Secretary John Kerry’s Visit – Insensitivity, Southern Cold Shoulders, or Leadership Absentia?- Olusegun Philip Alonge

Olusegun Phillips Alonge’s post on Facebook captures succinctly the divisive tendencies or call it the actualization of Obama’s plan to aid the break up, impoverishment of southern and Christians Nigeria.

Mr Alonge captured it for the critical minds to appraise the plans of America against the Nigerian southern and middle belt.

Read Alonge as copied.

The controversial visit of the United States Secretary of State in the person of Mr. John Kerry has come and gone peacefully. It is always good to have a trusted and willing powerful ally that is ready to help come rain or shine. However, whether Kerry’s visit to Nigeria is beneficial or not depends on whom you ask.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and their southern parishioners will tell you it is a slap in the face and huge show of support for Islamization of Nigeria. The average Southerner will not hesitate to add the U.S. support for Northern superiority and domination of the country into the mix. The majority of Northerners and their governors will be quick to defend Kerry’s visit as a friendly gesture for the unity, progress, and peace of Nigeria.

I do not take issues with Secretary Kerry, the insensitivity and failure are purely on the present crop of Nigerian leaders. Secretary Kerry is free to suggest his interests in visiting with any sections of Nigeria. However, it is up to our diplomats to correctly analyze the situation, and either approves, modify, or decline Kerry’s request or invitation.

I have no iota of doubt in my mind that Secretary Kerry will not allow any foreign President or Secretary of State to meet with the coalition of the United States Republican governors in the absence of their democratic counterparts and vice versa. Only the Secretary and his hosts know why he chose to conduct a sectional visit.  While Secretary Kerry may mean well, the execution of his intent is flawed.

It is quite unfortunate that John Kerry’s United States continues to engage in a very insensitive, disrespectful and unrestrained meddling in the internal affairs of Nigeria. If Kerry’s visit just before the year 2015 general elections was bad, his August 2016 visit stands alone on the scale of sour and divisive diplomatic adventure. A man that was only a couple of swift boat commercials away from the White House in the year 2004 should know better. Secretary Kerry is a seasoned diplomat, his divisive foray into Nigeria this time around is quite uncharacteristic.

Secretary Kerry is the highest representative of the biggest democracy and the most powerful nation on earth behind the President of the United States. A diplomat of Kerry’s standing should know well enough that people will read many meanings into his ethnoreligious visit to Nigeria. Don’t get me wrong. Kerry didn’t bring ethnoreligious divisions to Nigeria, but his visit stoked the simmering divisive fire a lot more than is necessary.

Allowing Secretary Kerry to conduct a sectional visit to Nigeria questions the commitment of his hosts and the instant government at the center to the unity, peace, and progress of Nigeria. How would the northern governors and the United States feel if the Southern governors and their traditional rulers have a closed door meeting with a high-powered Russian delegation sans their Nothern counterparts? The point simply is this, flip the coin around and tell us what you see before saying there is nothing sinistrous about Kerry’s sectional visit.

I asked those who justified Kerry’s divisive visit based on Boko Haram to remember that the war against terror is waged by the Nigerian army and the tax revenues of the entire nation. Moreover, Boko Haram is a Nigerian issue. The United States cannot sectionalize it, or capitalize on it to widen the North-South divide.  It is either our absent leaders did not see the whole context of Kerry’s visit or they simply downplayed the ethnoreligious temperature of the nation just like it’s socio-economic burdens.

The United States will never allow any nation to meddle in its internal affair or sow the seed of discord amongst its citizens. Shame on the Nigerian leaders who allowed John Kerry to use the Northern elites and the traditional and religious leaders to stoke the flame of discord, suspicion, and ethnic superiority in the mind of Nigerians.

If 21st-century Nigerian governors must see a white man before knowing what do, there are no merits to our independence. Independence and sovereignty permit collaboration but not the level of Kerry’s undue interference! It is very shameful that Nigeria still depends on foreign coaching to remain afloat. What is the need for independence if a high powered foreigner must help us with governance? I agree the North must seek its growth, albeit patriotic and respectful of the feelings of the other regions.

Whethr Secretary Kerry meant well or not, he has succeeded in leaving a trail of controversy and conspiracy theories that may have obliterated the real intents of his visit. Secretary Kerry’s visit is not appropriate; it appears more like “we are with you” message to a particular ethnoreligious section of a nation that is in desperate need of unity, peaceful coexistence, and religious tolerance. Any good intentions of Secretary Kerry’s visit are a bygone; the distinct Southern cold-shouldered messages of his visit cannot be disguised.

Undoubtedly, CAN’ s reaction is over the top! Even if CAN noticed Kerry’s inappropriate visit, CAN should have spared Nigeria the grief by pressing the issues with the Presidency and the United States embassy. Conversely, one must not entirely ignore to weigh CAN’s response on the fact that according to Andy Groff “only the paranoid survive”.

It would serve Secretary Kerry and the United States, his hosts, and our absent leaders well to explain the purpose of Kerry’s visit, and apologize to Nigerians for stoking ethnoreligious fears unnecessarily.

 

Source: Facebook @Olusegun Philips Alonge.

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