We don’t deserve this Obama guy
Yes, you heard me, we don’t need President Barack Obama visiting us. Nigeria is too big a country for Obama to visit. The US government officials point to insecurity in a veiled manner as reason their highly prized president cannot step on the Nigerian soil many years after his Democratic elder, Bill Clinton, stomped the streets of Abuja and got a treat only reserved for royalties. I admit Nigeria has security challenges as does the US, UK and other nations, but wait a minute, is that why Abuja is fretting? For crying out loud, we don’t deserve this Obama guy.
What Nigeria needs now is to confront its internal fear. Nigeria will need to reboot its economy, rejig its polity and get the youths and millions thrown out of job back to work. That is what the people need, not some American president prancing into Aso Rock and holding court with our president.
Obama did the right thing by electing to visit Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa. Abuja should not see this as a slight but rather as a wake- up call to get it right. The US government had been labouring to explain why President Obama would not visit Nigeria but would address Nigerian youths via a telecast from the safety of any of the three African countries. That is needless. They don’t owe Nigerians any explanation.
The trouble with Nigerian government officials is that they live in denial. This country is unsafe, that’s a fact. This is a country where bombs had been exploding for over three years and the bombers rather than hide their dirty faces strut the streets with aristocratic hubris. We live in a country where a few people openly declared that they would make the nation ungovernable if they lose election and they have been good to their words. And in the midst of such contrived madness, President Goodluck Jonathan remained helpless, confused and even affrighted to stamp out the bombers or at least prosecute those who first served notice of the holocaust.
No, Obama must not come to a country where bombs explode on every side and the leaders, too terrified, retreat into their bedrooms. For emphasis, Obama is the president of the United States. The US has never been immune to terror. The difference is that in his country when terror strikes, the government rises to the occasion. Remember 9/11? The US government did everything to fish out the bombers and their sponsors. Terror struck in the US but the US government did not only unmask the merchants of death within the United States, it took its inquest and justified vengeance to other nations suspected to be sympathetic of the bombing brigade. At the end, 9/11 consumed Saddam Hussein and others. Just recently when terror struck in Boston, US, the government, ever responsible and responsive, deployed everything in its arsenal, subjected Boston to a lockdown until the bombers were fished out. Now, you see the difference. In US, terror is not tolerated but in Nigeria, we dine and wine with the terrorists, we garland them with national honours and serenade them with exotic dishes and wine in Aso Rock. Our benevolent President Jonathan even openly admitted that the terrorists have infiltrated his cabinet, meaning the bombers and their sponsors also profit from our national budget, benefit from government contracts and even participate actively in taking decisions that affect the nation. And our president appears helpless. Obama should not visit a country that pampers terrorists or is too afraid to tame terror.
Obama is coming from the US, the home of Halliburton. Recall that officials of KBR, an engineering arm of Halliburton admitted to bribing some Nigerians officials to win a major oil and gas contract. The CEO of KBR, Albert Stanley, got 30 months jail term for this and even paid the sum of $10.8 million in restitution under the judgment handed down in a Houston federal court. Stanley pleaded guilty to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. KBR and its parent company, Halliburton, paid $579 million fine after pleading guilty to corruption charges in Nigeria. Both KBR, Halliburton and their officials were punished by US government for bribing Nigerians between 2004 and 2005, but in Nigeria where the bribery happened and where the recipients of the bribe whom before the law, any law, are as guilty as the givers, there is a loud organized silence. Nothing doing! And we want Obama to come? He must not and should not. Obama expects the Nigerian government to punish the Halliburton bribe receivers the same way he has punished the bribe givers.
Obama is too serious a president to visit Nigeria and Nigeria is too unserious a country to receive Obama. America punishes crime, Nigeria pampers criminals. That’s the difference. America has monumental interest in Nigeria enough to attract its president here but this is beyond economic interest. It is about right and wrong; it is about morals. The Nigerian government should rethink its disposition to crime and terror and should do much more to punish both; then and only then can we have hordes of Obama hopping into the next flight to have a feel of Africa’s largest democracy and market.