From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, Kaduna State University (KASU), Prof. Abdullahi Ashafa has called on the Federal Government to shift its foreign policy from African centered to citizens centred.
Ashafa, a Professor of Diplomatic and Military History made the call as a discussant on a Breakfast Discourse on “Xenophobia in South Africa: Its Origins, Trends and Remedies”, organised by History Department held in Kaduna yesterday.
He further urged the federal government to refocus its Father Christmas foreign policy as in the case of Congo, anti-apartheid, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with nothing to show, to a more rewarding foreign policy for its people.
The Don added that rather than cry over xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa, the Federal Government should make the country attractive as a destination for greener pasture.
According to him, the foreign policy of a country depends on the strength of its economy, its military and its leadership and urged the Nigerian leaders to live up to its responsibilities to the Nigerian people.
“We are living in past glories by telling South Africans our roles in their liberation struggle, which they have all forgotten and treated as event of the past.
“Our country has retrogressed and became irrelevant because we have been surpassed by countries that once looked up Nigeria as a destination for better living.
“We have been sleeping for too long, govern by corrupt, gluttonous, predatory and irresponsible clique of elite.
“We have allowed our corruption, terrorism, banditry, lawlessness and laziness, bad roads, non-functional institutions and infrastructure to define us, which allow the world to treat us as bunch of criminals.”
The professor further said: “If anything, the South African events should wake us up as Nigerian once waked up Ghana in the 1980s, with the popular slogan ‘Ghana Must GO’.
“Today, Ghana is the envy of not only Nigerians but the rest of African countries.”
He equally advised the South African Government to educate its citizens to embrace an African identity and run an inclusive government to attract more skilled Africans to create and ‘America in Africa’.
He explained that as the most industrialised economy on the continent, South Africa is the only country that could provide economic opportunities to African professionals.
The South African justice system must also wake up to its responsibilities, stressing that over 400 foreigners were killed between 2008 to date and no perpetrators were ever arrested and convicted.
On his part, Prof. Jeremiah Methuselah, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Arts, KASU, said that South African Xenophobia was not fear of foreigners but deep-seated hatred of South Africans against their fellow Africans.
Methuselah blamed the unabated attacks on fellow blacks African on economic competition, false nationalism, the feeling of superiority over fellow blacks and exclusive nature of the country’s governance.
He explained that the many years of apartheid has robed the South Africans of their self-esteem and isolated them from other Africans, stressing the need to help them out of their current psychophobia.
Another discussant, Dr Suleiman Shehu, Director, Centre for Basic Studies, KASU, noted that apartheid was abolished in 1994, but the mental effect remained with the South Africans.