From Chuks Okocha and Onwuka Nzeshi in Abuja
Nigeria has announced a “retaliatory” foreign policy, warning that any country that presents Nigeria as corrupt without showcasing the intellect of Nigerians would be declared a “hostile nation”.
The new foreign policy tagged “Citizenship Diplo-macy” was unfolded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, yesterday.It is geared towards “protecting” the image and integrity of Nigeria and retaliates against countries who are hostile and who brand Nigeria as “corrupt”, he said.
Ojo, who spoke at a book presentation by former Minister of Education, Professor Tunde Adeniran, in Abuja, disclosed that Nigeria’s foreign policy, without any fundamental change in content, “is now what we like to call Citizens Diplomacy. It is going to be a citizen-centred foreign policy, which is: how does this benefit Nigeria and Nigerians? It is a way of strengthening our commitment to Africa.
“We believe that it is time to let the world know that Nigeria is not a beggar nation that has to be made to feel ashamed by the actions of a few criminals who disgrace us at airports in the world by their activities.
“So we have urged that for every Nigerian drug pusher arrested or 419 arrested or a suspect arrested in the major stations of the world, they have a responsibility to showcase those Nigerian surgeons that are making a difference in their communities of those countries.”
Accordingly, he said, “failure to tell the good story about Nigeria from now on, would be considered as a hostile act. Because if you brand us a nation of scammers, as a nation where nothing works, you will be undermining our self-esteem, you undermine our national unity and you make it difficult for investors to come to our country and that could bring unemployment and poverty and of course there is a linkage between poverty and insecurity.”
In this regard, Maduekwe said “we are simply saying, this diplomacy would be a diplomacy of consequences. If you are nice to us, then of course, we should be nice to you. If you were not nice to us, then of course there would be a cost. This is called the concept of reciprocity. This is called the diplomacy of consequences.”
He explained further: “Our foreign policy has come of age and the age of innocence is over. We remain proud of our track record right from Tafawa Balewa up till now. The country that has the largest black nation in the world could not have done otherwise. A world where every six black man is a Nigerian could not have done otherwise, or where every four Africans is a Nigerian could not have done otherwise.
“We should ask ourselves some hard questions: to what extents has our foreign policy benefited Nigerians? To what extent has our foreign policy put food on our tables? In other words, where is the citizen in our foreign policy?”
Quoting Williams Dubois, the Minister said, “The colour of the skin remains the defining paradigm of international relations. And I think that it would not be out of naivety for the largest black country in the world not to be conscious of the fact that colour of corruption is black, so long as the colour of corruption is black, so long as the colour of HIV/AIDS is black, so long as the colour of ethnic conflicts is black…all black people all over the world, whether they are Congress men in the United States or the United Kingdom, they will never walk proud any where in the world.”
He said that Nigeria carried enormous burden to be the symbol of the success of the black nation and there could never be a black success story, “unless it is a Nigeria success story.”
Sourced from This Day newspaper of 12.09.2007