• Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Fading glory: Nigeria’s diplomatic dilemma

Fading glory: Nigeria’s diplomatic dilemma

In 1960, as Nigeria celebrated its hard-fought independence, the world looked upon the nation as a rising star destined for a prominent role in the global community. Factors such as its rich history, strategic geography, and a burgeoning population seemed to position Nigeria as a key player on the international stage. Despite adopting a policy of non-alignment, Nigeria garnered considerable respect from the prevailing power blocs of that era.

However, recent events have cast a shadow over Nigeria’s earned international respect and traditional leadership in Africa. The treatment of Nigerians and their diplomats abroad has become increasingly dehumanising and alarming, raising questions about the nation’s standing in the comity of nations.

Over the past few years, Nigerians have faced xenophobic attacks in various countries, including South Africa, where the very nation had played a crucial role in ending apartheid. The situation in Ghana, where five Nigerians were killed, has prompted concerns about the safety of Nigerian citizens abroad. The mistreatment of Nigerian deportees, often seen in shackles, is not only inhumane but also demands urgent attention.

The plight of Nigerians abroad is a reflection of the broader challenges facing the nation.

The transformation from a globally respected nation to one facing disdain and opprobrium did not occur in isolation. The failure to sustain the second republic, leading to prolonged military rule and the annulment of the 1993 election, marked a turning point. These events significantly diminished Nigeria’s status and influence in world affairs.

The mismanagement of Nigeria’s economy, pervasive corruption in government, and widespread infrastructural decay have further eroded the international respect that the nation once enjoyed. The manhandling of Nigerian diplomats abroad is a glaring symptom of this decline, and it is imperative for Abuja to take note and address these incidents promptly.

Emeka Anyaoku’s comments highlight the precarious state of Nigeria, pushing it towards a national disaster and international irrelevance. The recent audacity of an Indonesian diplomat blaming a Nigerian diplomat for an incident in Jakarta underscores the nation’s diminished standing. Anyaoku’s observation rings true – the degeneration of Nigeria’s international image is a cause for concern.

The contrast with the United States is stark. Americans fiercely protect their national interest and security, ensuring the safety and dignity of their citizens abroad. This is in sharp contrast to Nigeria, where diplomats and citizens alike face degrading and dehumanising conditions without adequate recourse. The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, purportedly established to safeguard the rights of Nigerians abroad, appears toothless and reactive, only intervening when Nigerians run afoul of foreign laws.

The economic leverage once wielded by Nigeria has also dwindled. With over 74% of Nigeria’s noodle market dominated by an Indonesian company, Indomie, generating over $700 million in yearly revenue, it is evident that Nigeria’s economic significance has diminished. This economic vulnerability makes the nation susceptible to mistreatment by countries like Indonesia, as Nigeria’s international relevance continues to wane.

The recent manhandling and torturous treatment of Nigerian diplomats by Indonesia is a provocative development that falls far below the standard of treatment befitting a Nigerian citizen, let alone a diplomat. This egregious act of international delinquency demands immediate attention and a robust response from the Nigerian government.

The plight of Nigerians abroad is a reflection of the broader challenges facing the nation. The government’s inability to protect its citizens and diplomats, coupled with internal issues like economic mismanagement and corruption, has led to a loss of international respect. The downward spiral must be arrested, and corrective measures taken to restore Nigeria’s standing on the global stage.

It is crucial for the seat of power in Abuja to reevaluate its diplomatic strategies, reinforcing the importance of protecting Nigerian citizens and diplomats abroad. The government must address the root causes of the nation’s decline, implementing effective economic and governance reforms. A proactive approach to international relations, grounded in safeguarding the rights and dignity of Nigerians, is paramount.

The decline from a well-respected global player to a nation grappling with mistreatment abroad is a call to action. Nigeria must reclaim its standing through strategic diplomatic efforts, internal reforms, and an unwavering commitment to protecting its citizens on the global stage.