The War In Ukraine And Its Impacts On Africa (1)
On February 24, 2022, after weeks of diplomatic talks, Russia decided on what many thought unlikely. Even as the intelligence community in the West sounded alarms about the occurrence of an invasion, there were doubts that it would happen. Putin wanted the attention. He needed NATO to stay far beyond his borders. The world needed to know that Russia, by virtue of its nuclear power status, could press its demands in the manner of the collapsed Soviet Republic. These were expert opinions, but if there is one thing that Russia has proven by this war, it is that drastic actions, ones that escape the borders of predictability, will play a heavy role in crafting a new world order. And, as always, Africa will be an integral party.
Most of the works on the impacts of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on Africa focus on the economic and political aspects. There is little reference to the historical logs that will dictate future relations nor the nuances in the economic and political sectors. Therefore, this work will attempt an in-depth analysis of the impacts of the conflict on Africa, focusing on existing dynamics in these countries themselves. It will explore the economic interactions of Africa with Europe, how they might be affected, and the hypocrisy in the West’s treatment of the war.
Economic Impacts of the War in Ukraine on Africa: A Country-by-country Analysis
To understand the economic impacts of the war, it is important to note the scale of trade relations between African nations and the warring parties. Thus, this section will examine countries whose ties are critical to maintaining internal stability. It also includes the opportunities for certain African countries in the conflict.
Egypt’s relationship with Ukraine and Russia settles deep into the core of its economy. Its ties with Russia intersect with its foreign policy objectives, especially in relation to the West. For Russia, the North African country is an integral part of its anti-west policy. Relations go as far back as the 1950s, during which Russia supported Egypt on economic and military fronts. A notable instance is the Russian engagement with Egypt on the construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1964. Then, Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, had joined his Egyptian counterpart in throwing granite rocks into the Nile. This symbolized the benefits of a relationship that spanned several years until the expulsion of Soviet officials in the 1970s. And till the end of the Republic, interactions were at a low ebb between both parties. The reawakening of the Egypt-Russia relationship came about in the twenty-first century when Russia began to re-establish old friendships. Leaders on both sides have been welcoming to each other, with a bold understanding of their individual gains. For Egypt, it is a courtship of two enemies (US and Russia) and a play to befriend both. However, Russia seeks to exert influence on politics in the Middle East and North Africa. They have been united on matters such as the conflict in Syria and Libya, maneuvering the latter’s dynamics to suit their needs.
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However, what is most interesting is the actual level of commitment that has been made. Russia and Egypt recently signed a comprehensive partnership agreement, touching security and trade relations. The pact is scheduled to last ten years, with automatic renewals lasting five. To the chagrin of the United States, Egypt has also instituted arms purchases totaling billions of dollars from Russia. It smoothens its military ties with joint drills as well. Notable investments in the relationship are the construction of a nuclear power plant in El Dabaa, Egypt, and the creation of a Russian Industrial Zone in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. Construction expenses for the power plant run as high as $25 billion, 85 percent of which will be funded by a Russian loan. The Industrial Zone will also expand the presence of Russian companies in Egypt and provide an estimated 35,000 jobs for the Egyptian populace. In terms of trade, Egypt provides an excellent market for Russia’s agricultural products. Tourism is another domain in which Russia proves an essential partner. Tourists from Russia and Ukraine constituted a high percentage of visitors to Egypt’s historic sites in the early 2010s. Jointly, they were almost a third of the 12 million tourists who traveled to Egypt in those years.
The importance of tourism cannot be underplayed. Research indicates that one out of every ten members of Egypt’s workforce is employed in the tourism sector. And in peak years, tourism revenue soared as high as $13 billion. With the sector making up 12 percent of Egypt’s GDP, the country is keen on retaining partners like Russia. But a situation that twists the knife in the Egyptian economy is the bomb explosion on a plane filled with Russian passengers in 2015. It sent tourism into a tumble as Russia suspended flights to the country and only just recommenced operations in 2021. This, alongside the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, severely reduced the inflow of tourists.
