Last month, Chimamanda Adichie, the globally-acclaimed Nigerian novelist, wrote a letter to Joe Biden, President of the United States of America, calling him out for his government’s seemingly tacit support to the electoral heist that took place in Nigeria between February and March 2023.
Though the POTUS, was yet to make a personal call on the election, Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, had along with UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, congratulated both Nigeria and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was declared winner of the February 25 presidential election, a development, Adichie frowned at, saying the US, ought to know that the exercises were nothing but a sham.
Days later, she further explained the raison d’etre for writing the letter, when she told Arise Television that one of her main purposes, apart from relating what she knew about the polls, was to expose the US hypocrisy. “I wanted to call out the US for what I consider the two-facedness when it comes to Africa.
“The US has a long history of complicity in non-democratic elections on this continent. Recently, in Congo, two or three years ago, they endorsed an election that was an absolute sham. Then, the same US will turn around and criticise Congo for not being democratic. So, my point was to say, be what you say you are. You cannot cricise African countries for being undemocratic, while at the same time endorsing something that is quite self-evidently, undemocratic.”
Nothing adumbrates this position more poignantly than the revelation that the same Blinken, is already negotiating with Tinubu on how his government would relate with Washington. The two were said to have spoken on phone for 20 minutes on Tuesday. In the move, said to have been initiated by the senior American official, he reportedly emphasised that “democratic and peaceful Nigeria is important to the United States as it is to Africa.”
Mathew Miller, US Department of State spokesperson, said his boss also pledged his “continued commitment to further strengthening the U.S.-Nigeria relationship with the incoming administration, adding: “The secretary noted that the U.S.-Nigeria partnership is built on shared interests and strong people-to-people ties and that those links should continue to strengthen under President-elect, Tinubu’s tenure.”
Nobody needs the skills of a diplomat to understand that these are bland niceties, which have probably been repeated a thousand times to different countries, particularly in Africa on on auspicious occasions. The meat is in what was actually discussed between the two that was left unreported. That is what represents the “American Interest.”
For the naïve and uninitiated, when American or most, if not all, Western countries talk about promotion of democracy and stability in Africa, what they really mean is a government made up of officials that would never dare upset the apple-cart in terms of ensuring that Africa retains the short end of the stick.
In this case, American interest is a metaphor for ensuring that Nigeria maintains the status quo of bad governance, poor management of the economy and bad behaviour of government officials. That is the only way to guarantee that a substantial quota of the Nigerian commonwealth ends up in US cities willy-nilly.
Now picture this! Blinken’s conversation with Tinubu, came a day after the selfsame US announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerians who allegedly disrupted the recently concluded elections in the form of voter threats, results manipulation, physical violence, and other activities that undermined democracy. Imagine the contradiction!
In other words, he knows quite well that the Tinubu he was speaking to came out of an election that was fraught with irregularities and in fact, totally wounded. Yes, he would be or ought to be completely seized of all the facts to the rottenness of the entire exercise. In fact, apart from the hidden cameras of undercover US agents in Nigeria, which would have put every details, including those not known to many Nigerians, on his table, the official reports of observer groups, from the same US, which were quite emphatic about what went down election, would have told the complete story.
Yet, the same person and the people whom he represents, think it does not matter – the same people that are quick to blow their own trumpet of being the biggest democracy in the world. How contradictory! But then, only the naive and imbecilic would fail to understand the rationale.
How else could they exert control over Tinubu and Nigeria under him, if there is nothing to hold against him, if he were elected as the true choice of Nigerians? That is the snag. Fela Anikulapo, saw it long time ago, when he described how they would promote one unscrupulous person from a country, make him so rich and use him as a conduit pipe to milk his people.
Else, which other candidate in the 2023 presidential election presented the type of negative vibes seen in Tinubu? A clearly nebulous past, a shaky present, marked by obvious signs of ill-health and incapacity? Was it not in the same America that Tinubu reportedly forfeited $460,000, reportedly linked with drug business? What could be more damning than such an outcome, with drug being one of the greatest crimes in the US?
