A few days after the former Nigeria’s Head of State, late General Murtala Muhammed made his powerful speech at an extra-ordinary meeting of the OAU in 1976, he was assassinated. Late General Murtala delivered the speech in response to a letter addressed to the Nigerian head of state and other African leaders from the then United States President, Gerald Ford, opposing the Soviet backed M.P.L.A which had assumed power in Angola. But in swift reaction, General Murtala made a sudden appearance at OAU meeting and told the America’s President that “Africa has come of age… and that it’s no longer under the orbit of any extra continental power.
Murtala clearly stated “the fortunes of Africa are in our hands to make or to mar…for too long has it been presumed that the African needs outside ‘experts’ to tell him who are his friends and who are his enemies. The time has come when we should make it clear that we can decide for ourselves; that we know our own interests and how to protect those interests; that we are capable of resolving African problems without presumptuous lessons in ideological dangers which, more often than not, have no relevance for us, nor for the problem at hand…”
Over fourty years after he was assassinated on duty and his Africa’s vision stalled, the continent is yet again blessed with another similar courageous leader, and, this time an acclaimed converted democrat who has shown strong commitment to practicalize what Murtala Muhammed preached in 1976 at OAU headquarters, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ever since he was sworn in May, 2015, after the Nigeria’s historic election, President Buhari has virtually demonstrated the leadership qualities of Late General Murtala Muhammed on international stage. He makes friends across all parts of the world. From America to Europe to Asia and Middle East, seeking their supports on his three major policy programs – anti-corruption, economy and insecurity in the country.
However, about four years after he assumed office as President in the most populous democracy in Africa, the country is yet again set to decide whether to renew his tenure for another four years. But worryingly to note, there is a clear and strong emerging indications that some western powers are trying to meddling into the country’s elections.
Of course, the reason for their alleged planned interference is not far-fetched. The ‘independent mind’ of the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari to relate, cooperate with any country of his choice without been dictated, remains a disturbing trend for some circles in the west.
There is no doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari is the only current African leader who dare visited the Europe and America and categorically challenged them to return the stolen funds stacked in their land without fear of repercussion.
Also, the President did not lose sight in pursuing a redefined multilateral international cooperation with many nations on mutual benefits, including friends and foes of America. For example, last year, he met with President Donald Trump and ordered about $500 million Super Tucano aircraft from U.S to fight insurgency; then signed $2.5bn currency swap deal with China, engaged in multilateral agreement with France, Russia, Britain, India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, Iran, and Pakistan among many other countries across the world on various fronts. The president has exhibited strong and dynamic diplomatic disposition by engendering mutually beneficial relationships with many world leaders.
The successes recorded by Buhari administration on international cooperation is as a result of his doggedness and uprightness and this has yielded many benefits to the country at large – rail projects, improved security, power and economy among other numerous benefit are visible.
But recently, a Trump administration’s “New Africa Strategy”, released by the United states national security adviser, John Bolton, specifically states that “China & Russia influence in the region is threatening America’s interests and must be contained by all cost.” This simply means that Africa must remain subservient and consistently receiving orders from U.S on who and who to relate with. But for the new sheriff in Nigeria, this is no brainer.
Interestingly, many African countries are also standing up against this old mentality of the west. African nations are going close to China and Russia more and more. Just recently, over 37 Africa countries join China Belt and Road Initiative, and more and more African countries are bypassing America’s dollars to transact with China, even going further to subscribe the Asian Infrastructure Bank, rivaling World Bank and IMF. Yet, Africa’s largest nation is on the forefront of this paradigm shift to Asia, against the will of the west.
President Buhari has personally shown a rare close relation with China, seeking her assistance in helping revamping the country’s infrastructural deficit.
For the west, particularly U.S, they have found a new puppet that will agree for anything just for him to become President. Atiku Abubakar no doubt stands a best deal for the West to help dislodging other powers from engaging legitimately with the Africa’s largest economy. Atiku, whose policy is obviously crafted from the script of IMF and world bank or better still, Washington consensus is out to serve the West. Atiku has criticised China’s loan to Africa as inappropriate. He has sworn to risk inflation and float the naira, sell the nation sole lifeline, (NNPC), and grant amnesty to corrupt public officials while fully liberalize the economy.
His manifesto is a replication of 1985 World Bank’s Structural adjustment programme which was handed over to Nigeria, that eventually rendered the country ineffective for decades. Without mincing words, Atiku’s policy document is designed to please the western powers so as to influence his emergence as President.
Just like any other President in the world, President Muhammadu Buhari has his own weakness in governance, but his closest rival in this coming election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is not an alternative considering his track records and policy documents. Yet, Nigerians cannot afford to gambling into the hands of untested babblers.
As Nigerians getting set to go to the polls in few hours from now to elect their President once again, they must vote wisely, peacefully and resist any attempt to scuttle or influence the process by external powers. As late Murtala put it, “the time has come when we should make it clear that we can decide for ourselves; that we know our own interests and how to protect those interests.”