Employees in the sector faced a decline in their incomes, with hospitality service operators struggling to keep up with the rising business costs. Assessments by the media also showed growing disillusionment among workers as many expressed worry about their employment prospects. But as the virus waned and the government intervened in reviving the sector, hopes of an awakening were ignited. Russia lifted its ban on flights; Egypt was implementing measures to contain the virus, especially in the hospitality and aviation sectors, and places like the Red Sea resorts in Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada held new promise for their visitors.
True to form, Russian tourists began to flock in again. In the first few weeks of 2022, more than 100,000 Russians visited Egypt. And in each month of 2021, data showed that Russian tourists numbering up to 500,000 visited Egypt. For Egyptians, the invasion could not have occurred at a more inconvenient time. Even as it seems that they are finally getting a reprieve, sanctions on Russia and travel bans may create debilitating impacts for the struggling sector. Although the Egyptian government appears to be working with Turkey (another country with high tourism inflow) on an alternative transit route for its Russian customers, it is unlikely to witness the same flux. The devaluation of the Russian ruble threatens the purchasing power of the average Russian and will potentially influence traveling. It is also unlikely that European tourists can fill the void left by the Russians.
READ ALSO: Ukraine May Opt For Neutral Status Over NATO To End War
Besides tourism, food is a sector with serious political consequences. A hike in the price of bread by the Egyptian government in 1977 unleashed deadly riots in the country, sending the government into a flurry to remedy the situation. A similar hike led to the Arab Spring in 2011 and singularly catalyzed massive political changes in the Arab world. Bread consumption in Egypt is a nutritional culture that has existed for centuries. Aish baladi, as it is known locally, constitutes a major part of Egyptians’ cereal diet and is crucial to the 30 percent of Egyptians who live below the poverty line. In recognition of the centrality of bread to national stability, the Egyptian government avoided removing subsidies on the product in 2016, even as the IMF mandated similar measures in other areas. However, the availability of bread and the consequent price stability relies on wheat. Data reveals that Egypt is the world’s largest importer of wheat, with Russia and Ukraine supplying 70 percent of its total intake. Before the war, Russia had instituted a tax on exports, intensifying the situation for the Egyptian government. The country’s budget for food subsidy in 2022 is $5.5 billion, with a potential increase of over $700 million as the price of wheat rises. There is also a possibility that the subsidy will be reduced, which raises concerns about a price hike. Egyptian officials are aiming to diversify import locations to manage the situation. Grain stocks are also expected to last several months, during which the government may implement buffers.
The relationship between South Africa and Russia has more of a diplomatic than economic leaning. Unlike countries in North Africa, it is less reliant on Russian or Ukrainian food. Data reveals that the country imports 40 per cent of its wheat, but none of it comes from the warring countries. Supply centers include Lithuania, Argentina, the USA, Poland, and Latvia. Maize production in South Africa also positions it to exploit the gap left by the Russia-Ukraine war as local supply exceeds demand. However, South African investments in the country may take a hit due to international sanctions on Russia. According to data, South Africa has an estimated R77 billion investment in Russia, compared to the latter’s R23 billion. The automotive industry within Africa’s most industrialized country will also be affected as Ukraine supplies the bulk of the wire harnesses used in vehicle manufacturing. Ukraine manufactures as much as 30 percent of the wire harnesses used in Europe. Russia is equally a major supplier of minerals such as nickel, palladium, and aluminum used to manufacture vehicles and electronics, necessitating a diversification of suppliers.
On the diplomatic front, the situation has become more complex. South Africa’s colonial history includes alliances between liberation movements and the Soviet Union. Today, the political elite in the country maintain their gratitude to Russia for the support it provided then. Although it is questionable if the Soviet Union’s backing was not motivated by a desire to counter Western dominance, the existence still reverberates in leadership circles. Evidence of this is seen in the country’s inability to take a unified stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Remarkably, it also abstained from a United Nations General Assembly vote to criticize the invasion and demand an immediate withdrawal. A factor that further deepens the bond between both nations is South Africa’s membership in BRICS, the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa economic bloc. Its relationship with some of the world’s major powers, particularly anti-Western countries like Russia and China, compromises its decisiveness in actions in the international community. Within BRICS, it periodically mediates on the border conflict between China and India, with Russia playing to support the side it finds most convenient at a particular time. However, analysts have identified a notable shift in South Africa’s foreign policy. In its early post-independence days, the country defined itself by its commitment to the recognition of human rights around the world. Its apartheid experience and struggles for emancipation made this an almost instinctive viewpoint for the country. However, its diplomatic responses at the international level have demonstrated the opposite.
