African Union (formerly Organization of African Unity) was founded in 1963 with 30 members. Nigeria, as a foundation member, has always played an active part in the regional organization’s activities. It was in the 70’s that the Military regimes declared Africa as the center piece of Nigeria’s foreign policy. Nigeria always used the AU platform to project its African-ness in word and deed! This was why ordinary Nigerians, nay the whole world, had expected Nigeria to use the 50th anniversary celebration of the African Union held last Saturday, the 25th May, 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as the big stage to make a huge impact. Unfortunately, this expectation was dashed by the inimitable sloppiness of the Jonathan presidency!
The Nation’s President, Dr Good-luck Jonathan, spurned the slot allocated to him to articulate his contribution to the regional discourse. He did not attend and no representative was sent to deliver Nigeria’s message. In ordinary administrative appraisal of the action, it was not just irresponsible but gross dereliction of executive duties. In diplomatic circles, the President’s action literally rubbished the labours of Nigeria’s past heroes and heroines who had been known for standing up to be counted on the African continent. As citizens, we still relish the diplomatic pressure Nigeria put on the white supremacists of the then Apartheid South Africa in ensuring the dismantling of that execrable villainy!
As usual, the motley of spin doctors, in the Nation’s presidency, has continued to adduce various implausible reasons for the President’s below-par demeanour. Whatever obfuscation of facts being peddled around cannot detract from the hard fact that the President was flummoxed by the victory of Governor Rotimi Amaechi at the Nigeria Governors’ Forum election, which revealed the bilious discontent thereafter!
We recall that in October, 2011, the President missed a session at the Commonwealth Summit in Australia for the same laissez-faire attitude that has become the hall-mark of the Jonathan administration. In the late 80’s, the vice-president in a Military regime was made to step down because he missed a National celebration.
As a Party, we view with grave concern this nonchalance of our President and its portent for Nigeria’s image. As an irreducible minimum, the citizens of this Nation deserve an unreserved apology from the President for the National disgrace and embarrassment his action had caused.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Rotimi Fashakin (Engr.)
National Publicity Secretary, CPC.