By ABBA MAHMOOD —
The US became the sole superpower after the demise of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. The Americans have turned out to be very good tacticians but hopelessly poor strategists. When in1979 they created the Mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight the defunct Soviet Union, the Americans never factored in the consequences of their actions. Osama bin Laden was a veteran of that Afghan war. The Muslim world never thought of Jihad for over 100 years until America initiated one in defence of their interests to fight USSR in Afghanistan. That war gave birth to Al Qaeda that is turning out to be America’s nemesis.
A veteran KGB operative, Mr Vladimir Putin, emerged as leader of Russia out of the chaos of the post-Soviet chaos 17 years ago. He is not only an intelligence officer but a master of the Great Game. He reorganized and repositioned Russia to withstand the uncertainty occasioned by the collapse of communism. He has subsequently brought back the prestige and respect that Russia had, such that Putin is the most powerful leader in the world today. Finally, he has helped to bring to power in America Donald Trump, who is set to convert the United States to Disunited States, just as America helped to destroy the USSR towards the end of the last century. Trump is Putin’s answer to the Americans over their actions that led to the collapse of the USSR.
What is happening in Trump’s White House today is unimaginable even in Third World countries. Is it really the America that was the leader of the free world? Is it really the US that set standard for the rest of the world? Is it really the America that had the moral authority that is now being governed by such insane leader whose action in the next hour cannot be predicted? Trump has really finished America, despite its strong institutions and universal values.
Not only globally. Even here in Nigeria we are not immune to the creeping disorder. The political terrain is uncertain. No one can confidently say what the economic policy of this government is. The two main achievements of the Buhari/Osinbajo regime are fighting corruption and insecurity. Boko Haram is resurgent, which requires a new approach to tackle the menace. All the corruption cases are being lost by the government in various courts, such that it appears there is no punishment for stealing even if occasionally there are arrests.
Like in many areas, this government is failing Nigeria and Africa as far as foreign policy is concerned. It is regrettable that Nigeria under Buhari as military head of state championed the cause of Western Sahara in 1984 which led Morocco to opt out of the then Organization of African Unity, OAU, but Nigeria under Buhari as elected president is now hobnobbing with Morocco. Has the leopard changed its skin? The entire foreign policy establishment of Nigeria is opposed to this government’s current policy on Morocco but no one can say who is doing this obnoxious policy that is undoing all the principles that Nigeria has been known since independence.
When the king of Morocco visited Nigeria recently, on a lobbying trip for his country to re-join the African Union (AU), some agreements were signed between Nigeria and Morocco. Two of these agreements are of relevance to this write-up. There was an agreement for Morocco to supply phosphate for Nigeria’s fertilizer production. But, in 2002, the UN declared Moroccan phosphate export as illegal because it is being obtained in the occupied territory of Western Sahara. Last year the EU made the same declaration. Is it not a shame that Nigeria is trying to buy phosphate from an illegally occupied territory? In any case, if Nigeria wants phosphate so badly why can’t we obtain from Togo, our next door neighbour, instead of this shameful one from Morocco?
The second agreement signed between Nigeria and Morocco that is of relevance to this article is the one on Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP). Nigeria had earlier signed an agreement with Algeria and Niger Republic on the same TSGP, and that is more direct and straight to the European market than via Morocco. Shamelessly, Nigeria signed this agreement to divert the TSGP to Morocco instead of Algeria. But it must be noted that Algeria is not only committed to the Black African struggle but has been one of the top five contributors to the OAU/AU funding over the years. Morocco, on the other hand, is so disruptive of the African cause and had even unsuccessfully applied to join the European Union. Why are we so myopic?
To make matters worse, Morocco had applied to join the ECOWAS and was, in principle, admitted by the last ECOWAS Summit in Monrovia! This government has so far not objected to this move that is obviously against Nigeria’s interests. The African Union recognizes five regional blocs as its building blocks. Morocco geographically and culturally belongs to the Arab Magreb Union (AMU). In fact, Rabat, the Moroccan capital, is the headquarters of the AMU. What mischief is Morocco up to, by joining the ECOWAS when it is not even geographically contiguous to any West African country?
In any case, for this Moroccan move to be a reality, the ECOWAS Treaty of 1975 and the Revised Treaty of 1993 have to be reviewed and amended. Morocco may enjoy the support of almost all the Francophone countries of ECOWAS but Nigeria has to oppose it because it is against the AU Constitutive Act and is meant to bring disunity and not unity. The National Assembly has to refuse ratification of all these agreements if the government cannot reverse this inimical move on its own.
At both global and national levels there is total disorder. It is my strong belief that out of this disorder a new order is about to emerge. History and life experiences have taught us that the victory of good over evil, the triumph of truth over falsehood, and the ultimate success of right over wrong is always a matter of time. And, of course, history is always on the side of the oppressed.