Until recently, the country maintained an automatic abstention policy from UN resolutions that aimed to criticize other countries. It refrained from one such resolution on the Myanmar government’s human rights abuses. The country’s political landscape also precludes definitive opposition to Russia’s aggression. The South African Communist Party (SACP), the country’s local communist party, has been a historic disciple of Marxism-Leninism. It demonstrates its followership by rationalizing Russia’s decisions, even clearly expressing its support for the invasion. The situation is not very different within the ruling party, the ANC. A foundation headed by the former president, Jacob Zuma, released a statement supporting Russia and lampooning the West for its hypocrisy in the conflict.
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Of all the affected North African countries, Tunisia faces a severe risk of instability. The Arab Spring started in the country in 2011 and has recently witnessed a reversal in gains from that revolution. Its president, Kais Saied, has abolished the parliament, rules by decree, and silences dissent with arraignments before military tribunals. Under this authoritarian atmosphere, Tunisia’s debt was 81 percent of its GDP in 2021 and is projected to rise to 84 percent in 2022 and 84.7 percent in 2023. The necessity of subsidy removal, caused by unfavorable economic outcomes, has worsened the situation, posing a threat to national security. An attempt by the Tunisian government under Habib Bourguiba to remove the subsidy on bread in the 1980s resulted in riots that left more than a hundred Tunisians dead.
Similar attempts between 2008 and 2009 were met by an onslaught of protests. The matter climaxed in 2011 when high commodity prices prompted riots that set off institutional reforms. But subsidy removals are also an economic imperative. Funds earmarked in the budget for subsidizing food stand at $746 million, projected to hit $1.2 billion. Even worse, the country relies largely on Russia and Ukraine for food imports and sustenance of its tourism sector. Tunisia imports over 50 percent of cereals for human consumption and 60 percent for animal feed. Local production is estimated at 1.5 million tons annually, less than half its import quantity of 3.5 million tons. It also depends on Russia and Ukraine for 80 percent of its grain imports and 60 percent of its wheat. It is prevented from shoring up local production by a severe drought that has lasted for three years.
The Tunisian inability to adapt fairly is rooted in the comprehensive welfare system run by its government. As a political solution to the protests in 2011, the government’s response to the employment crisis was massive recruitment into public service. The state employs more people than any other sector in the Tunisian economy, which reflects on available revenue. With the effects of the pandemic and the surge in global inflation rates, it now struggles with paying workers’ salaries. Thus, rising food and fuel prices, high transportation costs, and a decline in political freedoms may warrant negative reactions from Tunisians. And in what may be termed a bleak prediction of fortunes, analysts submit that the Central Bank of Tunisia’s inflation rate of 6.8 percent in 2022 may be moderate compared to likely increases.
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Russia’s relationship with Tunisia dates back to the Soviet years. Both countries commemorated their 62nd year of diplomatic relations in 2018. They have deepened bilateral engagements, with Russia supporting Tunisia on security and economic fronts. Russia’s importance to Tunisia is evident in the tourism sector, where, between 2016 and 2017, over one million Russian tourists visited Tunisia. This came at a time a surge of terror attacks forced travelers to abandon Tunisian resorts. Moscow has aided Tunis in combating terrorism by sharing intelligence on terrorists’ movements. This cooperation assisted Tunisian forces in operations against smugglers along the Libyan border. These relations may now be affected by the war and Russia’s ban on exports to support domestic supply.
Part of the Talking Points at the International Colloquium on Russia-Ukraine War and Implication For Global Security, Pease and New World Order, organized by the Centre for Black Culture and Understanding, Osogbo, Nigeria, March 22, 2022
Falola is a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.
