09 August, 2008

DEFENCE PACTS...BAKASSI

The handing over of the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon that may take place on the 14th of this month is a sad story especially for the inhabitants who we all know dread the Cameroonian government; Resettling them in an already inhabited community is also a bad choice by the FGN.

Going over the whole story of the Bakassi people and mistakes made by all concerned is just as painful as the wound, however, .the most painful of all is the crying of Nigerians which is summarized by these words from The Chief of Defence Staff, General Owoye Azazi,"……..I want to believe that if anything happens between Nigeria and Cameroon, the defence treaty between France and Cameroon would be called to force. They have such treaty with their former colonies. We don't have defence treaty with any country; we only have training agreements……………………" http://allafrica.com/stories/200807170436.html

In another interview a Nigerian officer bemoaned our stars because our defence agreement with Britain is worthless according to him. Is it not shameful that at this 'age' Nigeria or any African country should cry because she has no OYIBO (Whitman) to rush to help her beat-up her neighbouring African sister? It is a shame.

In the '80s before the sell out of the peninsular by those we know, the Nigerian armed forces (Army, Navy and Air force) did a spectacular military manoeuvre in that area (operation Sea Dog) probably to send a massage to Cameroon or to show 'we can be pugnacious at times if you step on my toes'. I lived in Enugu then, and we were all proud of the military movements/shipments toward Calabar area , but also wished those 'idle soldiers' did some other important social work for the community instead of going to play war games, eating fish pepper-soup and beer in Calabar creeks.

France did not waste a day in sending a matching force to Cameroon. Mirage jets started flying over the air spaces of Cameroon and we learnt even provoking the Nigerian military manoeuvres inside Nigeria spaces. The planes were taking off from an Aircraft carrier because the never cared to build any airport fit for such crafts for their ex-colonies and friends.

Now Nigeria is mourning because France wont allow her beat up Cameron and Britain may not come to our side to assist us because we do not have an 'all inclusive' defence pact with the Queen.

On the other hand Cameroon is happy because 'now our master is at the corner waiting for those big fools from Nigeria to cough loud in our direction….. after all said and done through them and their (ELF) oil company , the petroleum in Bakassi will soon make us better than Nigeria- that prodigal son of Africa"

These deep-rooted colonial mentality at his century is the most worrying aspect of this Bakassi issue.

Why must we at this age allow the colonial wolves come back to show us our boundaries. Is it of whose interest that these boundaries are shifted right or left?

It is a shame ladies and gentlemen.

Africa must wake up! It is not yet late.
Chukwubike .O Charles
( Cultural Mediator)
Foundation for Peace culture & Social Development (fpsd)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Folks:

A complete failure to understand the nature of the world politics and international diplomacy, coupled with a misunderstanding on what gives concerning the Bakassi issue supports the misleading notion concerning Nigeria’s options on Bakassi. These misconceptions show a lack of diplomatic enlightenment or political will or both on behalf of our leadership, prior to the signing of the Green Tree Agreement and thereafter.

First and foremost in international politics, there are no permanent friends only permanent interests. Therefore, given time in the international scene with particular reference to third-world nations (or should I say potentially failed states) such as Nigeria there can always be re-alignments in strategic interests with any of the five super powers constituting the Security Council – (U.S. Britain and France on the one hand and China and Russia on the other). As a result, concerning all the mis-steps that Nigeria has taken on the Bakassi issue, the worst was the rush to sign the Green tree Accord and the continued preparation to proceed with the implementation of the withdrawal, without recourse to other legal and diplomatic avenues presented.

Delay of the handing over is essential to ensure:

The ratification of the Green Tree Accord by NASS. There are strong legal arguments to the effect that to be bound by and to make the Green Tree Accord conclusive, the Nigerian national assembly must ratify it.

The possibility of a review by the ICJ under Article 61. Article 61 allows a review within a 10-year time frame of the judgment if new information or evidence is available to render for a revision of the Court’s judgment. In other words we should be thinking of handing over in 2012 as the judgment was given in 2002, if we cannot at that time come up with strategic alliances supporting the need to align our position with those in the international community who see the strength in a claim to protect a people's inalienable rights to their ancestral territory.

Now it is also important to state that only the Security Council can enforce the ICJ decision. Will it surprise anyone that in no case has the decision of the ICJ been enforced by the Security Council? This is so because the Security Council by its very nature recognizes that the balance of power by its veto members essentially becomes the motivating factor for each vote as a result of each members’ political interest in the matter and each members’ strategic alliance and political relationship with the nation parties to the suit. Take the recent indictment of Al –Bashir, for war crimes by the international community and the defeat of the international community’s attempt to impose sanctions on Sudan as a result of China’s veto. So prior to and in the interim of a delay to hand over Bakassi, where is Nigeria’s political will to diplomatically form alliances and strategically align with the interest of Security Council veto power members like China or Russia that balance the veto tilt of the Western powers – two of which were signatories to the Accord. Presently, China needs all the oil they can get for their booming population and economy to give them a competitive edge over the Western Powers, in its forage to become the new World’s Super power.
Therefore, why don’t we let the Cameroonians invoke Article 94(2) of the ICJ which states: “If any party to a case fails to perform the obligations incumbent upon it under a judgment rendered by the Court, the other party may have recourse to the Security Council, which may, if it deems necessary, make recommendations or decide upon measures to be taken to give effect to the judgment” and see how far they get in enforcing the judgment. (Emphasis mine)

So why the rush to hand over and cede territory and concede the advantage of historical occupancy of a territory that is predominantly and overwhelmingly inhabited by indigenous folk claiming and clinging onto their Nigerian citizenship. Everyone including the ICJ in the course of the pronouncement of its judgment has accepted the fact that “indigenous” people claiming Nigerian citizenship dominantly inhabit Bakassi.

Unfortunately, were it not for the fact that we are a nation of self-serving leadership lacking an enlightenment of the intrigue of international relations or the political will to act with skill, strategy and deft diplomacy, we should have dared to explore other options.
Regrettably, we are so compromised as a people and nation – that we fail to understand the essence of our humanity as a people and the nature of our nationality as a nation. Rather all we see is ethnicity as fostered by our tribal lineage and oil as fostered by corruption (two of Nigeria’s major problems) when we look at Bakassi. We can only come to a better understanding of the international intrigue at play and what our option should be, when we put the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower in the context of the situation we currently face in Bakassi as follows: “We must be ready to dare all for our country. For history does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.”

Thanks.
John F. Udochi

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