destroyed – their stories and special reports only stop short of asking Nigerians to lynch every single troop in the land. Their stories pressure nations from selling hardware to Nigeria using bogus allegations of human rights abuses.
With more notable persons from the south-east coming out to speak against the foolhardy pursuit of Biafra, the wrecking train has moved on to a newer location. The herders/farmers’ clashes are the hottest canon to lob at Nigeria for that singular purpose of delivering on that failed state they desperately wish Nigeria was. But in case Nigerians are not aware, these interests are realization that religion sells in Nigeria and is being milked for all its worth. So in addition to insurgent foot soldiers, questionable NGOs, thieving politicians and corporate media, the dimension of rogue clergymen have been added to the mix just to be sure that a meltdown of national proportion can be provoked.
The disdain in which they hold Nigeria and Nigerians is such that they did not even bother to shop for credible spiritual leaders but rather poached those that have pending warrants on their heads in some countries just to be sure that their new charges are pliable. One of the preachers they have taken on retainership is currently a personal non grata in the United Kingdom after failing to double money as he had promised during a crusade in England.
And therein lies the travesty. All those contracted to destabilize Nigeria – NGOs, compromised media, corrupt politicians and lately rogue clerics – are already international travelers that only need to get to the closest international airport to relocate out of Nigeria. Some of them even hold the passports of other countries , secured for them by their handlers. The rest of us who are chanting hallelujah to their ‘praise the Lord’ would be left behind holding the short end of the stick when what they are asking for materializes. Even those who chose the silence of indifference would not be spared when it happens.
So it is our collective responsibility to ensure that Nigeria will not make the cut if President Trump ever has cause to expand the list of countries whose nationals are banned from visiting the United States. Let us make this the beginning of when we start to think of our country as our own and not an outpost that kotows to the dictates of some foreign overlords.
Agbese writes from the United Kingdom.