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By Toyin Falola
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” – Galileo Galilei
Religion remains a much-debated issue, especially in Africa. It is one of the determining factors of our identity. It determines who we are, our beliefs, actions and reactions, and even our thought processes. Africans had their own culture and traditional religion until the advent of western civilization, which brought with it the ‘gift’ of Abrahamic religions—,Christianity and Islam—and judged African traditional religious practices as evil, pagan practice and witchcraft. The missionaries did a thorough job of making people believe that their religion was superior and righteous. Africans accepted these imported religions, and their traditional beliefs began to fade. Christianity and Islam are now the new order, and people are extremely devoted to these newly found Gods.
The Toyin Falola Interviews recently played host to music composer and songwriter, Beautiful Nubia. The question of Beautiful Nubia’s stance on religion pops up during the interview. He is known to promote African spirituality but has also defended foreign religions as advantageous. In response, he talks about his ancestral line: his paternal family were Olu Orogbo devotees (the Yoruba god of letters), and his maternal family were Ifa priests and Esu devotees. He said, “religion has always fascinated me like it gets people’s minds.” He opines that spirituality ties into what gets people so much into religion. Although he no longer practices religion, he affirms that these religions have positively influenced people to do good and show kindness to their fellow human beings.
He states, “Any organized religion has a set of dogma or doctrines they use to guide you to put you in there. You are there; it is like a strait jacket to keep you on the straight and narrow. Why I said religion is a good thing is because the purpose of this is to ensure that you stay on the straight and narrow, that you do good things.” We can agree that religion has contributed to the rise of morals to a certain extent, as the fear of God keeps many people from doing evil. It has curbed wickedness and negative traits inherent in humans and made many people see the world in a new light. Religion has spread the message of doing good and becoming a better human being.
The issue, however, is not the practice of these religions but the ability of leaders to sway people easily. Although imported religions have helped to stop the extremities of African religious practices, it has only accentuated people’s gullibility. Beautiful Nubia further states, “What is wrong with religion is that it gives certain people the power to use their followers. It is not the religion itself; it is the human beings who run these religious organizations who use their power to extract money from them and push them in the wrong direction.” Owning a church is one of the easiest and quickest ways to get rich, particularly in Nigeria. All that is needed to succeed in this business is to be a good actor, have nice clothes (suits, particularly), can win people over with words and give yourself an extraordinary title such as Rabbi.
It is common knowledge that the major reason why people attend church and Jumat services religiously are that they seek solutions to their problems. As much bad governance is enough to seek God’s intervention for various human issues ranging from terminal illnesses, protection, promotion, unhappiness, barrenness, unemployment, and marital problems, to poverty, which is an average African’s motivation to seek God’s face, also cause people to become staunch believers. To get swift, miraculous answers to these problems, many people fall prey to the traps of “men of God”, who only look to fill their pockets and bellies. This explains why a “pastor” would shut down his church after winning a 100 million Naira bet.
Pastors and Muslim clerics are considered mini gods who can do no wrong. The Bible verse, “touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm,” is an ever-ready response by Christians in defense of their highly revered pastors who would not think twice before taking advantage of their desperation to get their problems solved. They forget that a “man of God” is first a man. Religion has rendered humans gullible to the extent that they excuse things their religious leaders do that are not even in tune with what is written in the Holy books. How do you explain a pastor who sleeps with a woman looking for the fruit of the womb and says his sperm is the anointing that will cause her to have her child? What do we say to a pastor who instructs his congregation to bring a greater percentage of their salaries to him so that God can answer their prayers? Should the man who claims to be an alfa but has exploited so many people in the name of being a ‘wonder healer’ be left alone? Churches and mosques nowadays see the desperation of people and feed off it. Many people come to church for prosperity and get ripped off the little they have, all in the name of miracles, signs and wonders. You could be in a church service and then suddenly hear the pastor say, “I see seven stars. I need seven people who will give the Lord Seven Hundred Thousand to come out now at the count of seven. One, Two…Seven!” You will be amazed at the number of people who will run to the altar to give the ‘Lord’ that amount of money in this present economy. Unsurprisingly, some borrow money to give to their pastors to receive blessings, then struggle to pay back the borrowed money. Monkey dey work, Baboon dey chop.
