The national anthem of Nigeria hails the country as “one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.” But when one reflects upon Nigeria’s somewhat chequered past, it is quite clear that even when the anthem was adopted in 1978, freedom, peace and unity was more a thing of hope than reality.
Nigerians are a resilient people. And despite wholesale embezzlement of public funds, pseudo democracy and long-standing austerity measures, the average Nigerian has managed to survive — albeit by careful scrapping. But terrorism is a totally different kettle of fish. Since 2010, the terrorist group Boko Haram has sustained a steady campaign of bombings in northern Nigeria. And with President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration having very little grip on internal security, the urban guerrillas now have the country on lock-down.
With the Nigerian administration being evidently clueless on how to effectively contain Boko Haram, one wonders what then is the African Union (AU) doing about the volatile situation? Well, if Africa cannot sort out her own problems, there’s always “global rent-a-cop” ready to charge to the rescue.
The U.S. clearly has a vested interest in Nigeria. Most of us know that already know that the U.S. always closely follows the crude oil trail, just as files follow animal feces and garbage. According to Professor Paul Lubeck of University of California, Nigeria “is a major source of petroleum and natural gas for international markets, especially for the U.S., because it’s outside the Persian Gulf, it’s close to American refining, and it’s of a particular quality of oil that many gallons of gasoline could be developed from every barrel of oil.”
It is therefore little wonder that the U.S. is closely watching the situation in Nigeria. The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, released a statement on Boxing Day saying that the Obama administration contacted the Nigerian government over the Boko Haram Christmas Day church bombings, offering to help bring those responsible to book.
Strangely enough, I am always somewhat wary of U.S. involvement in global political situations. There is just too much spin, deceit, manipulation, misinformation and self-aggrandisement for my liking. Consequently, it’s quite understandable that President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is pussyfooting over whether to accept U.S. help or not. But of course, this doesn’t diminish the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan and the AU ought to step up to the plate ASAP and demonstrate true and effective leadership at such a critical time.
Nigeria the Boko Haram Republic is just as bad as Nigeria the U.S. military base. Neither is a viable option worth exploring. And as these are clearly testing times in the already chequered history of the sleeping giant of Africa, there is no better time for Nigerians to resoundingly invoke the part of the national anthem that says: “O God of creation, direct our noble cause. Guide our leaders right, help our youth the truth to know……….”