A lot of people in Nigeria are wondering why the United States of America showed so much interest in the incidence of the human life right violation of Omoyele Sowore by the DSS, while she showed little or no concern when the same treatment was meted on Nnamdi Kanu by the same DSS. Now with regard to the issue of these disparate responses of the United States, it should be noted and clearly so that, although Kanu and Sowore by all international standard are Freedom Fighters, they are nonetheless involved in different categories of freedom fighting.
Sowore is fighting despotic rule pure and simple. He is optimistic that Nigeria can still work if we get the leadership right. He fought to remove Goodluck Jonathan. Now he is fighting Buhari, the same man he helped bring to power. Nnamdi Kanu on the other hand is convinced that the “born-to-rule” psyche of the Fulani can never be taken away from them no matter how hard we try. For Kanu, the continued existence of one Nigeria is just postponing the evil day. The indices of failure are everywhere. Nigeria is bound to collapse, so any effort to disintegrate the doomed state is in the right direction.
But why did the US respond differently to the plights of Kanu and Sowore? Well that largely has to do with the foreign policy of the United States of America. The foreign policy of any state is the pattern of behaviour which the state adopts while dealing with other states in the international political scene. This policy is determined by the set national goals and interests of the state in question. These goals and interests are structurally arranged in a pyramidal form akin to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
For most Western Nations, and especially for the United States of America, Economic Sustainability and Inviolability sits at the top of this pyramid alongside internal security and territorial integrity. The pursuit of International Human Right and Global Peace ranks only second. So, if the pursuit of human right does not impact positively on her security and the economy, the United States will shy away from such an adventure.
That was the case between 1967 and 1970, when despite the obvious international humanitarian situation in Biafra, the United States stood on the side of the Nigerian genocidists. The reason for this stance was simple. There were no diplomatic assurances from Biafra that a new nation by that name will guarantee a boost in the Gross National products of the United States. Neither was there any inkling of hope that a new sovereign nation in Africa will help check the security threat coming from USSR’s Russia and the Eastern Bloc.
Rather the Biafran secessionist attempt was jeopardizing an already existing oil exploration and extraction contract that the United States consortium, Chevron had with Nigeria. Economy has remained the driving force of international politics.
It is pertinent to state at this point that the emergence of a new country is not a child’s play. Every time a new sovereign state is created from an existing one, the international political arrangement is re-aligned. New treaties and obligations are created, and with these follow a significant shift in the World Order.
For this very reason, Western governments do not favour the creation of new sovereignties especially from Africa. Anyone that has a grasp of the ‘Dependency Theory’ will understand that the present economic interest of America favours a United Nigeria. For this reason, any “reformer” that advocates for a strong United Nigeria will court the momentary admiration of the US. And Sowore personifies this position. But this is a short-run palliative opium application that has little to do with the collective fight against internal injustice in the Nigerian system. Unfortunately, and pitiably, this is not the concern of the United States.
What many people do not understand is that the international community is ‘not’ paying attention to Nnamdi Kanu. They are rather paying him ‘Intelligence Attention’. The reason for this is that Biafra is not a none-entity. Biafra has a history and was on international maps of the 17th 18th and 19th centuries. Biafra is also listed among former sovereign Nations in the UN annals.
So, when you hear people say that Biafra is dead and buried, you are listening to neophytes of international politics, because it is an established fact that once the consciousness of a former political entity surges up among the people, the international community is put on red alert. This was the case with Italy at the close of the 19th century and with Eritrea not long ago. Therefore, Nnamdi Kanu and the emergent Biafra project is no less an international political concern that should be handled with a lot of caution.
Leaders of the world would not like to meddle with Kanu and send a premature signal of a De Facto Diplomat Recognition of Biafra. Diplomatic Recognition in International Politics is a unilateral political act with domestic and international consequences whereby a State acknowledges an Act or Status of another state or government in control of a State.
Thus, even a single mention of Nnamdi Kanu as the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra by say Donald Trump, could be interpreted internationally as a De Facto Recognition of that political entity.
That is why the reference to Biafra made in February 2016 by Pope Francis after the Angelus prayer on the 28, has not ceased to receive International attention even today. The same also is the case with the passive reference made by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in April 2017 during the Holocaust Memorial Lecture. Hence, the United States of America is just being cautious not to give too much to Biafra prematurely.
Although Nnamdi Kanu seems to resurrect the old apprehension of economic loss for Western Powers, these same powers are not in a haste to crush this new Biafra manifestation like they did in the 60s. At present, Kanu and his group seem to be winning a silent international diplomatic game, the kind that Ojukwu did not master in the 60s.
Therefore, should a new Biafra present a better economic growth prospect to the West; a prospect better than what Nigeria is presently offering, and should the new Biafra not pose a significant tilt in the political balance of the world for the foreseeable future, Nigeria will be history. But the path to this is no child’s play. That is why a number of Nigerian intellectuals seem to support the view that Nnamdi Kanu is hallucinating. But we know that he is not.
What Sowore is offering represent the position of the elite and the academic class of Nigeria especially the Igbos. For them, A WELL-STRUCTURED FEDERALISTS’ NIGERIA is what we require at the present moment. But this is a higher level of hallucination. Because the Fulani Oligarchy, the real owners of Nigeria properly understand that a return to Regionalism is like kissing Nigeria goodbye. And they would rather spilled blood than let that ever happen.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media