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—Why should Nigeria carry the burden of Obasanjo’s Mistakes?
Written by
Diesode Omenih

Thanks to members of the Senate Joint Ad Hoc Committee on the International Court of Justice whose public hearings are now shedding some light into how the Obasanjo administration neglected to take into consideration, the nation’s security interest. Should Nigeria accept the rulings of the International Court of Justice in the Green Tree Agreement stands today, Nigeria’s naval fleet which includes warships and frigates could not operate in the Calabar estuary without first seeking authorization from Cameroonian authorities. According to the ThisDay article, Nigeria’s chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Andrew O. Azazi, as well as the director of training, Nigeria Defense Headquarters, Commodore Dele Izioba painted a rather dismal picture of the encumbrances inherent in the Green Tree Agreement. Another good example of this is the failure of the Obasanjo administration to have the agreement ratified by the nation’s law-making bodies of the Federal Republic of Nigeria: the House of Representatives, and the Senate.

To capture the essence of this debacle, can any Nigerian imagine a scenario where Nigeria’s ability to protect itself and people against external aggression is subject to the approval of another country, in this case, Cameroon? Well, that’s what the ICJ ruling demands and expects of Nigeria because of a ruling by the International Court of Justice. Will the United States of America agree to play second fiddle to another country in the event of an attack, in seeking to protect its territory and people?

That Nigerians should sit and watch supinely as their compatriots in the Bakassi peninsula are tossed out to Cameroon with the stroke of a pen is one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in peacetime! This cowardly act by a president who, not only was forced on Nigerians, but came in the guise of a born-again Christian and paraded himself as the most ‘patriotic’ of Nigerians clearly underscores Nigeria's continuous state of quandary.

Like many actions of government during his undemocratic 8-year tenure, Obasanjo's unilateral sacrifice of Bakassi to Cameroon would not have been possible if Obasanjo’s village of birth were located in the region. Believe me, Obasanjo, the ‘only Nigerian to be detribalized’ would not have ceded so easily an inch of Yorubaland! Like the Niger Delta, the people of Bakassi are expendable, but their resources, exploitable.

There is no international agreement that can compel a nation to cede part of its territory to another even without the consent of the people directly affected. People often forget that Southern Cameroon was initially and originally an integral part of Nigeria until a referendum was conducted and the people of southern Cameroon overwhelmingly voted to join Cameroon.

Additionally, the people of Bakassi were never given the same opportunity to determine their own fate. Neither Nigeria under Obasanjo nor the world court thought it useful or humane to involve the people of Bakassi in the so-called decision.

Ordinary Nigerians are not unaware of France's bad intentions for Nigeria dating back to before the secessionist war in Nigeria between 1967 and 1970. Go ask one of Nigeria's most principled but uncelebrated top army brass, retired Army Chief of Staff, Gen. David Ejoor about the great injustice occasioned by Obasanjo's acts of betrayal in the Bakassi saga, and you'll be pointed to where to find relevant documentations and other cogent, irrefutable evidence to the contrary. Ironically, Gen. Ejoor made a special trip to Abuja to voice strong opposition to what Obasanjo’s government was about to do with Bakassi to no avail.

There comes a time in the life of either a person or nation when defending one's honor and principle is inescapable. And I submit to you that Bakassi is one such circumstance.

Who says this foul, stinky world court decision is irrevocable? Especially so when in the considered opinion of our nation’s top military experts, the decision of the world court dangerously undermines Nigeria’s national security.

Of all the shady deals the Obasanjo administration entered into in the name of, and on behalf of Nigeria, Bakassi is one of the most vexing, and thus, must not be allowed to bind and bound. Nigeria must renounce the Green Tree Agreement at all costs. Nigeria should damn the decision of the world court and the consequence thereof, and for once use the same army it needlessly unleashed on the peoples of Odi in Bayelsa State, and Zaki Biam in Benue State to defend once and for all, Nigeria's honor if any, and principle!

Now is the time for Nigeria to show its spine. If at all it has one.