Thursday, September 11, 2008

In an unprecedented July move, the ICC charged Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, with genocide and crimes against humanity in relation to the murder of approximately 300,000 Darfurians. This move was praised by many around the world for its commitment to bringing an end to the Darfurian crisis and the continued murder of innocent Black Africans.
 Source: MSNBC Online

Unfortunately, Nigeria is now leading the charge to stop the International Criminal Court's (ICC) case against al-Bashir. This information was announced by the African Union (AU) Chairman and Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete, at a joint conference held in Sudan and al-Bashir was present.
In its review of the conference and announcement, The Nation a Kenyan newspaper distributed in Nairobi, noted,
President Kikwete affirmed that the AU and UN will work with the government of Sudan to realise peace and justice in Darfur and to handle the humanitarian crisis in the region.
President Kikwete expressed his appreciation for the commitment made by Sudan and President al-Bashir personally to endeavour to solve the issue of Darfur, stressing that the UN does not undermine the importance of justice in Darfur and that the AU believes that it's an important issue, but priority should be given to peace, humanitarian issues, protection of lives and alleviation of suffering in the western Sudan region. [sic]
I doubt that most Africans that hear about this move by the AU will be surprised. A staple of African modern political history is that African leaders will do what they will regardless of how it affects the future of their people. Consequently, it is not shocking to those who follow African politics that Africa's Heads of State would once again rally around one of their own. This despite the fact that AU troops, a significant portion of them being underpaid, ill-equiped yet committed Nigerian soldiers, charged with maintaining the peace in Darfur have been consistently attacked and murdered by the Janjaweed.

What is disappointing is the realization that once again, the AU did not consider the ICC case against al-Bashir an opportunity to be used to the advantage of  its reputation, the reputation of African leaders and the benefit of the victims of genocide in Darfur. Instead of announcing to the world that the AU will use its UN votes and influence (in conjunction with the Arab League) to prevent the ICC case from going forward, Kikwete and the other powers that be should have forced al-Bashir to take specific and obvious steps towards peace in Darfur.

Why did the Sudanese government not announce that it had enforced a cease fire with the government-backed Janjaweed militants? Or, that the Janjaweed had turned in their weapons?  Or, that plans were in the process to return Darfurians from refugee camps to their destroyed towns and villages so they could rebuild and start the semblance of a normal life? Instead of concrete plans on how to end the genocide and bring about a peaceful future, the AU, al-Bashir and Nigeria have once again failed the people.

What is further disappointing, and actually embarrassing, is that Yar'Adua, Nigeria's President, has apparently given permission to Nigeria's Ambassador to the United Nations to work with the AU to achieve its announced objective of supporting al-Bashir.  This despite the fact that Yar'Adua criticized Mugabe recently and has repeated, ad nauseam, his commitment to the "rule of law".  How does this move, which was not even mentioned to the Nigerian press and people by the Nigerian government mesh with Yar'Adua's "rule of law" mantra? If the ICC, a court of grand esteem that has even seated Nigerian judges as well as other well-respected judges and justices from around the world, determines that there is enough evidence to charge al-Bashir while he is a seating President, why did Yar'Adua not apply his same 'hands off' policy? Why commit Nigeria to interfering  with the international legal process when he hardly did that much with regard to the ICC required-Nigerian Supreme Court- and National Assembly condemning handover of the Bakasi region to Cameroon?
Source: USA Today 
Furthermore, considering that 45 Nigerian soldiers returning from Darfur lost their lives in a blazing car accident in Abuja, why not speed up efforts to improve Nigerian roads and speed up in specific and detailed measures, the peace process in Darfur by forcing the Sudanese government to commit to an end to genocide? Or, were their lives lost in vain?

This inconsistency by the Yar'Adua administration on this and other issues begs the question - when was this decision to assist al-Bashir made? Was it made while he was in Saudi Arabia for the "lesser hajj" or what we now know was emergency surgery for chronic end stage kidney disease? Or, was the decision made by Nigeria's Vice president Goodluck Jonathan  who apparently ran at least 2 meetings usually led by Yar'Adua while he was recovering abroad? Who made this decision exactly and how and why? This is just another consequence of Yar'Adua's mysterious health, and now Nigerians do not know who should be held responsible for this news especially as the president is nowhere in sight to speak directly to the people about this and other concerns. And, keep in mind that while Yar'Adua was away in Saudi Arabia for medical care, rumors emerged from Aso Rock that Nigeria would apologize for Yar'Adua's criticism of Mugabe, a rumor that Ojo Maduekwe quickly refuted, but a rumor that probably would not have emerged if there was not so much uncertainty over who runs the nation.

It is simply disgraceful that Nigeria is not consistent with regard to its supposed commitment to the "rule of law", democracy and peace on the African continent. But, considering the instability within the nation and the lack of transparency on the condition of the President, how can anyone expect that, at this time, Nigeria will stand up and do what is right at home and abroad?

God bless Nigeria and all of her people. May they, and all Africans, realize that they alone can require their 'leader' to do better. If not, things will never change.

