On Saturday August 9, 2019, I stumbled on to yet another heart-breaking news piece on the Vanguard, one of Nigeria’s mainstream news media. The report startled me and the social media, an information harvest platform was awash with the news story of how the Congolese authorities allegedly threw caution to the winds by forcibly ejecting the Nigerian Ambassador from office – a gross violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.
This is one too many if you ask me because there have also been saddening reports of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians abroad particularly in black Africa.
Anti-Nigerian sentiments, you will agree with me, have grown recently in many parts of the world particularly in many African countries.
Never has it been heard of in the Mediterranean history how African migrants of Nigerian extraction had been killed in that region and buried in mass graves.
This ugly scenario is on the ascending order of magnitude in other parts of the world because to be identified as Nigerian before foreign immigration while going through passport control is almost tantamount to a crime.
Hmmm, how did we get here if I may ask? This is mind boggling and in fact the question agitating this writer.
On whom and what do we blame this obviously sad situation?
Time was when we were looked upon as the “Untermenschen” of the black race – a 19th century Nazi racial ideology on the north of the Mediterranean.
Other Africans used to be caught in the web of inferiority complex while relating with Nigerians in the foreign strands.
Today all is now history as the reverse has suddenly become the case. We have, to do the needful, been reduced to objects of derison and consequently an infectious virus to be avoided, thanks to some unpatrotic and socially undesirable elements who have diabolically launched a destructive media campaign against Nigeria in pursuit of a pipe dream which has redounded upon their heads in rapid succession calling to mind the xenophobic violence and resultant killings in South Africa.
I did ask a question a while ago and to address it requires a two pronged approach.
For starters, the government of the day is obviously not doing enough as society, it is said, prepares the crime to which individuals often fall victims.
This is heart-rending. However, in saner climes where the welfare of the citizenry is taken seriously unprecedented migration would not arise and virtually become non-existent.
In the part of the Old World where we have sojourned in decades it is not unusual to see residents of any civil division glued to their region and often feel disinclined when they are well provided for to visit neighbouring towns and cities. The government of the day often shirks responsibility which has driven our people in search of the proverbial greener pastures abroad and, while there, all means are employed to get rich quick including armed robbery.
Conversely, what does one make of this obviously sad situation when our people sometimes violate the laws of their host communities with the alleged connivance of our diplomatic personnel?
Be that as it may, that was beastly of the Congolese government for there is an established procedure to treat such cases by declaring whoever is involved persona non-grata and asking for his removal by the Nigerian authorities. Fortunately or unfortunately, the Rubicon is crossed and bounds of authority transgressed!
Nigerians are generally peace-loving lots and at no time have we been associated with violence but recently cases of violence and bestiality have been reported against Nigerians in foreign climes where law enforcement agents have been attacked by our people particularly Nigerian migrants who have been radicalized by Janjaweed armed militias while crossing the fiery Sahara desert to the coast of North Africa.
Only recently, it made news headlines across the world where some Nigerians in the emirate of Dubai, the UAE were arrested for robbing a certain Bureau de Change.
No responsible government would tolerate recidivists anywhere in its domain.
To our Edo 2020 agenda, we must now turn.
Today it is no news that our youths are also involved in this migration and crimes of varying degrees in their various countries of residence which is otherwise needless had the government of the day done the needful to better our lots with all the resources at its disposal.
Our Edo 2020 agenda is anchored solely to the regeneration of our state in the forthcoming dispensation which we are irrevocably committed to no matter whose ox is gored.
Like I have always said which has been widely reported by the world press, we have spent too much time brooding over past mistakes without taking urgent steps to correct these and plan for tomorrow. This sees us returning to the proverbial vicious circle which ought not to be after all.
Sometimes in the second quarter of 2018, over 96 Nigerians of Edo State extraction died on an inflatable raft which floated directionless with a broken motor in the open sea in their futile bid to make it to Europe.
It is appalling to see our youths – the major victims – in their naivety canvassing support for these crop of rulers that have criminally stolen their future.
Today, the truth has come and falsehood must vanish as we lead this rescue mission.
Iyoha John Darlington
Edo State Governorship Candidate
Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN)