The scramble for and partition of Africa which had the sinister chairmanship imprimatur of the then German Chancellor, Otto Von Bismarck is still largely responsible for many of the wars and conflicts plaguing the African Continent till date. The ill thought out partitioning fuelled by greed and mindless avarice saw many strange bedfellows being lumped together. These hastily created nations lacked one of the key attributes of a nation-state – autochthony which is the sturdy grundnorm for which nations are built as mores like a shared history, experiences and even clauses like secession, referendums and constitutional evolutions are clearly decided amongst the people.
The partition done between 1885 and 1914 is the remote cause of the sinister fallout of tribalism that has plagued many African nations and eaten deep into the fabric of the modern African State in a manner that even the worst of cancer affliction can only but imagine.
What do you make out of nations like Angola, Sudan, Congo etc that ended up having long drawn out wars which resulted in the loss of millions of lives as a result of the landmines set by the rapacious appetite of the long departed colonial masters who were determined to transform themselves into neo-colonialists and prove to the world that the ‘black savages’ would be perpetually incapable of effectively governing themselves.
Peace accords which in most cases were facilitated by prying Western Interests ensured that nations in Africa coming out of a lengthy war wouldn’t slip into another as a result of hotly disputed electoral results which in most cases see the cruel unleashing of ruthless violence on the hapless people because in Africa the polity controls the economy and the restricted economic space for legitimate advancement ensures that the polity is about the most lucrative enterprise and so the stakes are high and are fuelled as well as sustained by the blood of the innocents.
Last week, a peace accord for the peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria was signed by eighteen political parties at the International Conference Centre in Abuja which was chaired by former Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar. The presidential candidates signed a commitment to a peaceful conduct before, during and after the polls next year.
Elections as characterized by erstwhile Nigerian President and self-styled ‘peace maker’, General Olusegun Obasanjo was aptly described by him as a do or die affair. The stakes are extremely high in a near failed state that is the current reality of Nigeria once a child of promise in 1960 when the Union Jack was lowered and so to the untrained eye given the incidents of post-election violence that the country has witnessed, it made sense for this intervention to happen.
I beg to humbly disagree. Peace accords are signed by nations just coming out of a war. This so called charade would have made a whole lot of sense if it had been signed in 1970 after the Federal Forces chased the then Biafran Warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu to a twelve year exile in Cote D’Ivoire. Nigeria – a toddler still in diapers ought to have evolved beyond that level more than six decades after political independence.
Many critics of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the standard bearer of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) blasted him for not honouring the invitation to sign the so called peace accord. Some even alluded to a well circulated rumour that his health was in dire straits as he was being treated for an undisclosed ailment in a faraway London hospital. While not holding brief for Tinubu as I have never met him before and I am not a card carrying member of the APC or any other political party for that matter, I think his absence at the peace accord was a deft master stroke and a step ahead in his famed political wizardry which has seen him emerge triumphant in all his electoral battles.
How insulting to the sensibilities of Nigerians was the decision of the handlers to allow General Abdulsalami Abubakar to chair the ‘epoch making event’? Have we sunk this low in a clime that routinely emasculates its best and brightest? What are Abubakar’s antecedents to qualify him to chair such an event? Here was a man who contributed to the economic woes of the Man on the Clapham Omnibus! There was an unconfirmed report of about $2.7 billion being drawn out of the foreign reserve account between December 1998 and March 1999 as reported by the Africa Confidential Magazine during his time as the Military Head of State before he ‘handed over power’ to another ‘democrat’ in the person of his successor, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He until he clears himself in a Court of Competent Jurisdiction is an adversary of the Nigerian Hoi Polloi as his clear anti-people policy of alleged gargantuan larceny is partly responsible for their current economic woes. What about his human rights record? For crying out loud here was a man who was the Chief of Army Staff and number three man in the murderous General Sani Abacha led regime which saw the brutal murder of the presumed winner of the June 12 1993 Presidential Elections, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, Kudirat Abiola, Alfred Rewane, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Bagaulda Kaltho amongst many others. It saw the forcing into exile of Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, Chief Anthony Eromosele Enahoro, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Alani Akinrinade, Ndubuisi Kanu amongst many others. It saw the brutal muzzling of the press as fearless journalists like Dapo Olorunyomi and many others were forced into exile with many journalists coldly thrown into the labour market as media houses like Punch, Guardian, Concord, Tell, The News etc were proscribed. He cannot attempt to rewrite history by opining that he wasn’t part of these anti-democratic plots especially the failed agenda to enthrone Abacha as the nation’s life President when all the five political parties founded and funded by the State all unilaterally adopted him as their Consensus Presidential Candidate. Why didn’t he resign if he had a conscience? His colleagues Former Senate President, David Mark and ex Military Adminsitrator of Kaduna State, Colonel Abubakar Dangiwa Umar resigned from the army after the June 12 annulment and in Mark’s case fled to the UK in a self-imposed exile. Why then is this murder enabler now the poster boy for peace, democracy and good governance in the country? What happened to the likes of Rev Father Matthew Hassan Kukah or even Chief Emeka Anyaoku, the former Commonwealth Secretary-General if the charade was to be given some modicum of legitimacy and decency?
Enough of this insult on the collective intelligence on Nigerians by agent provocateurs of anarchy and malevolence!
Tony Ademiluyi is a public affairs analyst and can be reached on +2348167677075 and firstname.lastname@example.org