Nigeria ignored the body language of the United States of America & went ahead to vote in favour of the United Nations General Assembly resolution ES‑10/L.22, an emergency session resolution declaring the status of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as “null and void.” There were 21 absentees & 35 abstentions. For several reasons, I believe Nigeria should have abstained:
1-SECULAR COUNTRY: Nigeria is a country where everything is seen via the lens of religion even if it makes no sense. Most Nigerians do not really understand what is going on in the Middle East, many cannot even locate Israel or Palestine on a map but due to religious sentiments, Nigerians have taken sides. At a time when the hijab issue is raging & with the president already seen by some as an Islamist, the resolution would have been the best opportunity to reaffirm Nigeria’s secular status & reduce the tension at home. Now, half of Nigeria support the president on the move & the other half are like ‘we knew it, he is like that ‘.
2-NIGERIANS IN AMERICA: President Donald Trump is known for doing exactly what he says. At a time when Nikki Haley was saying they will take a roll call of countries that voted against them, no one knows the next plan Trump has for Nigerians in his country. Omarosa are you there? The power to allow or deny entry into the USA lies with the president amongst other executive powers that Trump can use to send a devastating message to errant nations. Nigerians in America remit billions to Nigeria yearly & if Trump decides to take his aggression out on them, it will have ripple effects on our fragile economy. Do not say it is not impossible because it is possible. Trump’s executive order against specific Muslim countries is solidly in place despite global outcry. For a president who feels foreigners are taking all their jobs, what will happen when Trump decides to make life difficult for Nigerians there? Will Buhari just tell them to return home to fuel scarcity?
3-BOKO HARAM: Buhari is yet to get $1 billion to tackle Boko Haram but he went ahead to vote against an important ally. We depend on the United States for weapons, Trump just sold some attack aircraft to us for $600million. Something Obama refused to do. If USA halts all arms sales to Nigeria, we go hear am o. Those shouting China & Russia, where were they that time? Even Buhari himself was trained by the American military.
4-DEVELOPMENTAL ASSISTANCE: Many Nigerians do not realize how vulnerable & dependent we are. Many American organizations assist out a lot in Nigeria. We depend on the World Bank, IMF and other organizations heavily-funded or massively-influenced by the United States. Was it not Buhari that was telling World Bank to focus on the north? How will Nigeria be able to rebuild the North East without international help? China does not control the levers of the World Bank & other superpower agencies. World Food Programme is assisting in preventing a massive famine in northeastern Nigeria, it is greatly funded by USA. If Trump pulls all the plugs, are we sure we will just dust it off? By the way, over fifty Israeli companies operate in Nigeria in the spheres of construction, infrastructure, hi-tech, communications/ IT, agriculture & water management. In turn, there are over 5,000 Nigerian companies & organizations that operate in Israel. Is Buhari ready to receive them all if Israel kicks them out of anger?
5-CRUDE OIL PURCHASE: One of the reasons Nigeria plunged into a serious recession was because the Barack Obama administration stopped buying our crude. Trump called Buhari on his sick bed and under him, US increased its imports of Nigerian oil by 287%. If America cuts it again, are we sure we can swagger it off?
6-THE VOTE IS MEANINGLESS: United States nullified the resolution with a veto so we just managed to get ourselves into the bad book of the world’s most powerful country for nothing. The recognition of Jerusalem is still in place so what have we really achieved apart from further religious disputes in Nigeria?
What would have happened if we abstained? We would not have taken any sides, we would have maintained our relationship with America and remain a neutral arbiter in the Middle East issue. It would also influence other African nations & let the world know African nations are more interested in facing African issues back home after all no one cares about Africa in the United Nations. Smart countries only do things that will favour them & push their interests & not just follow the crowd without thinking. Those shouting China, you think the Chinese do not know what they are doing, right? African nations like Uganda, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Kenya, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Benin, Cameroon either abstained or were deliberately absent. Who send Nigeria work? Even Canada abstained. We will soon understand the repercussions. I leave you some of the 48 laws of power:
LAW 16) Use absence to increase respect and honor
LAW 19) Know who you are dealing with — do not offend the wrong person
LAW 20) Do not commit to anyone
LAW 35) Master the art of timing (Buhari did not time this well)
LAW 48) Assume formlessness!
NB: I deliberately left out the 8th reason (Biafra). Do the calculation yasef!