These men of God add false doctrines to their fraudulent, shady activities. Beautiful Nubia quotes his mother, a Christian singer, as saying, ” any church where they are a lot of people there, you know there are telling them lies there.” He made an example of a Muslim cleric who tells his followers that every other person is evil, an infidel and a pastor who tells his congregation that their Jesus is not a Jesus of poverty, that He died for them to be wealthy. It is now rare to find churches that preach about the kingdom of God and how to live a life that pleases God. Churches today entice and then mislead people.
Sometimes, people realize all these things are wrong but lack the courage to question these atrocities. According to Beautiful Nubia, “…as a child, you are fully indoctrinated, and as an adult, you are scared to question these beliefs.” Asking a pastor why he preaches only prosperity and how to get rich as a Christian would be considered as seeking the wrath of God because the pastor can call down fire to consume his ‘enemy’. Questioning an Imam on why he sleeps with young girls will only attract curses from the Quran on such a person, followed by “who are you to question God’s prophet? The ways and dealings of God are mysterious”. Really, who dares question these men of God? The fear that has been unconsciously programmed into your mind from a very young age holds your voice and makes you look away from the evils of these religious leaders.
This is not to say that there are no genuine men of God, but there is a plague of greedy religious leaders who, because of their power over their members, influence them to bend to their will while satisfying their greed and lust. “We should not focus too much on religion being our enemy. We need to focus more on ourselves, fix ourselves, and we can use traditional wisdom to do that”, says Nubia. The way we question and demand accountability from the government should be the same way we question our religious leaders. Not every “God says” is true. The Bible in 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved , believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Many religious leaders are gods of their bellies and are only out to exploit people to put food in their fat stomachs and live expensive lifestyles with their poor congregation’s money. Child of God, shine ya eye!
This is Part 1 of the report on the interview with Beautiful on March 19, 2023. The extensive interview, which has received millions of views across different platforms, talks about the role of music in society. For the transcripts, see:
Death At Dawn, Rebirth At Dusk
By Toyin Falola
Twilight-zone, Afterlife, What-Mays, and Whatnots;
Questions that transcend mortal thoughts.
Uncertainties plucked by the hands of certainty
pondering life beyond the galaxy.
Philosophies, religions, and sciences;
Ancient lenses to dissect and ponder.
Beliefs, opinions, and standpoints in their multiplicities;
Scalpels that open the heart of certain death
Blazing free the skins of uncertainty.
Science, a nobility I revere,
But it stammers answering to the afterlife.
For science is knowledge and knowledge from experience
But the dead neither speak, nor take records.
Their journeys, ordeals, triumphs or woes?
No one bears witness.
But as dead, we must all be witnesses;
witnesses that testify not.
So, for now, we survive the knowledge of death.
On my Agbàlàgbà head lies my Ọ́kpụ́ Ágwụ́
With eagle feathers, rare and honorable
Adorning it for three scores, a decade, and some more days.
I had flipped my Kente given by the Gaa
And danced to crescendos from Gàngàn drums
I have been celebrated and celebrating
For the miracles, I have worked with pen, paper, keyboard, and brain
I have taken the tales we tell in my village square beyond the Atlantic
Changed the songs that disdain us into appraisals
I have called my brothers not to point to our fathers’ house with their left hands
I have honed Africa and beyond
To answer the calls of the people’s need
I have reached the thinkable and done the unthinkable
So, I danced and keep dancing.
Suddenly, I felt a touch on my host?
Electrifying my hand, leg, brain, and my whole
Telling me that my jur from the Dinka people awaits me.
That my hourglass tells of crossing the bar.
I thought I knew what it was like,
But my grasping convictions of approaching jur were perceptions
Just surviving the death of the knowledge of death
So, arms wide open ready to abound
What was there to fear?
No catacomb of secrets
No palm oil-drenched white garments
I have taken many to my gourmet
To feast and to see.
What was there not to fear?
With medicine men and women,
Syringes, lights, water, ECG, Oximeters, voices, and touches
Hovering around me like a sacred etutu
Making conversations with me and beyond
I was thrown into a pool of reminiscence
one leg and a part of me were already in the boat
It beckoned but I heard another.
A loud voice like my mother’s.
Who takes a journey without locking his home?
Who takes the jur with unpatched palm fronds on his hut?
While the thunder rages up the sky?
