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Published On: Tue, Jun 17th, 2014

Nigeria too bad for its own good?

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By Ifeanyi Izeze

It was said last week that if Nostradamus, the man who saw tomorrow, were to live in Nigeria at this time, it would have been absolutely impossible for him to decipher how the Nigerian mind works especially those of the political class. There are certain manifested behaviours by our political class that are very difficult to explain and without mincing words, we are taking our local politics too far and it is not in the interest of either the politicians or Nigeria as a country.

The response to the media reports that the federal government has nominated the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to succeed the long-serving incumbent, Abdullah al-Badri of Libya as the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could best be described as unfortunate and at worst disgusting.

How did we get to this point of so much disdain not only for ourselves but even for the entity we call our country? Is it not funny that just because of outright political mischief and disdain for whoever is occupying whatever position, our politicians have been blindfolded on the core issues in the nation’s quest to head the oil cartel-OPEC? Is this a Jonathan or Diezani matter? And it’s not even a PDP-APC matter. This is purely a quest that bothers on the pride and image of the entirety, Nigeria especially as we want to be perceived by the committee of nations (OPEC). This has nothing whatsoever to do with whether you are in PDP, APC or any other political conscription.

Most of the comments on the report would be difficult for a sane mind to believe that they came from the same country angling to take-over the OPEC secretary general position. If this kind of hate comments can come from home, what do we expect from some other countries that may likely be contesting the slot with Nigeria?

No matter what anybody wants to believe, there is an obvious covert intention to all the negative comments and hate speeches coming from some Nigerians most of whom are completely oblivious of OPEC and its dynamics as a cartel except that they belong to certain political parties at home here in Nigeria or are from certain sections of the country. This is very bad my brothers and sisters. The issue is that the Nigerian proposal is aimed at solving the deadlock over the post created by opposing candidates from Saudi Arabia and Iran. Also, Iraq has continued to back its own candidate. Meanwhile, OPEC’s current secretary-general, Libyan Abdalla Salem el-Badri, was due to have retired since December 2012. But OPEC delegates haven’t so far agreed on a replacement, so he continues to serve in the post and his latest term in the office ends in December this year. Of course, it should be noted that while the job is largely ceremonial, it is highly coveted as it provides a platform on the global economic stage for the country that holds it. So all these bothers on national pride.

Then, if the Nigerian nomination and the country’s delegation were busy meeting oil ministers from other OPEC countries including Iraq, Libya, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to get their support, was it nit funny that the flood of hate comments and smear campaigns were the kind of home support we gave to our own candidate? Haba! Bros, make unareasonamnaah! What is wrong in Nigeria pushing OPEC to name the country’s oil minister as its secretary-general, a move those familiar with the matter said could end the long-running leadership standoff at the cartel? Tell me, would it not be a great honour for Nigeria to take-over the OPEC Secretary General seat from the incumbent?

The seventy-four-year-old Al-Badri who was also the Libyan Minister for Oil and Electricity between 1990 and 2000, has been Secretary-General of OPEC since 2007. Nigeria has only occupied that office thrice in the 54 year history of the oil cartel. The last time was 2006. M.O. Fayide was the first Nigerian to occupy that post in 1975, exactly 10 years after Nigeria joined OPEC in 1965. Rilwanu Lukman had a long stint from 1995 – 2000.

It is half-sane celebrating that OPEC delegates at their meeting Wednesday, June 11, decided to extend the tenure of Libya’s Abdallah al-Badri, the current Secretary General, until June of 2015. He was expected to step down from that post in December of this year. The good thing is that at least he will still step down one day and what is the difference between December 2014 and June 2015? And should Nigeria under any leadership- Jonathan or a new president still go for the post? That thing your mama tell you, you think say my mama no tell me too? We wait and see.

The worst thing a human can do to oneself is refusing to tell oneself the truth. And the truth is that the level of ethnic, sectional and even religious bigotry in Nigeria is fast making the concept of “One Nigeria” increasingly impracticable. And this is very dangerous for all of us as a people. I beseech you brethren by the mercies of God that we come together as one in spirit and in truth for there is strength in unity both of purpose and of mind.

Ifeanyi Izeze via


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