Re: External Assistance in the Face of Collapse of Internal Security [in Nigeria] by Jide Osuntokun

“There is nothing wrong in requesting for external assistance to beef up our military’s firepower in the face of aggression by foreign sponsored local terrorists.” — Jide Osuntokun

I found the first sentence of this beautiful essay with its many salient and relevant points on the insecurity issues in Nigeria, a bit misleading. What does Professor Jide Osuntokun mean by “foreign sponsored local terrorists”?

Prof Jide Osuntokun is a renown professor of history, author of many books and celebrated ex-Ambassador of Nigeria to Germany. He is more versed in international relations and diplomatic niceties than most people in Nigeria. It will therefore be an Herculean task for most of us, the common ‘Nigerians’, to fault any of his professorial statements.

But my curiosity was aroused when he writes that Nigeria needs help “to beef up our military’s firepower in the face of aggression by foreign sponsored local terrorists”. This statement needs a bit of clarification to help the beleaguered indigenous people of Nigeria to come to a better understanding that the Fulani herdsmen, the Fulani killer bandits, the Fulani kidnappers and rapists and the Boko Haram bloodthirsty insurgents, are all under the payroll of foreigners.

I only wish the professor would help the indigenous people of Nigeria to identify, Who these foreigners are. And to throw light on what could be the grand objectives – the raison d’etre of the foreigners for sponsoring mayhem and the destruction of innocent lives and properties in Nigeria?

However, the highlight of the essay is that the professor gives an unflinching support to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s begging proposal to the United States to move the headquarters of The United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) to Nigeria. He thinks, as long as Nigeria is able to “sup with the American devil … with a long spoon”, it is alright to move USAFRICOM to Nigeria.

He seems to be wilfully playing down the sovereignty issue of the country because there would be economic gains to the bargain of offering a military base to the US in Nigeria. And according to him, since “life is a gamble; you only win or lose and there is no point in not playing the game of life.”

With this pragmatic but amoral rationale, then nothing should stop the government from putting down Nigeria as a gambler’s chip on the betting table of the Global Casino. These are very controversial advices coming from one of our elder Statesman who has seen it all and done it all. But are we, the indigenous people of Nigeria, supposed to take these amoral political hotchpotch without critiquing the wisdom or otherwise of the advice.

Although, we can easily put the spirit of the essay and its philosophical underpinnings under what is called political pragmatism or Realpolitik — the playground of politicians, ambassadors and the diplomats of the world. But this archaic position that plays down the fundamental human rights to freedom of persons and the independent sovereign rights of nations can’t be helpful to the coming generation of the indigenous people of Nigeria. The younger generation should be encouraged to build their future on excellent moral and ethical principles regardless of the short term gains.

However, when we carefully read through the essay, we found that the professor has covered a lot of ground on the pros and cons of the security predicaments of Nigeria. It is gratifying to note that the essay mentioned the unfortunate role of “the present political leadership” that “sleepwalked into the hands of the terrorists”.

The only thing one can add to this is that, if only the professor had studied the political chaos in Nigeria more closely, he would have discovered that those behind “the foreign sponsored local terrorists ” in Nigeria and the sleepwalking “present political leadership” in Aso Rock are one and the same people.

However, the last paragraph of the essay cryptically confirmed the above assertion that the sponsors of destabilisation in Nigeria are the present Fulani Government of Nigeria. In other words, Professor Osuntokun was merely playing games with our intelligence all along.

He writes, “To come out of this coming and looming disaster of dismemberment and dissolution, we must reverse our treacherous and headlong celebration of ethnic exceptionalism and embrace the credo of universal humanity.”

But, Who are those treacherously celebrating “ethnic exceptionalism” in Nigeria? Of course, its prime mover, exemplar and arrowhead in the country is the Fulani Ethnic Nation.

Knowing what we know about the master-servant cultural orientation of Fulani ethnic group that neither believes in democratic practices on the basis of equality of persons nor in the republican principles of forming partnerships as equals with other ethnic groups, Can the Fulani ethnic nation reverse the treacherous and headlong celebration of ethnic exceptionalism? Can the Fulani ethnic nation embrace the “credo of universal humanity”?

Professor Jide Osuntokun knows these are impossible expectations from the Fulani ethnic nation in Nigeria and that is the more reason why “this coming and looming disaster of dismemberment and dissolution” of Nigeria is an inevitable reality.

If only Professor Jide Osuntokun would call a spade by its name and stopped playing the unnecessary game of diplomatic doublespeak, his message would have been better understood without any misinterpretation.

In the Spirit of Truth