The walls are broken and Balogun journeys?
So, I left the sea to clear the cobwebs and light up the night lamb.
The past few weeks have opened new lights of understanding to me. I now see the world from different hills and have helped to reach new resolutions. I know I have written about “transitioning to nothingness,” but my emphasis was on the “nothingness” with lesser attention on “transitioning.” I think we need to continue to ask questions. Philosophies, religion, sociology, psychology, science, and other ramifications are mere perceptions and we are uncertain. The transitioning occurs when death becomes an angel to hug not a beast to fear. We do not know what it entails but one must always endeavor to go with clean hands.
My recovery from an illness may have offered me a fresh opportunity to shout some more, point to societal needs, and settle unfinished businesses. No, not those caused by my personal undoing, but rather those of the people who would be left unguided, and for matters untold about life, society, and individuals. I can say I have passed through the lessons of tantra transfiguration, to use an elegant phrase that I recently came across, to move from secular to sacred activism. No one survives death because of its finality, but when it seems that you did, it is a renewed quest, offering a new purpose.
Professors On INEC’s Will (3)
By Tony Afejuku
The debate has progressed well so far. Our professors, whose strokes have centred on their fellow professor’s manned INEC have tried as best as they could not to confine their impressions solely to the prism of subjectivity. Even when their impressions seem to be subjective, they still make allowance for contrary views, for opposing views. This obviously gives clarity, objectivity and logic to the subject at hand. Is the will of INEC of a professor minder and mincer of words’ control the will of the people or of the masses? On whose side are the Professors who are as concerned as almost everybody is with what is going – or with what has gone on – primarily about our Presidential 2023 elections? Our Professors who are debating the subject constitute the courageous and prophetic Nigerian voices of our day. Their authentic and responsible thoughts are not restricted to the local or regional. They are also not confined to electoral duties and responsibilities expected of the umpire and the will that belongs elsewhere. The truth about the quality of leadership about our country and elsewhere is also told in the debate of the literati.
Professor (Mrs.) Razinatu Mohamed in her submission, in her salvo-cum-explosion actually, drew attention to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s explosive explosion in the presidency. If Professor Osinbajo had provided the right vice-presidential leadership there would not have been the need for him to explode as he did as per a viral video Professor Razinatu Mohamed referred her fellow debaters to. “What has he been doing in the eight years of their administration? Irritated my foot; he is complicit.” Not done, Professor Razinatu drew attention to the kind of leaders that Nigeria and Africa need: “Leaders that understand the rudiments of modern socio-economic development and systems; Leaders that understand the crux of requirements for economic growth. Leaders that could demonstrate to the rest of the world that just as the world needs Africa, African countries need the world in a symbiotic relationship and partnership context where assistance becomes a dual role…..”
Razinata’s concern is clear. Nothing in Nigeria will climb out of its hollow hole. In fact, the will of the people will remain hollow so long as a hollow mincer and minder is in charge of its electoral affairs.
Professor Da Sylva perhaps responds better to Professor Razinatu Mohamed’s algebraic stroke. “Unfortunately, Nigeria’s democracy is trapped in its primordial self-made ethnic and religious sentiments and so, standards, merit, competence and pedigrees are measured by their curious divides of religion and ethnic inclinations. Until we all come to realize that heavens help those who help themselves, Nigeria ain’t going no-where – meeen!”