Indeed, only an African President, in this case Nigerian President looking for validation that would likely look the other way when economic and social robbers invade his country to commit their heist, knowing that they have enough to blackmail him with, would be ideal.
No Nigerian leader would smell roses before America or the West, by not only talking about it, but manifesting the actual propensity and capacity for ending oil theft in the Niger Delta, which accounts for its attaining the unenvious status of the poverty capital of the world at a time when other oil-producing countries across the world are smiling to the banks.
In fact, such a person instantly becomes not only a person of interest, but an enemy that must be stopped. If a Nigerian President presents the capacity to actually end insurgency in the country, how do the US weapons factories survive? If a Nigerian President decides to promote made in Nigeria vehicles and stops acquiring the latest cars minted from the factories of the US and Asia, where else do they sell them?
Would they be going to Scandinavian countries to sell the latest jeeps when their Presidents go to offices on bicycles. Would the West or America readily applaud a system that would prevent the son of potential Nigerian President from buying a £11million house in the UK, or another from riding a $500,000 motorcycle out of the gates of the Presidential Villa, for which Nigeria is suffered to treat him abroad with scarce foreign exchange in cases of accidents with the same machine?
Who else would sustain the economy of the US and Europe, if African government officials no longer steal their countries dry and stash the money abroad? How could anyone threaten a system that would ensure the steady flow of stolen money from Aso Rock officials, their thieving counterparts in the National Assembly and other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to the US and hope to get kisses from Washington? Recently, Nigerians saw one Minister in the current government jogging out of one of his houses in the US and boasting to the whole world that it was one of the least out of his several houses there, though, as usual he claimed that he did not acquire same with public funds. However, ask him how many American in his shoes ever owned a hut in Nigeria or could even afford one.
No! Blinken, would never have called a Nigerian President that would boast of his capacity to run the country without foreign loans. The attitude would have been different. If such a person were to emerge, even by accident, especially with the sort of stories surrounding the criminal electoral process the whole world spoke about in that of February 25, it would certainly have been a different kettle of fish.
Till date, many believe that John Magufuli, the fifth President of Tanzania, died in office in mysterious circumstance in 2021, because he refused to pander to foreign interests, including collecting foreign loans, rather than the COVID-19 complications to which it was attributed. Such is the level of treachery that surrounds the issue of not only the US, but the West, in terms of their relationship with Africa.
In fact, the West, which embraced the late Mobutu Sese Seko, of Zaire, later Congo Democratic Republic, after the brutal murder of Patris Lumumba, were the same people that ensured his ouster after they found no use for him any longer. Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, went the same way, simply because he decided to cut off excesses and lavish government lifestyle in favour of low profile template that at least limited the country’s scarce resources from being spent in purchasing exotic cars and other items.
Most recently, it was the turn of Mommar Gadaffi. Latching on an uprising, suspected to have been induced from outside, which led to his brutal murder, Libya, a country that was so rich and stable that not only education and healthcare were totally free, but young couples were given free homes under the same Gadaffi, has now become a massive killing field, promoted by warlords that have carved fiefdoms for themselves, using weapons supplied them from foreign factories to prosecute their bloody wars. As this goes on, America, Britain and France, which ensured this, have since returned home to watch from their bedrooms, to watch the bedlam in Benghazi, and Sirte, content that with no one now in charge, they could conveniently milk the riches of the country unchallenged. Mission accomplished!
As part of the booty, for helping Libyans “under bondage of a brutal dictator liberate themselves,” the $500billion Libyan money in foreign banks, were since confiscated and shared among themselves, alongside other billions of dollars worth of assets belonging the country, while the “liberated” Libyans now stew in their own juices.
The pity, is that most people who celebrate Blinken’s call to Tinubu today, are as blind by personal interest as the Libyans who went to the streets to welcome the Americans believing that it was all about them. They believe that it is about love from Washington, forgetting that a cockroach will never find justice in the court of lizards.
Wait till when Tinubu decides to assert himself, assuming the spirit of God enters his heart and he decides to serve Nigeria instead of the US interest by turning the country around. That’s when the true image of Blinken and the US would be made manifest. Because for Washington, as in London or Paris, Africa must die for US to live.