If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to the Nigerian Curiosity Feed and get similar information at your fingertips!

Further Reading:
- Nigeria Darfur, Mugabe & The ICC
- Yar'Adua And The Continuing Health Issue
- The Consequences of Ya'Adua's Mysterious Health
- Talking Through Both Sides Of His Mouth
- 'Soiled Hands' & Strategy; What Nigeria Says About Democracy

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5 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

funkola said...

Amen! God bless Nigeria. we've got a very long way to go cos wen some1 is taking 1 step fwd, others are taking 2 steps back.

Frank Partisan said...

Nigeria can't move forward, burdened with its corrupt government, and capitalist economy.

The bigger picture in Darfur, is US and European imperialism, competing with China for oil. Nigeria being influenced is no surprise.

Socialism with the economy and government, run by workers and peasants, is the solution.

clnmike said...

Very disappointed in the stance taken by the AU.

Anonymous said...

It is simply disgraceful that Nigeria is not consistent with regard to its supposed commitment to the "rule of law", democracy and peace on the African continent. It is a shame that our country does not really have much clout with regards the war of resources now ongoing between China and the US. The USSR/US era created a lot of the mess we are in right now as people turned a blind eye to the corruption was became norm.

The dark side of the issue included the supposedly Muslim brotherhood support. I am hopeful that I am wrong, but if that is the case, we are in more trouble that we bargained for. Omar al-Bashir's crimes included genocide and crimes against humanity, they must be played out in court for all to see. That is his only salvation, but if this government decided to support a Muslim brother only on religious grounds, the fall out will eventually create a failed state.

In the meanwhile, Mr Ayodeji Omotade needs your support.


@ funkola: ah, a very long way to go, but unfortunately, you will be shocked at how many don't think so. Many do in fact think that things are fine and will be alright. But, the majority of my people earn less than $2 a year and their children are dying from polio, a disease that was eradicated in certain parts of the world decades ago. It hurts my spirit to see how we do ourselves the disservice of not creating a better country, but we will continue to watch Nigeria with a close eye - pointing out the shortcomings, encouraging the visible progress and suggesting alternatives that will benefit the majority.

Thanks so much for taking the time to visit Nigerian Curiosity and do swing by often. I thin you need to run for President of some country some day, your frankness on the post I read (re: American politics) was refreshing. =)

@ Renegade Eye: So nice to see you here. I read your post about Nigeria and the food crisis. It was well written and the points you made there definitely gel with your comment here about the need for Socialism.

While I understand where you are coming from, I honestly do not feel that socialism or even any foreign concept can be applied to Nigeria and succeed. Let me explain, of what I know about my history, my people had leaders charged with protecting the people. These leaders, or as my people, the Yoruba called them - Kabiyes/king, worked with a collection of elders/chiefs to enable the village to function. It was small government. The only issue might have been that there was no option for a 'recall' as has been used tactfully in the State of California, lol!

My point is, socialism might be a little more alien to us Nigerians than you realize. And, that would spell its failure. What we are familiar with is leaders running things. What we are lacking is leaders running things. There is now a complete breakdown due to the lack of ACCOUNTABILITY in a CORRUPT system that FAILS TO PROVIDE EVEN THE BASICS.

Socialism, at least the version of which you speak, could be a little to radical for the Nigerian pallete. However, a democratic system with clear checks and balances that holds every Nigerian accountable for their failures and encourages positive success is what Nigeria needs. It's basic, don't you think? Such a system, whatever it would look like, would of course employ many tenets of socialism, after all to not do so would be full hardy, but ultimately, its main goal would be the protection and the advancement of the Nigerian people.

Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by and do come back to share more of your insight with us.

@ clnmike: Yes, I am as well. But, we cannot be surprised, unfortunately. Our 'leaders' can do what thy want because the entire world is focused on too many other things to try and hold them accountable. And, if Africans themselves won't do it, then how can we expect anyone else to do it?

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. You haven't been here in a while. Don't be a stranger.

@ Beauty: Yes, Nigeria's clout is obviously limited what with our failures. Even if Yardy could not prevent the AU, in conjunction with the Arab League, of taking this action, we didn't need to participate in it, right? Our abstaining would have spoken volumes, at least to little old me.

Your point about the religious connection is one I was trying to steer away from, but I thank you from mentioning it. While I do not ever want to lend to religious tension (of which there is more than enough in Nigeria and around the world), it is quite valid to take the approach you proffered. If, for any reason, religion played a significant role in this decision on the part of the AU and Nigeria in particular, this will be one more instance of Nigeria ripping itself apart on the basis of religion and in turn tribalism.

Maybe if I bury my head in the sand, the facts won't hit me in the face.

Thanks for pointing out Sokari's newest post re: the Brutes and their suit against Omotade. It is disheartening but, if the Brutes want to go to Court, it is within their right. A bad choice, but theirs to make. I will head over to NVS to see what other updates they've got so I can talk about it next week.

Thanks so much!! And that post about KC at your blog, is the truth!

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