But below is Professor Da Sylva’s sledge hammer response to Professor Razinatu Mohamed’s Osinbajo hammer blow:
“Prof Osinbajo’s office demands he does what he did. Besides, it shows maturity and spirit of sportsmanship on his part. Every loser in a game “healthily” contested, is naturally expected to do the same. The only difference which again shows Osinbajo’s magnanimity is that in this context, the contest under reference was neither healthy nor just. The umpire seemed compromised and merely worked to a prepared answer. Yet the gentleman did the needful. I guess, brothers and sisters, that we should put all that behind us, and work for our common good, and the wellbeing of the country, provided the mythical Aso cabal will let the President-elect be, and let the masses be, and as such, they should not create any cause for us to think otherwise, lest they provoke our sense of patriotism to take appropriate action! I guess that those were the reading or feelings of the dirty-minded Aso Villa cabal. People that kill with sword never wish that any folk should pass a sword over their heads, a wise saying goes in Yoruba. The human principalities simply suspected that should they allow PMB to give the VP the intended latitude, they might not be able to control him. I remember on his return from London, he commended the efforts of his VP while he was away. He said he would still continue acting while he would still have some more rest at home. The following day everything changed, PMB decided to take charge as the President. I suspected some back door politics was playing out. My co-debaters, quite naturally, you’ll agree with me that, it is not over-ambition or sheer opportunism as you might insinuate for any deputy in an office to aspire to the next higher office, in a legitimate manner, there is nothing really unusual about it, and it would amount to killing a mosquito with a sledge hammer, should Oshinbajo be crucified for that, if at all. And as for his wishing Buhari’s non-recovery, I think that, again, like my Sister R, is a little unkind and not fair to the gentleman who I know to be a servant of God. He knows as much as I do, by our true Christian orientation and Biblical injunctions that, should he ever wish Buhari’s death or wish him any form of misfortune in those trying periods of the President, God Almighty who we serve would deal mercilessly and ruthlessly with him. That is what Psalm 41:1-13 is all about. So rule that out, because it is not, and could never be in his character. I can vouch for him. Rather, I saw him in those times that he acted for his principal, as someone zealous and appreciative of the trust his principal invested in him, and as such he tried to do his very best to merit the trust and the opportunity! I know and I am also sure that this is what an IBK, or a Razinat, would have done too had they found themselves in a similar situation! It does not amount to wishing one’s principal any evil, not at all. Not everyone can be like Chief Obafemi Awolowo who resigned his position under Gowon when the regime became financially reckless shortly after the civil war. Awolowo also gave very profound argumentation to justify convincingly his actions. He also turned down some other appointments including the “49 Wise Men of the Constitution Drafting Committee.” Oshinbajo couldn’t have resigned, normally, and naturally his principal, PMB should have supported him as a capable successor, but again, the President’s ethnic and religious bigotry took the better part of the President. Besides, PMB’s mind was long poisoned against his VP, a clean job by the Aso Villa cabal. IBK, Lady R, until the faceless cabal is permanently silenced the wheel of Nigeria might continue to go round in a circle, and to nowhere in particular”.
And Professor IBK takes the floor: “Prof. DAO, yours is a powerfully convincing submission, at least in a large measure. Now I am willing to hold a slightly different opinion about Osinbajo. Yet, I cannot fathom why he chose to run against Tinubu, days or weeks after the latter had begun his campaign in the party primaries. There’s much we don’t know about why OSBJ decided to run against BAT. Nothing is wrong with that politically but a little problematic from an Ethical or, at least Moral, point of view. Osinbajo did a poor job of it and came out a distant 4th in the primaries. I think he didn’t read the situation correctly and was probably misled by some cabal of sorts. Either way Osinbajo made a politically fatal error in this regard. Perhaps he must have sensed, or was told, that BAT was not the anointed candidate, or that BAT would be crippled by some ill-health or a medical condition. I remember the party’s screening committee publicly recommending that only younger contestants would be recommended to the NWC or such. Clearly there was an attempt to sideline BAT. Whatever the explanation, Osinbajo make the error in his campaign of promising to be more Buhari than Buhari. A man despised by whole sections of the northern population, a man whose reputation for laziness and incompetence was on the ascendant. Anyway, all is now history and Osinbajo has not given a good account of himself in this particular case. Prof DAO, I think your concept of the Trickster should account for Osinbajo’s situation here. FULL DISCLOSURE: a very close family member of mine was drafted to head Osinbajo’s campaign effort in Kano. We discussed extensively about Osinbajo’s pledge to carry on with Buhari’s policies. There was bewilderment and shock within the members. A week later half of the membership resigned on account of Osinbajo’s increasing identification with Buhari’s policies. Many mistakenly thought that Osinbajo was Buhari’s anointed one! I could go on…”
Interestingly interesting and intriguingly intriguing, dear, dearly dear readers: this debate.
To be terminated by the columnist-terminator and terminator-columnist next week after Professor Olu Obafemi’s summation of the debate he presided over.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.
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