Some eminent Nigerians, among whom are a diplomat, politicians and a university don have described recent United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) comments about the current political situation in Nigeria as “unnecessary meddlesomeness” in the affairs of the country.
The personalities, who also condemn the current political logjam in the country over President Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s prolonged absence and his subsequent return, however maintain that the US and UK have no right to unduly meddle into Nigeria’s affairs because it is no longer under colonial rule.
Former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Kenya, Alhaji Mahmud Yahaya condemned the US and UK comments, saying that such were unnecessary and amounted to unwarranted interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs.
Alhaji Mahmud had also served in various capacities in the diplomatic service in Western and Eastern Germany, Russia, UK, France, Canada and Niger.
“The statement made by the American Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs concerning the situation in the country and subsequent statements by the American Ambassador, Robin Sanders, and the British High Commission are unwarranted interference in Nigeria’s internal affairs.
“Granted that these countries are among our closest allies; we are very good friends of the UK and the US, but they should not be carried away to forget that we are a sovereign independent country and our internal affairs are our internal affairs. They have no right to tell us what to do or how to do it, and Nigeria should not tolerate it,” he told Peoples Daily on Saturday.
Similarly, former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa, and former National Assembly Liaison Officer, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, have joined in the condemnation.
Speaking to Peoples Daily yesterday, Balarabe Musa, who is the chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), said the advice from the two countries was aimed at portraying Nigeria as heading for political instability so as to prepare grounds for the invasion of the country as a terrorist state by America.
“It is just another means by the US and UK to pave way for the eventual invasion of the country for not only being a politically unstable nation but also a terrorist state. There is no doubt that the confusion created in the country as a result of the failing health of the president has created a lot of doubts in the minds of Nigerians.
“Though I condemn the reaction of both countries but I maintain that it would take the positive reaction of the Nigerian people to salvage the country from political crisis,” declared the former governor.
The CNPP chairman said Nigerians should not be concerned by what the US or the UK say. “But we should be concerned with the extent of adherence to constitutionality and protection of the sovereign state of the country,” he said.
Yakasai also condemned the reaction of both countries to what is happening in Nigeria, describing the action of the two countries as a deliberate interference in the affairs of the nation.
According to him: “The way the United States of America and United Kingdom have reacted has clearly shown that Goodluck Jonathan is their own protégé. It is unjustifiable that they are trying to tell Nigerians that the country’s democracy is being threatened. There is no way they can say what they are saying without having a hidden agenda. This is not the first time Nigeria is passing through what some describe as uncertain political times. We have passed through such times and have survived as a nation.”
Yakasai said the present controversy was needless since the president had made it clear that Jonathan would continue to be in charge of the affairs of state until he fully recuperates from his illness. He condemned the UK and USA for embarking on efforts capable of inflaming tempers.
“The west,” according to Yakasai, “has always seen itself as the guardian of democracy and it is unfortunate that such is presently being displayed by the recent comments of the US and UK officials. Nigerian should resist and tell them clearly that we are a sovereign state with the rights to decide what is good for us.
Dr. Kabir Mato, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science of the University of Abuja described the reaction of both countries as a negation of the principles of international relations.
“The reactions of the US and the UK are very unfortunate as it negates the very principles of international relations for a nation to interfere in the internal affairs of a fellow nation. As friends of Nigeria, the world expects the two countries to engage in efforts at resolving the present conflict so as to avoid a possible eruption of crises and staving off of future political instability in the country.
“For the USA and the UK to state that there is tension in the manner president Umaru Musa Yar’adua was brought into the country is to assume that both countries have information that is not available to Nigerians. It is this information that they have that may have led them to imply that the nation was headed towards instability,” Mato said.
The university don maintained that the views of both countries may not be unconnected to a recent prediction by a US research group which foretold the disintegration of Nigeria between 2009 and 2015.
Another senior lecturer, Dr. Ukertor Gabriel Moti of the Department of Public Administration in the same university said the comments by the two countries have shown that they know more than they saying.
“The statements by these two world powers indicate that they know more than they are willing to tell just as the President’s wife and some few loyalists are keeping the truth about the President’s health status from Nigerians. I think these two countries may be aware about the President’s ill health and his inability to continue to discharge his functions; they are also aware of the dangerous power play and the attempt to run the country by proxy and sideline the Acting President,” the university don alleged.
Meanwhile, a lawmaker, Barrister Kwamoti Laori, representing Numan constituency at the Adamawa state House of Assembly, has described Yar’adua’s return to the country as “fishy.”
According to the lawmaker, “For God’s sake, Yar’adua is the President of Nigeria and everyone can fall sick. If they had told us about his coming, we would have gladly come out to welcome him. The way they sneaked him into the country is fishy and it shows that something is wrong.”
On the President’s proclamation that Goodluck Jonathan should continue overseeing the affairs of the country until he fully recovers, Laori said it is a good development that indicates the president has confidence in his deputy.
Meanwhile, the euphoria that had greeted the empowerment of Jonathan by the National Assembly to serve as the Acting President before the return of the ailing president has given way to anger and battle cries in the Niger Delta.
The confusion and anger which had trailed the president’s return elicited responses from opposition parties, professionals, youths, among others.
According to Chief Ambrose Owuru, a former PDP governorship aspirant in Rivers and now a Chieftain of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP), “the crisis is all about power mongering and tussle in the PDP,” pointing out that it is the PDP’s attempt to super impose its constitution on the Nigerian Constitution.
Owuru told Peoples Daily in Port Harcourt yesterday that the PDP has lost control of itself and the nation, adding that this was why his party is currently in court to press for PDP’s certificate to be withdrawn and to determine whether the party actually won the 2007 presidential election.
Owuru blamed Acting President Jonathan for the crisis that has been rocking the nation, especially after the National Assembly had given him the power to act, saying, “Jonathan is not at home with his briefs, whether as Vice President or as Acting President and that is the danger facing this country today.”
“It is not surprising because both Yar’adua and Jonathan never dreamed or nursed the ambition of being president and vice president but found themselves being saddled with the job they were unprepared for by Obasanjo who imposed them on the nation,” he said.
On his part, Dr Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, media Adviser to the Rivers AC leader, Prince Tonye Princewill, said that “Yar’adua’s alleged return was an act of political deceit and unprincipled political manoeuvring’’.
Eze wondered why the president of a country like Nigeria should be smuggled into the country at the wee hours of the night under such secrecy and the media prevented from covering his return.
Dr. Ovundah Okene of the Faculty of Law, Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RUST), said “the proper thing now is for Jonathan to assume full responsibility so that the country can move forward’’.
Dr. Okene warned politicians to avoid anything that would threaten the unity of the country, saying, “We are watching, Niger Delta people are watching just like other ethnic groups with keen interest.”
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