Sunday, 30 October 2011

Gaddafi: a death full of sound and fury.

Let me begin this piece by stating clearly; I was never a fan of Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi.
Yes, I read his Green Book cover to cover, probably a few more times than necessary, but then I have also devoured Mein Kempf and a few dodgier pieces of literature in my time. It’s the price you pay for a voracious seeking of knowledge; powered on by a desire to spout something remarkably different when the inevitable family debates ignite.
I turned whatever little books and articles my big brothers had left in their trail, into the jewels of my literary garden. Valued copies of Newswatch, Newsweek and Time stashed away from prying and grubby little fingers, as I built my imaginary library. Heroes, villains and half-baked banana republic dictators; but I must admit Gaddafi stood out.
So deranged in his ramblings and unhinged in his writings (try reading Green Book); Gaddafi blazed a maddening trail across the Arab world, ensuring the world reverberated to the tune of his infamy and demented deeds. His oppressive rule birthed in extreme violence and total domination of his own people, sometimes left even his most ardent supporters completely befuddled.
So why does his brutal demise leave me so flat?
Could it be because I am not a Libyan who has lived under his despicable rule and lost half of my family in the process or I am now so detached from reality that I do not recognise the world will be a much better place without him? I doubt either is the case, but watching the Misratah-led chapter of the NTC dragging his bloodied body through the streets of Sirte only served to buttress my greatest fear about this installment of the so-called Arab Spring.
Granted, Gaddafi deserved his miserable end; but what does his killing actually achieve? Will Libya now rise and become a shining democracy which we all long for? Or is the land of the sweet crude at, as UN leader Ban Ki-moon wisely observed, “Only the end of the beginning?”
Ki-moon’s weighted words, reflecting the gravitas expected from his lofty office, was in contrast to the Bushesque words of the various Western heads of state. Even the usually measured Barack Obama reckoned the Libyans had “won their revolution!”
I am not an expert in Arabian politics, but I doubt if anything but a psychological victory has been achieved here. With pictures of young battle-hardened men from a variety of tribes roaming around the streets from Tripoli to Sirte, all armed with dangerous weapons and questionable temperaments, one wonders when the unifying force is going to emerge.
Recent constitutional talks in Tripoli exposed what lay ahead, as the fragments of what is left of Gaddafi’s army effectively blended into society and the rebels from Misratah cement their ‘first amongst equals’ status.
Some say the head of the snake has been severed, but my cynical self sees this as a mere head transplant. The political and economic jigsaw pieces will be rearranged; and somehow, I do not believe Libya will be the winner.
In the end, although hardly any foreign blood was shed to bring Gaddafi down, the fact every strategic moment of NTC victory was preceded by significant NATO activity, probably means we have already seen the pattern of things to come.
The sound is unmistakably loud and the fury clear on our TV sets, but I fear just like in the case of Saddam, it might, post the euphoria, signify nothing!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

How the West could take over Nigeria (2/2)

