“A general in politics is different from a general at war… Use power to serve your people and not lay ambush”
Mr. President and the good people of Nigeria.
I stand before you today as the leader of the Free World and as a representative of the American people who have asked me to express their good feelings and best wishes towards your country, the biggest democracy in the Black World. They salute your courage and wisdom in fighting past dictatorships and opting for democracy. Indeed, you have chosen well and the United States will always stand by you as you march ahead in your struggle to bring liberty, freedom and happiness to your dear country. We also take pride in seeing our country as the biggest democracy in the entire world. But we did not attain this feat on a platter of gold. We fought hard for it in the Rockies, on the Appalachians, in the valleys of the Tennessee and the Mississippi, on the Great Lakes and across the Prairies. For eleven summers and winters the patriots fought to secure the fatherland. Eventually the colonists were defeated and freedom came like spring after winter. Your country also fought the British colonists but you were luckier. While we secured our freedom on petals of blood, you got yours on a platter of gold. You have also survived a civil war. We, Americans, know what you’d have gone through but I must congratulate you, Mr. President, for having personally led Nigeria at the warfront and now at the political front. Few leaders in the world have had this unique opportunity.
However, let me sound a note of warning here. A general in politics is different from a general at war. Always remember the war is over and that politics is not the moral equivalent of war. Use political power to serve your people and not to lay ambush against their yearnings and aspirations. In Africa, poor leadership has led to internal conflicts, coup d’etats and civil wars leaving the people traumatised for life. We remember the wars in the Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Sierra Leone and, lately, Liberia with President Charles Taylor who is likely to end up in exile here. Mr. President, we, Americans have learnt from our own past and vowed not to let our hard-fought freedom slip away for a pack of chicken nuggets. There are checks and balances entrenched in the constitution which our visionary fathers laboured to write in the summer of 1787 after the War of Independence. That constitution is 216 years old this year and it has stood the test of time. I learnt, Mr. President, that in your country you always have a constitution for every President. This should not be so. A good constitution is for the people and not the personal black book of a ruler. It needs a strong framework on which solid structures are built and which will remain the guiding light as well as the reference point for the entire people at all times.
Having said that, please allow me to take you back to the last presidential election in the United States. I am sure you all still remember the drama that ensued before and after the final result was declared. For those who are not conversant with the workings of the American constitution, my opponent, Al Gore, should have been declared winner because he had a majority of the popular votes, having scored 51,003,894 while I scored 50,459,211. Yet, I was declared the winner because my own score fetched me more electoral votes. It is not a riddle but a constitutional provision, which stipulates that the Electoral College supersedes the popular votes in determining who becomes the President of the United States of America.
This is the beauty of our democracy. And this is the product I have come to sell to you. Buy it, have it and, wait a minute, blend it with local ingredients so as to give it a flavour that is distinctly African and at the same time universal. On my way here, I took time off to read one of the poems of Wole Soyinka, your Nobel laureate. It is titled Abiku. I was fascinated by his use of African experience to depict the unending cycle of death of the abiku child. To me, I think every African republic has the tendency of becoming an abiku republic. Let’s all vow today to work in the interest of fellow Africans so that the returning cycle of stillborn republics in the continent can be severed once and for all. I want to wish that this your Third (or is it fourth?) Republic does not die prematurely.
Henceforth, we Republican Americans, will want to develop more interest in Africa and its people. I know the Democrats have gained an early lead with their African policy which was followed up with the visits of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. I am happy that a Republican President is finally here in my humble person. I want to assure you that we are equally your friends but, mark you, friendship between our two countries is strictly on American terms. In a uni-polar world there is no symbiotic relationship. When Washington sneezes we expect Abuja to catch cold in sympathy. And if you truly love us, you must love our dogs. Our enemies have always criticised what they term our carrot-and-stick approach but this should not be seen as a terror policy. You are either with us or against us. No half measures.
Mr. President, I can assure you that the US has come a long way in science and technology, a part of which we displayed during the last Gulf War. With our technology, you can only run but you can’t hide. We have the means to monitor our enemies and friends anywhere, even inside their bedrooms. Thus, my mission during this shuttle in the wild is to warn the crazy guys. Terrorists, beware! Dictators, watch it!!! Corrupt leaders, think twice. This is a wake-up call to everybody. The new Big Brother has an eye and the sophistication to locate, capture and bring any war criminal to justice under the auspices of the UN or NATO or none or all of the above. And let me warn post-developed, developed, developing, underdeveloped, underdeveloping and never-to-develop countries that any American soldier accused of war crime is immune to arrest and trial. You may wonder if there is no contradiction here. None whatsoever. America has the right to be the World’s Sheriff. Cowboy diplomacy? Who cares? It’s our God-given right. We are the supercop or who else has the capacity and the wherewithal with which to police the world? Only the Cowboys can. God bless America! The Cold War is over. The communists have been routed. Where is Lenin? Where is Stalin? Where is Karl Marx? Where is Che Guevara? Communism has become a dinosaur ideology and its followers are as dead as dodo. This is harvest time.
Yes, we have tamed the Dragon but we must not be complacent. The world is still not safe. A new wind of change is blowing. Our world, one of a decent bush and a thousand wild jungles, is filled with a monstrous variety of poisonous snakes and reptiles bent on foisting a new World Disorder on humankind but they will fail. While the dragon was easier to keep track of, this new wave of animality is difficult to pinpoint. We, therefore, call for Nigeria’s cooperation in taming the new dragons in terrorists’ fatigues. Do not open your door for the bad guys lest they bring collateral damage to your people.
Finally, Mr. President, I want to commend the tenacity and ‘resourcefulness’ of visa applicants in Nigeria. I was briefed this morning by the Consul-General that your people are so desperate to migrate to America, the beautiful, that if they were asked to provide, within 24 hours, a document signed by God, they would bring the damn thing within 24 minutes! That’s incredible but do you know how I responded? I said if God is that generous with His divine signature, He could as well give them the American visa. Mr. President, that’s food for thought. Contrary to your belief, God is not a Nigerian. He is an American but if you want Him, you need to make Nigeria great again and give hope to your people. You have everything that God could provide any nation to attain greatness. Thank you, and God bless.