FEATURE ARTICLE

E O EkeSunday, July 14, 2013
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WHEN IS OBAMA COMING TO NIGERIA?

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t would seem that Nigerian leaders do not understand international politics and how the West thinks. Another way of looking at this question is to ask; does Obama need to visit Nigeria and why has he chosen to avoid Nigeria? This is because Obama failure to visit Nigeria was a conscious act. He thought deeply about it, consulted about it, weighed carefully its implication and decided that it was not right for him to visit Nigeria in his African tour. If Nigerian leaders have any regard or respect for international opinion or the image of Nigeria as a democracy, they should be worried because it is a clear sign that Nigeria is slipping in the community of nations. Obamaís failure to include Nigeria in his African tour is a serious indictment of the Jonathanís administration and the quality of governance in Nigeria. It is a measure of the contempt which western government view and now hold the Nigeria administration and Nigerians should ask questions.

Early in Jonathanís term, the west was very supportive. Jonathan visited Britain and met with the prime minister in 10 Downing Street. What should have followed is a state visit which is a sign of good relationship between countries but has not. There was expectation that Jonathan would be different. However since it became obvious that corruption has continued as the norm under his administration, the west has distanced themselves from Jonathan as a sign of their protest. Unfortunately, typical of corrupt leaders Jonathan has looked to China to spite the west. He does not seem to realise that when China finishes building anything in African countries that she leaves the manual in Chinese. He also does not seem to understand that the west have long memory.

It is difficult for western leaders to tolerate Jonathanís corrupt administration when they hold themselves up to very high standards. If they did, they may damage their own political standing at home. Even though Obama is not going for another election, he does not want to be seen fraternising with Jonathan for some other reasons which we may not know. Obama is not very keen to visit Nigeria just like he has not visited Kenya, whose current leader has a case to answer in world court of justice. May be also because he knows that the leaders of both countries are very corrupt and have consciously refused to take the steps that would address the ills of their countries. He did not visit Nigeria, because he knows that Nigerian leaders are not sincere and honest about fighting corruption, reducing the cost of government, building strong institution that can hold leaders to account and creating jobs. How can he visit Nigeria, a county where senators earn almost four times his official salary as president of United States while 70% of the people try to eke out existence on less than a dollar a day? Obama knows that criminals are in charge in many positions in Nigeria and will visit when Nigerians elect leaders who would be willing to do the right thing and seek honest solution to the Nigerian problems. Obama will visit Nigeria, when Nigeria elects a leader who will declare his assets and not allow ethnicity and religion to determine how he sees what is wrong and unacceptable.

Britain and American take corruption very seriously and spare no one no matter their position. They have corrupt politicians but they hold them to account, unlike in Nigeria where impunity reigns supreme. This is one of the secretes of their success. How can Nigerians expect Obama to visit Nigeria when people like DSP Alamieyeseigha are the confident of President Jonathan? How can Obama or any other US leader for that matter, visit a country where the president has refused to declare his assets and his wife is a permanent secretary in a state she seldom visits with helicopter. The west knows much more about the corruption of Jonathanís administration and his failure to fight corruption. They can only condemn it and show their displeasure. It is up to Nigerians to fight for the type of leadership they want. Until Nigeria are prepared to pay the price of change, many world leaders, who care about probity and honesty will continue to avoid Nigeria.

There are many more very good reasons why Obama has snubbed Nigeria one of which could be simply because Nigerian leaders are not upholding the same values and standard that the west up holds. We should all stop and think about how to help Nigeria attract people with the right values, morals, attitude principles and democratic dispensations to politics, otherwise we may be experiencing the last days of Nigeria as a united country. History only repeats itself because good people fail to the right thing. Let every good Nigerian ask himself what he can do to make Nigerian better. Those who fail to learn from history or only decide to pray in time of crisis, will wake up to realise that nothing changes until someone wants to change it. We can make Nigeria a country anybody would want to visit we work together for good. Any volunteers?

E O Eke is qualified in medicine. At various times he has been a General medical practitioner, Medical missionary, Medical Director and senior medical officer of health in Nigeria. He specializes in child, Adolescent and adult psychiatry and lives in England with his family. His interest is in health, religion philosophy and politics. He cares for body and mind.

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