So, here we are in 2011 and as if we haven’t got enough problems to deal with, we are now the inevitable focus of Western governments – who if the truth was known, never really took their their eyes off us anyway – due to our increasing pariah status and penchant for all things bad. 
The money-laundering, the tales of 419 emails and drug-trafficking status that has been donned upon us globally is clearly too dull for our voracious appetite for self-destruction. We are clearly not content with being on every negative index drawn up by our so-called Western allies; we are now dabbling in terrorism.
In a country where the copycat attitude is prevalent and everyone wants to outdo each other, an introduction of any new negative trends has to be something of concern for our leaders and citizens alike. Today, it’s the Police HQ in Abuja; tomorrow, how do we know it will not be our airports, hotels, night clubs and cinemas? After all, these are the types of targets we have been informed are the chosen aim of Boko Haram and their frenzied accomplices.
What would we do if a reign of terror begins to rise through the length and breadth of our country? Is it beyond the realms of possibility that marginalised groups like the Delta militants could introduce the suicide option into their repetoire? 
And if this is the case, what actions are our people in Aso Rock taking to forestall the coming storm?
I only ask, because if the Nigerian governing elite is not coming up (and be seen to be coming up) with a robust strategy, you can be rest assured our Western ‘friends’ are already in an advanced stage with their analysis and you can be even more rest assured, that none of their entry or exit strategies will be drawn up for the benefit of Nigeria.
Call me cynical, but recent history backs me up to the hilt and I am not aware of many Nigerians who want our beloved country to resemble Iraq, Afghanisthan or Libya! 
Can you imagine house to house searches in the middle of the night, by occupying armies of people who look nothing like us and understand us even less? So, if there is a time to prepare to mobilise our vanguard to secure our territory….the time is now.
In these times of vicious economic adjustments, every sector known to man is cutting costs and doing everything they can to generate revenue and believe me when I state that no sector is as chilling in reaching its goals than the Western Intelligence community.
With its shadow perpetually cast across Africa at the best of times, the principal stakeholders are already in the genesis of negotiations on how to provide us with their wonderful ‘complete security’.
Spurious security units like those operating in Iraq, with their ridiculous names like Black Watch, could import their dubious operations to our cities and towns under the guise of providing protection to the highest bidders and chaos can truly begin to reign supreme.
Of course they are those of you who will read this and remain in the ‘Nigerians are not suicide bombers’ camp, and judging by Mutallab’s foolish ‘bomb in pants’ venture,  you may be justified.  
We may be advanced in other dubious areas, but agreeing to place the bomb in one’s underpants, especially when most martyrs dream of their 72 maidens in heaven, doesn’t exactly inspire confirmation that this is our area of expertise.
But on a serious note, the main weapon of these disenfranchised groups is their supposed impotence, but we should join never underestimate the likes of Boko Haram and their seemingly disjointed foot soldiers. 
For history shows us what occurred when the CIA and FBI, despite warnings from the likes of David Philip Schippers, declared Al-Qaeada had no capacity to inflict any domestic terrorist act in the US. 
Earlier in 2000, he had received some information from two FBI agents, who warned of an imminent terrorist attack in New York. They were so confident about their intelligence; they went as far as givng the names of the terrorists and their source of funding…..incredible, right? 
And yes, you have guessed it, despite several attempts by Schippers to contact the Attorney-General of the day and various federal officials, he too was completely ignored. Well, not completely, he did get one reply…..a Justice Department official replied stating; 
“We don’t start our investigations from the top.”
Well, I hope our investigations at the top are well underway, because if we nod off for a single moment, by the time we come to some form of conciousness, our country will be in the hands of foreign powers once more and by that time;
‘The labours of our heroes past will definitely be in vain.’

Also published at:

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

How the West could take over Nigeria (1/2)

In late 2009, I was jollifying in one of my usual Lagos spots, when, as it often is in these gatherings, the subject gradually veered from the trivialities of whether Agbani Darego is as pretty as Helen Prest; which tastes better; Star or Gulder. To the considerably chunkier issues of the day like - is Lamido Sanusi the real deal, or a Mujahideen in disguise?
Is GEJ capable of the guile required to manoeuvre his way to the Presidency or will his good luck finally run out?  You can imagine the variety of emotions you are bound to witness in such an assembly.
But as convention entails in these types of situations, there will always be the awkward period when necks become decorated with veins and handkerchiefs make several appearances, despite the efficient air-conditioning units happily blasting away in the background.  
I guess my stating that suicide bombing would soon become the staple trademark of the politically disenfranchised in Nigeria was not exactly subtle or demanding of a gentle reaction. As with most topics I raise when I am in the company of my cerebral ‘Naija Posse,’ it was designed to provoke, irritate and eventually inspire discourse. 
And boy did it just do exactly what I desired....
The first person to go for my proverbial jugular was an old school mate of mine (for this article, we will call him Nnamdi). An accountant by trade, Nnamdi was never lacking when ‘coming forward’ was the requisite character trait. 
Blessed with a special brand of unwavering confidence, fuelled by a successful career to date and an unhealthy self-belief, he never knew when he lost arguments.
“All you London boys are full of imaginative theories. So you believe Nigerians will kill themselves because of this country? You have seriously disappointed me with your position on this one. I guess the years outside this country have started to affect you.”
The slap-down was quite emphatic and aside from one other person within the gathered group of ten, the derision for my take on the issue was overwhelming and consistently acerbic.
After one hour of such a one-sided verbal pummelling, I must admit I began to experience moments of doubt as to the efficacy of my position. But I was driven on by my belief of what I had garnered from some determined eavesdropping from a few years before:

Al-Qaeda and its affiliate terror groups were putting together plans for using Nigeria as their international communications hub!
In theory, of course I lost the argument that night, but two years later and a few suicide bombings to boot, all of a sudden; I have been transformed from crazy alarmist to someone who might actually have a pulse on the political direction of Nigeria. 
A conciliatory text, from one of the baying crowd of that fateful episode, did arrive, but yes, you've guessed it.....nothing from Nnamdi.