Perspectives On Afrinationalism, Afripreneurs And Africapitalism | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Perspectives On Afrinationalism, Afripreneurs And Africapitalism

Posted: Jun 17, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Magnus Onyibe, a development strategist and futurologist, in this concluding part of a two-part article, suggests that it is time for Nigeria to have a paradigm shift with regards to Africa as the cenctre piece of her foreign policy.

Incidentally, it was General,Muhamadu Buhari as a soldier, who following public outcry against the infamous ‘Austerity Measures’ introduced by Shagari’s regime, on December 31,1983 embarked on a rescue mission by ousting the Shagari government and now under similar circumstances of threat of economic collapse owing to sharp decline in oil price , president Buhari has once again mounted the saddle of leadership of Nigeria but this time as a democratically elected president for another rescue mission.

Regrettably, unlike USA which recouped the cost incurred in liberating Kuwait from lraq’s annexation through proceeds from future crude oil sales, Nigeria made all the sacrifices without bargaining on how to recoup her investment after the liberation struggle for Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Like oil rich Kuwait which USA stopped lraq from grabbing through the first gulf war, the southern African region is also richly endowed with the world’s most sought after precious gem stones and resources, yet Nigeria failed to recoup her investment after helping to restore hope and dignity to the majority black population in the countries and steer them from imminent self annihilation. Aside from not receiving financial reimbursement, on a visit to South Africa and Zimbabwe, no streets or monuments are named after Nigeria that made huge sacrifices for their freedom.

Neither was Murtala Muhammed, who as Nigeria’s head of state ,single handedly roused Africa into the action of liberating southern Africa region with his “Africa Has Come of Age” speech nor  Olusegun Obasanjo, Murtala’s successor, who  tightened the pressure on western powers as well as other Nigerian apartheid icons, especially Nigerian workers who made the sacrifice of allowing government to deduct their salaries as their contribution to funds supporting the struggle for the liberation of the frontline states, accorded any recognition in any shape or form.

Contrarily, monuments are named after the region’s freedom fighters and presidents such as Samora Machel, Jonas Savimbi etc. As someone once pointed out, not leaving Nigeria’s legacies in countries where she made great human and financial sacrifices to rescue the people from oppression is akin to going to the moon without placing a flag there? The USA  learned from the mistakes of Great Britain which in her hey days, embarked on empire building spreading as far away as Australia , India and Africa- nations now referred to as Commonwealth countries, and became bankrupt when she could no longer shoulder the administrative cost of the expanding empires.

To properly focus America’s foreign policy and avoid incurring unnecessary burden similar to Great Britain’s experience, American government introduced the Monroe Doctrine, named after a former president, James Monroe who originated the policy.

Monroe doctrine of 1823 stipulates that the USA would not embark on unnecessary empire building and would not allow Europe, particularly Spain continue to encroach on territories in the Americas.

It has since added consideration of economic benefits before embarking on any military or territorial adventures with a view to recouping her investments or reaping economic gains to the doctrine which has remained the cornerstone of America’s foreign policy. Put succinctly ,political and economic interest are the cardinal objectives of USA foreign policy hence she bargains for recoupment of costs of engaging in international military intervention in a country like oil rich Kuwait and would not intervene in poverty stricken Rwanda or Sudan in Africa.

This pragmatic and somewhat Darwinian approach is underpinned by the MONROE doctrine of 1823. Unlike USA, Nigeria clearly did not apply the principle of cost benefit analysis before engaging in the rescue mission to Zimbabwe and South Africa, instead social responsibility was Nigeria’s main consideration/driving force and this attests to Nigeria’s big brother posture in Africa.

As history has a way of repeating itself, especially if a wrong is not identified and corrected, Nigeria has after the first coming of General Olusegun Obasanjo as military head of state in the late 1970s, embarked on two other military misadventures in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Re-enacting his usual sense of valor, president Obasanjo returning in 1999 as a democratically elected president, through the platform of ECOMOG intervened in civil wars in those countries at great financial and human cost to Nigeria. A window of opportunity to correct the previous mistakes of fruitless investments in the liberation of southern African region of Zimbabwe and South Africa by bargaining to receive payment through proceeds realized from the abundant gold and diamond deposits in Liberia and Sierra-Leone also eluded Nigeria as political leaders failed to negotiate with both countries to pledge the precious stones deposits in their countries in return for the funding of ECOMOG which Nigeria practically bankrolled.

Annoyingly, Nigeria’s interventions in the crisis in Africa is not confined to south Africa, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Sierra-Leone but it also extends to Somalia and Sudan amongst others and all these were carried out at great costs, yet most African countries particularly the ones she helped unshackle from the yoke of white minority rule are averse to Nigeria becoming a permanent member of UN Security Council on behalf of the continent.

One would have thought that the very glaring dire financial burden of previous actions would deter continued reckless pursuit of the 1963 OAU founding fathers mandate without factoring in national interest but it appears our politicians were just embarking on those costly and barren adventures for the thrill.

Unfortunately, those reckless military and territorial adventurisms which have constituted a huge drain on Nigeria’s treasury seem to have remained the bedrock of Nigerian foreign policy despite haven proven time and time again to be a counterproductive policy.  This is why; President Buhari must interrogate why ‘Africa as the centre piece of Nigeria’s foreign policy’ anchored on or derived from the principles for establishing the OAU in 1963, seem to have become immortality.

The unbridled and ill advised AFRINATIONALISM oriented adventure being exhibited by our political leaders is quite the opposite of what Afripreneurs are doing via AFRICAPITALISM which is driven by principles of investing in wealth creating activities for shared prosperity of the people of the continent culminating in the slowly but surely growing profile of Africa compared to other continents in the global arena.

I’m alarmed and piqued that lssa Aremu, in his seminal article, may be inadvertently nudging President Buhari in the same old direction of investing time and resources on regional conflict interventions in consonance with OAU vision without expecting to earn tangible economic returns on investment and that would amount to a repeat of the old foreign policy missteps.

The usual civil service operations manual/template which does not entail cost benefit analysis but premised on the mission of providing  free social services, seems to be the formula being applied in Nigeria’s foreign policy initiative and it is unwise and out of tune with modern trends in international relations. If we don’t want Nigeria to become bankrupt like Great Britain in her days of empire building, it is time we introduced a policy similar to the Monroe doctrine practiced by USA to save Nigeria from future financial and human catastrophe that previous crisis interventions have wrought on our dear country.