Opinions are, perhaps, one of the freest things in life, asides air. Everyone can offer an opinion irrespective of one’s knowledge, background, intelligence- just anyone. Thus, 60,000 sports spectators who have never coached in their life can offer their opinion to a coach who has racked up a good number of years of experience in a sport, won honors and titles; a dying man can offer an opinion to an experienced doctor in the operating room, as long as his voice still functions; a child can offer opinion on marriage to a happily married couple; thus someone who has lost a presidential election and has no experience in leadership at presidential level can offer a scathing opinion to a serving president.
Perhaps, because that President is African and from Africa, some school of thought will agrue. You see colonialism has its many forms. Neo-colonialism, according to the Ghanaian Pan-Africanist, Kwame Nkrumah, is the large stage of imperialism. And Neo-Colonialism is perhaps, not going anywhere, as western-style democracy- arguably an offshoot of neo-colonialism – is the practicing system of governance in African countries. Hence in offering an opinion, the ‘giver’ of democracy feels urged to deride and insult the recipients, because the ‘giver’ actually owns it. Knows it and understands it better. And is aided by the victim-mentality which sadly, is a common denominator, within the African recipients.
The government of any country, represents the country itself. Hence when the hawkish Senator John McCain of the United States chooses to declare, on the CNN, that Nigeria is practically non-existent, he insults Nigeria and its sovereignty. His position in the pre and post colonial web, perhaps grants him that right to. Arguably. And when Africans dance around the village square and accept what Mr McCain says, it is understandable. After all, the recipients, bogged down with their chosen choices of the fragments from inferiority complex, actually have no alternative choice. Or they think they do not. One is noble and saintly; the other is savage and crude, and accepts the opinion of the noble as a definite, conclusive one. However, how noble is the noble?
It is a known fact that the United States has one of the highest cases of gun related crimes in the world, due its gun-ownership laws, one which Senator John McCain solidly supports. The United States has 88 firearms per 100 people. From an international perspective, the US clearly has a problem – despite having less than 5% of the world’s population, it has roughly 35-50% of the world’s civilian-owned guns. A problem which, through legislative activities, John McCain actively contributes too. A problem of gun ownership, leading to gun deaths. The Guardian has it that in 2013, the United States lost an average of 30 persons per day to gun violence (approximately 12,000) and thousands more suffered some form of bodily losses. The losses and pains go further in terms of emotional pains, which one can not quantify. Perhaps John McCain can.
You see, I admire John McCain. I admire his courage as a former US Serviceman. admire his career in America’s Senate. I do not, however, admire his legislative support towards guns, because guns kill. McCain opposes restrictions on “assault rifles” and has voted consistently against such bans. He has opposed bans on the importation of certain types of ammunition magazines and has voted against such limitations. He has voted YES on loosening license & background checks at gun shows. He has voted against ‘waiting periods’ for guns purchases. He has voted NO on background checks at gun shows- his support for guns, not minding the deaths that come with it is incredible. And there are more. If anyone clearly lacks the nobility, moral ground to pass disparaging comments that belittles the sovereignty of a nation, McCain perhaps fits that personality.
According to the Scripture of John McCain, Nigeria is non-existent. He calls Nigeria, non-existent; a country that recently hosted the World Economic Forum on Africa despite the security challenges it faced. He calls the country which the United States sees as its key strategic partner in Africa and World affairs, non-existent. He calls Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, non-existent. He calls the United States major African, Nigeria trading partner by imports (38%, 2012 statistics) non-existent. He calls the country that receives the highest FDI in Africa (oil and non-oil sector), non-existent. He calls Africa’s most populous country, and the largest black nation in the world, non-existent. He calls the country with the most competitive telecoms industry in Africa, non-existent. He calls the country, in which Ernst & Young describes its market as ‘an exciting dynamic, high octane growth’ one. He calls the country of arguably the most energetic, enterprising and intelligent congregation of young Africans, non-existent. A school of thought will excuse his comments for forgetfulness caused by senility. Perhaps, that is logical.
So Mr McCain, while we are facing, perhaps the most challenging period in our nation’s history since the Civil War, while we need the help of our friends and partners in the international community to tackle it, while we appreciate the help of those who have offered some form of assistance, we want to remind you, that we are not non-existent. Every nation goes through a trying period, to come out stronger and better. The United States went through theirs, and perhaps with the rising level of gun crime and gun deaths, is going through a testing period again. Nigeria is going through a testing period and with God’s help, we would come out stronger, tougher and more united. Like the United States, we are blessed with visionary, non-partisan, peace-loving young people across the country. We are patriotic, we have a strong sense of national pride; we are resilient; and Mr McCain, we are proudly Nigerians. Make no mistake, we would find the abducted school girls. We are grateful for outside help. Despite our challenges, a good number which I have not, mentioned, we would overcome.
God bless the United States of America.
God bless Nigeria.
Source: Nigerian Gazette