Published On: Fri, Feb 1st, 2019

Introducing international dimension to local politics

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As the Presidential election inches closer, major participants in the epic battle have left no stone unturned to score political points in order to garner votes from the electorates.
Doubtlessly, majority of the prospective voters have already made up their minds ahead of the polls leaving only few undecided minority waiting to be convinced by the countless gimmicks being employed by the major candidates: incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the Alll Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
This is not however to discountenance the weight of some other parties parading candidates who have utilized several windows made available to them to prove their mettles in terms of their preparation for the great task if elected. But truth being told, the boys have been separated from the men considering the reach and entrenchment of the two formidable platforms parading the Titans.
Nothing from the substantive to the mundane has been spared in the hot campaigns, sometimes bordering on calumny and smear, by the two demagogues and their fiery followers in the race to Aso Rock seat of power. Even through the campaign has never promised to be easy considering the bile in the land, no one expected that the international communities, who are expected to be unbiased referees, would be openly wooed to join the fray.
Like in the past, especially during the infamous transition days in the military era, the West, especially the United States of America and the United Kingdom, were invited to play more than observatory roles in the nation’s politics. The insinuation that the west played more than ordinary roles in the termination of late Gen. Sani Abacha life and the inexplicable death of the late business mogul and the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election, MKO Abiola, has yet to wane.
Similarly, there were insinuations of groundswell external pressure on the former President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure the conduct of a free and fair election which culminated into his surrender even when the results of the election have yet to be officially announced. Those instigators of external interference and pressures in the nation’s politics have begun their stock in trade and only time will tell where the pendulum swings this time around.
Like in the past, the opposition elements have begun to exploit the window of foreign interest in Nigeria’s politics ahead of the next general election. While one may argue that Nigeria and Nigerians should be left to conduct their international affairs based on her sovereignty, students of international politics would argue that the world has become a global village with the west serving as watchdog for the political and democratic evolution of countries around the world, especially in the sub-sahara Africa.
They argue that Nigeria remains so pivotal to the peace of the region that the world would suffer great catastrophe if things are left to go wrong in the country. Obviously, no country in West and Central Africa has the capacity to accommodate internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Nigeria should things be allowed to go awry. They believe that had issues in Libya been well handled, incidences of terrorism would have been alien to West Africa. The whole world is now paying for the mistake of Libya.
So, it is in line with these that it would be preposterous for anyone to wave aside the western countries as mere meddlesome interlopers. Nonetheless, foreign interference should not be allowed to cross the red lines allowable in international politics. Therefore, it behoves on the government to determine what the red lines are and ensure that the nation’s sovereignty is not only ascertained but preserved.
The presidential candidate of the opposition PDP recently officially petitioned the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), France, and Germany over alleged constitutional breaches of the President where he claimed that Buhari was threatening the country’s democracy by serially breaching the provisions of the constitution and undermining organs and institutions of state in order to advance his personal interest.
The other day, former President Olusegun Obasanjo suggested that the international community, mostly the western world, should issue visa ban on any politician who is found culpable of instigating violence before, during and after the oncoming general elections. Barely 24 hours after the suggestion, the US and UK threatened to do same. This, to me, smacks of collaboration where a witch cried yesternight only for the demise of a child to be announced in the morning.
Atiku raised a lot of issues that the government should actually look into. He warned that those ‘infractions’ he identified would have strong consequences. Time has come for the government to make adjustments where needed to avoid the ‘consequences’ foretold.
Any issue bordering on the rule of law and the breaches must be addressed so that the law could be seen as blind as it should be. Due process must not be jettisoned on the platter of expediency. Where the law, as presently constituted, is found inadequate and obsolete, attempts should be made at amendments to be in sync with modern realities.
But the Presidency response on the opinion expressed by the authorities of the European Union, United States of America (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) on the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) makes a lot of sense. These friends on Nigeria may perhaps have been actually misinformed of developments in the country.
These very important development partners may not have been properly briefed on what the suspended CJN brought upon himself concerning his failure to comply with the provisions of the law by not properly declaring his assets. Countries found pillorying Nigerian leadership for being ‘fantastically corrupt’ should not raise the red flag when any suspect, no matter the status, is asked to face prosecution.
The timing is of no consequence contrary to the insinuation that the CJN must have been suspended to give room for rigging of the forthcoming elections by the incumbent party. One would have expected the trio of EU, US and UK to give kudos to a leader who could be courageous enough to fight corruption in high places and damn the consequences.

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