The United Nations Envoy for West Africa Mohamadu Ibn Chambas from Ghana recently visited Nigeria perhaps at the invitation of the Muhammadu Buhari government and her allies including Ohaneze Indigbo that are facing increasing criticism and citizen frustrations for the myriads of failures and what is increasingly looking like a hopeless bleak future.
Let’s quickly point out that this is not the very first time the UN Envoy has visited Nigeria. He was here shortly after the election victory of President Buhari and met with him behind closed doors in his private home in Kaduna prior to his swearing in as President and Commander in chief.
Mr. Chambas who share similar name with the President Mohamadu Buhari appears to be a personal friend of PMB and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just like our own Anglican ArchBishop Justin Welby of Church of England is one of PMB’s stauchest allies and defenders.
Mark my words, in no distance future this so called head of church of Englabd will touch down on our soul in what maybe designed as a Christian visit of the Anglican Pontiff. Anglican faithfuls will line the streets and sew uniforms with Justin Welbys images and stand in the scorching tropical heat in welcome of this Political religious leader, but unknown to them that the former Elf oil employee may actually be here at the invitation of his bossom friend and ally President Buhari. This government and their allies from South East led by Ohaneze Ndigbo will make big deal out of it, and even make it look as if Buhari has converted to Christian faith. Watch this unfold as we near 2019. Of course Nnia Nwodo will be in the line up of the photo ops with his conspicuous red cap of Igbo of symbol of authority. It is not far fetched and it is allowed. But even this like the recent Chambas visit will also not suffice.
Mr. Chambas we must all bear in mind is a diplomat. There’s only a thin line between diplomacy and deception. Record will reveal that most diplomatic pronouncements and actions take the tone of less antagonism and by default tilts toward the established constituted Authority of the day. The Ambassadors and Embassy officials will never criticize the government that gave them accreditation letters , it is not done.
As Ambassador Obiazor once said; the rule of thumb in diplomatic community is that you don’t go domestic. You don’t openly criticize the sitting government while in their dormain. But a different and true report to home office always tell a different and true story. So, Chambas visit or not the true story is domiciled with the United Nations.
This is all part of the due process and diplomatic imperatives that has led so many non discerning leaders and their supporters to their ultimate dooms , especially despots and dictators. Tripoli and Baghdad during Saddam Hussain and Gaddafi was a favourite destination for diplomatic shuttles, but in the end, Okonkwo in things fall Apart still threw the cat. When the time came, they met their waterloo, and non of those tongue wagging diplomats could save them.
Why am I saying these things??
Am simply being dismissive of the so much hyped up visit of Mohamadu Ibn Chambas if you will. In my view, it is an inconsequential symbolic move that may not go beyond the diplomatic formalities especially coming from Mr. Chambas a personal friend and admirer of the current President Buhari. Infact, contrary to the polular opinion and reaction out there, I sense certain level of desperation.
What exactly do we expect? For him to arrive Nigeria and be hosted to a dinner by the leadership and he’ll brief the press in a way that will cast his friends and government of the day in bad light? We expect him to say the truth that they are fighting to kill with his help. What then is his reason for coming?
Let’s not also forget that certain things may be lost in translation. Mr. Chambas primary diplomatic assignment is in the area of regional peace and security. He is Infact more interested in containment of Boko Haram and other restiveness in the Sahel region. Infact, some of the things he said while here completely negates what his UN portfolio indicated.
One obvious game that is usually played by increasingly unpopular government and leaders is to seek to be in the company of other big names that convey certain political authority, moral force, or popularity with the masses. It could be a sports or entertainment icon, A leadership or even religious personality as Chambas personifies.
We see this most frequently when most Western leaders run into trouble and their approval ratings are tanking and depreciating by minutes. Former President Clinton repeatedly begged former President Nelson Mandela to come to Washington when he was facing near impeachment from Monica Lewinsky scandal. If Mandela can not make it President Clinton himself will go or he’ll send his wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea to South AFRICA to be seen with the global moral Authority and embodiment of truinph of human spirit.
Atimes, these visits are private and merely symbolic, but it does the trick on the minds of the unsuspecting public.
Former Head of State Gen. Sani Abacha did the same thing as so many big wigs visited Abuja including former Minister Loius Farakhan of the US Nation of Islam. The U.S Senator from the State of Illinois, Carol Mosley Braun also was a guest at Asorock villa. And like Chambas she buried her head in the sand like Ostrich pretending ti be oblivious of what was playing out under late Abacha’s regime. Needless to add that, that her singular visit to Gen Abacha when the world was isolating Gen Abacha’s government completely ruined her political career. When she thought people have forgotten, they reminded her when she came up for reelection, as she was resoundingly defeated.
So, people like Chambas actually are taking a political risk by dabbling into what is clearly a very serious domestic crises in which the government openly before the global audience unleashed mayhem on civilians in the South Eastern parts of the country. This the area we must look into. We must look into what the UN human rights commision says. We must also look into the areas of protection of right of indigenous people. There are so many other UN agencies and affiliates that their position and pronouncements clearly contradicts Mohamadu Chambas insensitive gloss over of what is playing out in Nigeria today. But then , it is incumbent upon us to act and not just get upset about his incentive behaviour and preoccupation with image laundering of his friends.
The fact that he completely and careful eschewed all the recent incidents; his silence connotes and imply a tacit endorsement of such brazen actions.
And I may not be a diplomat by common sense dictates that such is not what the UN stands for. Infact, it is what it stands against,
So instead of getting worried about what Mohamadu Ibn Chambas said or did not say while here, instead of worry about those who exploit his visit for photo ops to buff up sagging polularity and image, we should confront Mr. Chambas as other people he equally represents and ask him if it was chickens that were massacred in the South East, or he’s not aware of it? Whatever answers he proffers go to the records.
We shall no longer allow people who took political risks by dabbling into such domestic unpopular issues to get away with it.
There must be a way and manner the likes of Mohamadu Chambas could be made to clarify such visit and remarks he made that so many are leveraging on including Ohaneze leadeship and trying to gain mileage out of it.
This is absolutely necessary so the next time, another biased reneged diplomat or leader will come here, they will think of the fall out and the consequences of their actions.
That’s the way empowered and outraged people actually and respond to high tech deception such as the one engaged in by Mohamadu Ibn Chambas.