U.S. Not True Friend Of Nigeria –Ofeimun | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Cover Choice, POLITICS

U.S. Not True Friend Of Nigeria –Ofeimun

Posted: Jul 26, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Author and public commentator, Odia Ofeimun, and Chief Executive Officer of International Capital Initiative and former General Manager of Gateway Bank, John Aigbokhaode, speak with WILLIAM IGENEGBAI on what they think about President Buhari’s just concluded visit to the United States (US).



What is your comment on President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to America?

Every kind of friendship that Nigeria can build in the process of trying to change the way we run the country is a good one. The aims that President Buhari drew out for himself as reasons for going to America are, in my view, good enough. If it is only to get the looted money stashed away in America it is something to look forward to. I do hope that he has a clear aim of what to do with the money if he manages to get it. So, if you ask me, there is only one goal that he has to pursue with that money; to build rails that link all the old colonial provinces of Nigeria without exception. Every other goal should be kept hanging until he has done so, and the railways must be done in Nigeria by Nigerians.  The other one is about changing the security environment in favour of a more peaceful coexistence among Nigerians and between Nigerians and other Africans. It does not matter how he pursues it; if he can achieve it, it will be a great thing. I am, however, skeptical about so many things: America has proved not to be a true friend of Nigeria. Because when you have friendship with a country, you do not destroy that country because of a particular regime that you do not like. America has proved to be rather disruptive of Nigeria simply because of some regimes that it did not like. There is no reason the Nigerian parliament will take a decision on gay marriage, and they are pressurised by a foreign country to change it, even before it is considered. There is no reason, for instance, why Nigeria should bow to any foreign plan to force us to be mere consumers of other people’s products and goods. Now, friendship, to have any meaning, should support enhancing Nigeria’s capacity to be a player in the modern world. Any kind of friendship that stops Nigeria from being a manufacturing state is not a friendly position.

Don’t you think that in the process of America assisting us our sovereignty could be compromised?

Sovereignties are usually compromised in the process of solving problems across the border. The question is, how much of our sovereignty are we throwing away for how much good. We are not quite sure yet what the Americans will demand of Nigeria in order that they’d actually help us to solve some of the problems that we have brought to their doorstep. Unless the kind of compromise to our sovereignty that results is one that also enhances our capacity to play, then it is not worth it. Because once you have to build up friendship with other countries or go on a cross-border romance, you are bound to lose some measure of your sovereignty, because you will make concession for the other party to make concession. The problem, however, is that some concessions are lethal and toxic and I hope that we do not make toxic concessions.