OBIDATT2023 Showdown Music Concert

OBIDATT2023 Showdown Music Concert

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Begging America For Arms

Nigeria, Nigeria. The leaderless nation. Yes Men occupy the posts where real leaders should be and these money-grubbing members of our nation’s “leadership” will do anything to get their next paycheck. Professor  
Nigeria Ambassador to the US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye , the Nigerian ambassador to the U.S. has proven to be ignorant and he is an embarrassment to thousands of Nigerians living in the U.S.
Am I mistaken, or did the Professor blame the U.S. for denying Nigeria access to weapons and equipment to fight these thugs and hooligans who call themselves Boko Haram? Nigeria is a sovereign country! It is not the responsibility of the U.S. to provide us with the weapons to fight riffraff on the streets of Nigeria.  It's no wonder the State Department spokesperson responded with the statement, "The US does not stop Nigeria from buying equipment from other sources.”
They are utterly oblivious and choked by a level of arrogance that has gone from being laughable to being a total mockery of the spirit and purpose of diplomacy.  Such is the state and mindset of Nigerian leaders. Just so we are clear, Adefuye is the same person who ignored influence and brilliance of the thousands of Nigerian Americans currently residing in the U.S. and opted instead to fork over $700,000 to a PR firm with no real interest in or knowledge of Nigeria just to win the favor of U.S. lawmakers. Surely, the professor could have found Nigerians already living in the U.S. who would have been willing to do it for free.
In case you haven’t heard, last week, the Nigerian Ambassador made an unsubstantiated complaint to the Council of Foreign Relations that the U.S. was wrong for refusing to sell arms to Nigeria to aid in the fight against Boko Haram.
So what! Who cares if the U.S. refuses to sell arms to Nigeria? It is not their responsibility to take on Nigeria’s school yard bullies, especially since Nigerian leadership is not truly making an all-out effort to stop Boko Haram’s reign of terror.  What, exactly, did the Ambassador expect the Council of Foreign Relations to do about it? Were they supposed to step in and point their finger at America and reprimand it for not helping Nigeria out as if Nigeria is some sniveling child whining for help from an older sibling? The Ambassador did not even have the balls to inform the State Department in advance. What an embarrassment.
Please don’t look at this as a personal attack. I actually happen to know Professor Adefuye personally. In fact, I have had a lot of interactions with him over the last eight years and I think he is a fine gentleman. He comes across as a fine gentleman. But he still suffers a disease many Nigerian leaders have and that is supreme arrogance. Arrogance is why Nigeria is the way it is. It is arrogance that leaves a country like Nigeria in darkness when smaller countries with fewer resources have electricity 24/7.
You know, I spend a lot of time talking and writing about Nigeria. Whenever I tell people the country has no electricity, they are stunned and they always want to know why. How can an oil rich country with nearly 180 million people have no electricity? It’s a jarring idea and it’s embarrassing for Nigerians! I know some Nigerians will offer me a harsh rebuke for publicizing our weaknesses, but they know as well as I that Nigeria isn’t in a strong economic position and it’s our fault. We elect the leaders. We tolerate their mediocrity. We hope for better days instead of demanding them. It’s madness!
Instead of harping on the U.S. for not providing a handful of guns, why aren’t we working with the U.S. and taking America up on its offer to provide $2 billion in funds for Nigeria to build its power infrastructure? Now, this is an offer the U.S. made more than four years ago that the Nigerian government has yet to act on, but weapons are the focus of the conversation between Nigeria and the U.S.? That’s insane! Insane, even for leaders who obviously prefer darkness to light.
Perhaps the problem is not arrogance. Maybe the problem is ignorance. The Ambassador would have known, or should have known that it is the citizens of the U.S that move or influence the U.S. Policy through their elected representatives. That is why Congress can approve shipment of arms to Israel in the middle of what human rights watchers have described as carnage during the last Israeli-Palestinian war. It is because the Israeli government relies on its Jewish American citizens to lobby Congressional representatives so that the U.S. will defend and protect Israel at all costs.
Attention Nigerian ambassadors around the world: If you want the favor of the U.S. government or any government, for that matter, you need to enlist the help of US citizens of the Nigerians already living and working in that country. This may seem like a foreign concept for the obstinate Nigerian government, but the U.S. is a country that actually listens to its citizens.
I have lobbied my Congressmen and women on behalf of Nigeria. I even approached the president of the United States and I was able to do that without seeking permission from Nigerian leaders. When I try to explain this concept of having an accessible, responsive government to Nigerian leaders, they looked at me like I’m crazy.  In Nigeria, the leaders are boss. They take advice from no one. When I explained the American process of seeking redress from your government, not a single Nigerian leader I spoke with got it. I have spoken with Nigerian senators, governors, assemblymen and ministers and yes, even ASO ROCK. But no one gets this concept of the government being there to serve the people. This is not the case in the U.S.
A few years ago, I picked up my phone and called Senator Boxer's office and Congressman Ken Calvert’s office. I told them I will be in Washington on a specific date and asked for a face-to-face with each of them to address issues that were of interest to me and that would benefit America. Both meetings happened… and in the middle of the Great Recession, no doubt.
In another instance, I even sent a letter to the White House to plead my case for both Nigeria and America. My Congressional representatives warmly received both me and my ideas. They gave me an audience and I explained to them the opportunity and the mutual benefit of the U.S. government providing both technology and funding to build power plants in Nigeria.   The U.S. Unemployment was hovering at about 9.5%, and building power plants in the US and taking them to Nigeria to assemble will create jobs in both countries I argued.  Several months later, the U.S. Exim Bank put $2 billion on the table specifically to build power in Nigeria. I can’t say for sure it was my letter to the White House or my visit to Congress that had a specific effect, but I am just one of thousands and thousands of Nigerians who are citizens of the US. Think of the positions they may hold in society. Think of their respective circles of influence. Now imagine if majority of them were to lobby the U.S. Government on behalf of Nigeria. I sincerely believe the result would be several billion dollars in financial support for Nigeria every year, just as Jewish Americans are able to solicit U.S. support for Israel.
In truth, we do not have to beg the U.S. government for anything! Nigerian Americans pay billions of dollars in taxes every year. These arms would have been shipped free of charge if the tax paying Nigerians in the U.S. were to lobby their representatives. The only reason Nigerian Americans are not lobbying for Nigeria is because we can’t trust the Nigerian government to do what is right or what is best for Nigerians.
I hope the Ambassador reads this article and forwards the message to his bosses back home. He should tell them Nigerians are ready, willing and able to lobby the US Government on behalf of our beloved country. I suspect the arrogance of Nigerian leaders will allow them to ignore this article and my advice. They will probably dismiss it like they have dismissed other ideas put forth by brilliant Nigerians over the years.
I am embarrassed as a Nigerian American and saddened as a Nigerian to see our leaders begging any government for anything. It is our right as taxpayers to seek help from the U.S. government.  I do hope the Ambassador has learned his lesson from the rebuke of the State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki. Nigeria is free to buy arms from any other country. We do not need permission to defend ourselves and build our country.
May God Bless America and Nigeria too. And set our leaders straight.
Let’s continue this discussion @1amazingtoyin or message me on Facebook

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