Archive | July, 2015

Despite Pageantry & Rhetoric US Continues to Undermine Nigerian Security

23 Jul

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D. The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates, a full-service investment, political and economic risk consultancy, and asset management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

The United States disappointed the Buhari-led delegation by informing them that they were continuing their policy of refusing to even sell arms to Nigeria. The excuse repeatedly given by the Unites States is that Nigeria has human rights violations that prevents the US from selling weapons. Unable to change this policy the trip by President Buhari to Washington was a waste of time. Looking closely at the recent history of US military weapons support, ISIS terrorist in Syria and Libya received US weapons for free! They have a long history of arming the absolute Monarchy in Saudi Arabia, authoritarianism in Yemen, even Ethiopia that is not democratic receives millions in military assistance. In addition Qatar, Djibouti, Honduras, and Algeria are all major customers of US weapons sales. If the Buhari administration is naïve enough to believe the United States excuse then he too will be duped even more so than his predecessor by the Obama Administration’s overt hostility to Nigeria. By right the US president should have visited Nigeria on his Africa tour, instead of the Nigerian president coming to Washington again. The US president has refused to afford Nigeria the respect that all previous US presidents before him afforded the country. Instead he has gone to South Africa, Ghana, Egypt, and now Kenya and Ethiopia. It is blatantly obvious that the deliberate agenda of the US is to diminish Nigeria in Africa as much as possible.

International relations is built on reciprocity. If a country continues to blatantly and belligerently undermine you then why keep pandering and dancing with them? By the end of his tenure former President Jonathan realized this and finally began to look elsewhere for support. The newly elected Buhari Administration was too naïve to notice this or perhaps incorrectly believed that the US would treat him differently. Aside from a little pageantry and rhetoric, nothing has changed. The US is a “frenemy” of Nigeria, where they pose as friends but behave as adversaries. US National Security advisor, Susan Rice and former US Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell who is a prominent member of the Council on Foreign Relations in the US, are core architects of this policy along with high-level military officials in the Department of Defense. Undermining Nigerian and African security as a means of expanding the influence and scope of AFRICOM, the US High Command for Africa, based in Germany is the core agenda of the United States. Many in this cabal actually hope that Nigeria breaks apart and ceases to exist as a nation-state as was outlined by John Campbell in his book predicting the break-up of Nigeria by 2015.

What the APC administration needs to realize is that the combative stance that the outgoing administration finally adopted with respect to the US was the right policy. There is no need to change this or presume that somehow the US will like them better. A strong Nigeria is simply not in the interest of the United States because it undermines their influence in Africa. It took far too long for the Jonathan administration to figure this out and hopefully the learning curve of the Buhari administration is not going to be so slow. Not everyone agrees with the US agenda, France openly opposed the US efforts to collapse Mali at the hands of Al qaeda forces they earlier pushed out of Libya. So there are many other potential partners for Nigeria. Further weapons procurement should be diversified so that the country is not reliant on any one partner. Instead of pandering to the US, the Buhari administration should have sent delegations to the countries that actually sold weapons to Nigeria during the crisis, which eventually led to the offensive that wiped-out Boko Haram’s territorial gains. The next stage of the fight against Boko Haram is going to be an intelligence-focused fight. The Buhari administration badly needs to enhance the intelligence gathering capacity of the State Security Service and the military. The US has already failed to support Nigeria in this regard, so Nigeria needs to develop intelligence capacity-building partnerships with a diverse set of partners just as was done with weapons procurement by the previous administration.

Kuranga and Associates Limited is an investment management advisory firm and an asset manager with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2014 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Dr.Kuranga

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D.
Managing Director
Kuranga & Associates Limited
Phone: 212.363.0936
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com
http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga

President Buhari keeps Nigerian Public in the Dark

20 Jul

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D. The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates, a full-service investment, political and economic risk consultancy, and asset management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

Throughout his campaign the newly elected president promised that he would change the way government worked in Nigeria. Part of the change promised was transparency, not just changing the way the government functions and operates, but also making major changes in the way government at all levels engages and communicates with the public. Sadly to say, it does not appear as though this is a priority for the new administration at this time. Throughout his first 2 months there have been a series of miscommunications, conflicting statements, and wild and rampant rumors fueled by the fact that the presidency is opaque and fails to provide information to the public. There is no need for these ridiculous rumors and inconsistent stories about selling jets, failed security clearances of ministerial nominees, or even conflicting statements about whether or not the president had actually recalled ambassadors. All this is due to the fact that in large part the administration has chosen to be opaque towards the public rather than transparent. As long as the administration continues to adopt an opaque posture when dealing with disseminating information to the public, they will continue to give fodder to the rumor mills and borderline nonsensical headlines that only serve to distract the public from the issues that matter.

