Akintokunbo A Adejumo
For the US to be building its largest yet Consulate in Nigeria, and in Lagos, what does that tell Nigerians and the World? Forget about them making money from visa applications and other consular and non-consular matters.
This is the same USA’s Central Intelligence Agency which a few years ago was said to have predicted that Nigeria will break up or disintegrate within 25 years. So, what has made the USA change its mind about their intelligence report and conclusions of impending doom for Nigeria? I really don’t know, unless the CIA has in the last 5 years reviewed and revised their intelligence reports on Nigeria, although they are still warning American citizens to give a wide berth to many hotspots’ areas of banditry, terrorism, kidnappings and communal clashes prevalent in a large swathe of the country, especially the Northeast.
We do not love or respect our country. Foreign countries have to do that for us. I just don’t know why we can’t seem to live together in peace and harmony, and all cooperate to develop this potentially great country.
Even look at our geographical location on the world map. Right bang in the centre!
Or am I getting it wrong from my point of view?
No, I don’t think I am getting it wrong. America understands our value and future more than we do. They see the potential and development of our citizens in their country, so they know what stuff we are made of. They, therefore, can predict that the future can only be great since we have now outlived their doom prediction.
We can live in harmony because many of us understand that value. Unfortunately, a few have strong rhetoric and use their manipulative skills to drive negativity and division. The majority of them are in the Southeast and Southwest; they are the ones driving the Biafra and Yorùbá nations. They have a sizeable number hoping they are right and therefore sitting on the fence. Far too many Nigerians are too cautious even to condemn them. It is this rhetoric and the visionless greed of some, nay! many politicians who want power and wealth at all costs that is driving the division.
Unfortunately, these politicians, civil servant and so-called captains of industry are protected by corruption because the government finds it challenging to provide evidence to nail them. A few of them are also insiders in government.
Are you not surprised that Tinubu was the only top politician to witness that ceremony of the US at Banana Island. The UK High Commissioner was present. Why? A day or two later, the Ambassador of France visited Tinubu at home; why? Beats me. I am not a supporter of Tinubu’s presidential ambition, by the way, neither do I, or even can I, oppose it, if he insists. The democratic process should be the determinant of that.
These countries also know something we don’t or something we are ignoring or taking for granted.
Or if the US is preparing for when the country will eventually break up, then the Consulate in Abuja will serve the Northern Protectorate while that of Lagos will be for the Southern Protectorate?
Seriously, the US and Europeans are seeing a lot of potentials and resources that we are not seeing. Like a former Israeli friend of mine in the UK would say: “Nigeria is one nation where her citizens are sitting on enormous wealth, which is the envy of many countries in the world, and they could not see it, and if they see it, they do not know the value, and if they know the value, they’re busy fighting over it”.
If we remove politics and religion that easily divides us as a people, we have the capacity and capability to become a very great nation.
Some school of thought believe such an initiative by the US Government cannot possibly be altruistic by any means. They feel it can only be strategic and intended for an end that can only profit USA ultimately. And that essentially, it suggests there’s something unique and strategic about Lagos and Nigeria, on a long-term basis, that they can envision now. Or can they possibly be envisioning the likelihood of a Yorùbá nation with Lagos as the capital ultimately in the near future?
My take on this is that do we think there’ll be a Yorùbá Nation without violence, anarchy and war and the US will be prepared to build such a huge consulate under such adverse and hostile environment and state of violence, and think when the conflagration is taking place, it would not be affected?
The USA does not do things in an irrational and illogical manner. They see a country that has huge potentials and a regional powerhouse, and they want to be slap bang in the middle.
The size of the Consulate indicates a large diplomatic squad and readiness to cater for even more Americans willing and ready to do business in Nigeria. And do not let’s forget the collection of intelligence, not just intelligence on or in Nigeria but as a hub for the whole of Africa. They’re a superpower anyway.
They have probably realised their miscalculation about Nigeria splitting up because every single death knell of the country has been rebuffed with a Phoenix-like rise from the ashes (Eric Ayoola’s phrases). Nigeria is not going to splinter or shatter for a long while to come, if ever …at least not in our lifetime.
And the Americans now see this and are willing to put their money where their brains say they should.
As for us Nigerians, we are our own worst enemies. This has been established a very long time ago during our descent into what we find ourselves now. For some bizarre, insane and mentally unbalanced way, many Nigerians do not mean their country well – another established fact. They have been conditioned by the separatists’ agitators and tribal warlords. Aside from this, our penchant for corrupt and criminal activities supersedes any patriotic or community-spirited ethos in us.
We keep on destroying the country and yet complain about the country not moving forward. What a people we are!!!!
Yet, despite the worst efforts of the tribalists, thieves and thugs amongst us, the potentials are there and the country trudges on like a determined runner exerting energy against a ferocious and energy-sapping headwind…..and keeping on and keeping on….(again, courtesy of Eric Ayoola)
We would begin to overcome many of our travails if we chose well in 2023. Specifically, electricity, security and youth unemployment and improve the national tax base in that order.
For electricity, I am clear in my mind that we need to start from basic… New generating plants (gas, water, renewable energy), new national grid, new substations and finally new Genco and Disco contracts to serious-minded and sincere businesses.
Security- State police, retraining of federal police and soldiers by internationally renowned security services. (Israeli, USA, UK), and the employment of security outfits to work with our security services in the North to wage an all-out war on terrorists and bandits.
Lastly youth employment, a serious and committed government will create millions of federal jobs that will be self-financing. So, for example, tax base increase will need an army of patriotic, committed, honest, sincere young men and women to effect this; from front line staff to back-room support. IT skills, customer service skills etc. They will register people and companies on the spot. Backed by law; if you don’t comply you are in trouble. The police will follow up non-compliance. Household registration too.
Environmental services will boom because it will become compulsory for every house in at least all the capital cities to have a wheelie bin to be collected. This will be run at state and local government level though. The environmental companies will be set up by private individuals and with patches awarded to them. They will pay licence fees to government and the people will pay them for their services. By being compulsory, it will be cheaper since cost will be spread out.
And as electricity becomes more stable, businesses will pick up, jobs created, and prices of commodities and services will be lowered.
Nigeria will be better. We just need to have more people working for, rather than, working against their own country.
God bless Nigeria.
My thanks go to Dr Gbolahan Gbadamosi, Otunba Eric Ayoola, Mr Yinka Fatoki and Mr Adekunle Babalola for furnishing me with ideas and facts in writing this article.