One of the key questions the public keeps asking is what exactly is the president doing in his first 100 days? What are his plans and/or goals? Judging from the series of actions taken over the past few months, it appears as though President Buhari has been intently focused on consolidating his grip on power. Shortly after entering office the president dissolved the board of directors of the NNPC, and recently dissolved the boards of every major parastatal within the government. The president also dismissed the top service chiefs in the armed forces replacing them with his own. The president recently recalled all politically appointed ambassadors serving abroad and some of the midnight appointments and new-hires that occurred under the previous administration have also been reversed. Without a cabinet, the compound impact of these steps is that virtually every major organ of the Nigerian government now answers directly to the president himself and takes their basic marching orders directly from his office. It is not clear precisely who is working within the office of the president assisting him in executing the Herculean task of directly managing the entire government from his office, but perhaps the delegations he has taken with him to the G7, the AU, and the US may offer some clues. Nonetheless, the efforts the new president has taken to consolidate his grip on power are unprecedented. This may come as no surprise because a change of power from a ruling party to an opposition party through a peaceful election in Nigeria is also unprecedented. The presidents spokespeople have complained about lack of cooperation from the outgoing administration. The administration appears to be intent on purging the government of the operatives left behind by the previous administration. This may in-part be due to the wide ranging probes they intend to carryout or those that may have already commenced. It is entirely possible that the outgoing administration left-behind a host loyal staffers now functioning as double-agents to circumvent attempts by the new administration to investigate the misdeeds of their former bosses, but due to the opaque nature of the current administration we may never know.

In order for the president to implement a trans-formative agenda and make a clear break with the past, he has to remove the old guard, reorganize the structure of government, and bring in new hands to run things. The old guard is not going to let go easily, so not-unexpectedly, the presidency will have to wrestle control of the instruments of government from their hands. From the looks of things, it does appear as though that is precisely what the Buhari administration is doing. Still, making a clear break from the past will not fully occur without a greater level of transparency. Since there is no cabinet in place, we should not have to keep speculating about who is working as core advisers in the office of the president. Further the wild rumors that cabinet announcements are being delayed from reasons ranging from failed security clearances of nominees to the presidents old age and inability to act quickly could all be done away with, if the presidency simply gave a clear periodic statement as to what it is doing and what their objectives are. In the United States for example, the president gives a weekly address, typically over the weekend, and the presidents spokespeople take questions from the media and gives an address once a week, usually on Friday’s. Nobody would raise any alarm if the Buhari administration simply announced that it was first taking concrete steps to clean-up the bureaucracy and the parastatals and reorganize them and thus would not be moving forward with a cabinet until that was concluded.

What is even worse than the Presidents deplorable communication with the Nigerian public to date, is his recent decision to provide breaking new information on domestic affairs to a foreign media outlet bypassing all the media outlets based in Nigeria! In his Op-ed in the Washington Post, the President officially announced for the FIRST TIME that his cabinet will be nominated in September. This is the same behavior his predecessor elicited when he granted interviews to a foreign CNN journalist when he was interim-president ahead of the Nigerian media. Last time I checked, Buhari and Jonathan were parading around as “Nigerian” presidents. Clearly they are more concerned about their image to foreign “constituencies” than they are about their image at home. If Nigeria were China, the UK, the US, Brazil, India or even South Africa, and the presidents of those countries dare did what President Buhari just did they would rightfully be reduced to shreds as traitors upon their return home. Just as Jonathan got away with doing the same things, do not expect the colonial slave-minded Nigerian media houses to say anything to President Buhari either. The only reason why our leaders get away which such lack of accountability to the public is because mainstream Nigerian media is even more despicable than this.

Any foolish thing that an unqualified analyst with 1 degree based in US or UK says about Nigeria, every Nigerian newspaper will reprint it and report on it as “newsworthy”. The recent S&P report that Nigeria must devalue the naira, is filled with ignorant errors and miscalculations, all Nigeria has to do is raise revenue from its affluent and everything will be fine. Still every major Nigerian media outlet carried the story as fact simply because it came from abroad. To this day, the editor of This Day wont speak to me because I criticized her for this very behavior. Still, as a contributor, every piece I write on Nigeria I provide first to Nigerian media outlets before foreign outlets, because when it comes to the country, Nigeria comes first. When I wrote my article on states and local governments losing billions of dollars in parking revenue, every major Nigerian media outlet ignored me so I eventually provided it to a UK outlet to reprint it. As soon as I did that, some of the same Nigerian media outlets that ignored the same piece verbatim, published the article. Despite this I still continue my Nigeria first policy. So why cant the president? As we know the colonial slave-minded Nigerian media houses all simply reprinted and reported on the contents of the Op-ed story and did not question anything about the mode in which the president disseminated key details of his plans, but there is a principle here that even the foreign constituencies that he is trying to impress understand. The message that the president just delivered in Washington is that the Nigerian people are so stupid and incompetent that even their own president has to rely on foreigners to be the first to disseminate information about domestic Nigerian policy. Is this a place you would want to invest, or visit? This is the same problem caused by the “Nigerian” sovereign wealth fund that made its first investments in the US, using foreign banks as custodians, and as agents to execute its transactions. With one side of his mouth the President promoted Nigeria as a place to invest, and with his actions by choosing the Washington Post to make his announcement, he did the precise opposite. Even if the previous Nigerian presidents did the same thing, President Buhari promised a change. My question for him is, what kind of change is this?

Kuranga and Associates Limited is an investment management advisory firm and an asset manager with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to www.kaglobal.net. © Copyright 2014 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Dr.Kuranga

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D.
Managing Director
Kuranga & Associates Limited
Phone: 212.363.0936
david.kuranga@kaglobal.net
https://kurangaandassociates.wordpress.com
http://us.macmillan.com/thepowerofinterdependence/DavidOladipupoKuranga