History is naturally all ears. It also has a retinue of reminders in human memory. The Palestinian/Israeli conflict that has been ongoing for 73 years, since 1948, is a typical example of this assertion.
It will be recalled that since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, she has consistently maintained a progressive diplomatic tradition that makes her a reputable African champion of liberation of people in bondage from the shackles of oppression. For instance, the cases of Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Southern Sudan, among others, are not yet lost on the track of African history.
That Nigeria’s diplomatic policy remained intact until 2014 when Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan decided to change that trend by dancing sentimentally to the tune of religious bigotry, in the case of Palestine, did not come as a surprise to well-meaning Nigerians who have flare for international diplomacy. For a long time to come, that unfortunately miscalculated decision may remain a scar on the flesh of Nigeria’s diplomatic history, which will be very difficult to obliterate.
The contemporary diplomatic world will not forget Tuesday, December 30, 2014, in a hurry. That was the day that Nigeria ridiculously displayed a landmark diplomatic goof to her own embarrassment. The date will remain an indelible memory of a deadly sore throat for generations of Palestinians whose destiny of existence became tied to the oppressive apron of the iron fist of the Zionists at the instance of Nigeria.
For long, the incident which makes that date an indelible. Memory will continue to confirm Nigeria’s bloody hand in the saga of Palestinian/Israeli perennial conflict. And, here, in Nigeria, as far as international diplomacy is concerned, the designer of that bloody hand President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan will also not be forgotten.
On the mentioned date (Tuesday, December 30, 2014), Nigeria openly and ridiculously threw away the garland of dignity which had fetched her an incomparable reputation as the African leader of international diplomacy. It was an incident that simply amounted to a country’s betrayal of conscience. That incident which occurred at the United Nations’ Security Council meeting, far away in New York, seriously exposed the diplomatic hypocrisy of Nigeria and replaced her garland with a crown of thorn.
Our Special E-edition#ApartheidIsrael has been using State terrorism to commit war crimes against the #Palestinians in West Bank and #Gaza for decades, with the tacit support of the #US #UK and their allies, while the #UnitedNations fiddles and looks away. #PalestineUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/RTejTinmpi
— Muslim News Nigeria (@muslimnews_NG) May 14, 2021
Before that meeting, the United Nations’ Security Council had proposed an historic anticlimax solution to the then 66-year-old Palestinian/Israeli conflict with a view to paving way for a two-State UN resolution. If that resolution had scaled through as expected, it would have served as the final solution to the the Middle East rises and, by implication, a lasting catalyst for the entire world in fetching peace.
THE VOTING PATTERN
In the ‘YES or NO’ voting rule to be followed by the 15 member-nations of the Security Council, on the mentioned proposed resolution, nine votes were required as the simple majority to determine the liberation of the Palestinian people from Israel’s political and economic strangulation of Palestine. The immediate concern of the Security Council, at that time, was to stop the suffocating siege laid on the West Bank/Gaza Strip by Israel.
But out of the 15 member-nations, in the Council, at that meeting, only eight voted in favour of Palestinian liberation while two voted for continuous Israeli oppression on Palestine. The eight nations that voted for the liberation of Palestine were Argentina, Chad, Chile, China, France, Jordan, Luxembourg and Russia. Those that voted for continuous oppression by Israel were the United States and Australia.
The five remaining countries that opted for abstention were Lithuania, South Korea, Rwanda, Britain and Nigeria.
Meanwhile, two years before the above narrated incident (2012), Nigeria’s permanent representative at the United Nations, Prof Joy Ogwu, had passionately supported the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and statehood, based on her understanding of Nigeria’s diplomatic tradition.
She also reiterated Nigeria’s recognition of the State of Palestine. That was just about one year after Nigeria confirmed her diplomatic relation with Palestine on October 31, 2011. At that time, Professor Ogwu voted in favour of UN’s admission of Palestine into UNESCO as a full member-state, despite a fierce opposition from the US and Israel.
We all speak of #peace but nobody is talking about #justice (for the #Palestinians) and there cannot be peace without justice. Justice is the soul of peace and whoever denies justice cannot expect peace. – Prof. Ishaq Lakin Akintola, Director, #MURIC #Palestine #Israel pic.twitter.com/omgOmMDlNL
— Muslim News Nigeria (@muslimnews_NG) May 24, 2021
During her speech on that occasion at the UN General Assembly in 2012, Prof Ogwu, a highly disciplined and conscientious professional diplomat, underscored the right of the Palestinians to live in freedom. She enthusiastically expressed her country’s stand as follows:
“It was quite fitting that the international community had given Palestine a non-member observer state status in the United Nations. This was not only timely but also right and just.”
She then went ahead to pledge Nigeria’s commitment to working towards Palestine’s admission into the United Nations as a full member state.
However, apparently acting on the instruction of her big boss in Abuja, Professor Ogwu, a reputable diplomatic personality of international repute, dramatically made a somersaulting u-turn that made a ricule of Nigeria’s diplomatic status in the comity of nations. Rather than living by her words of two years earlier (2012), as a dignified diplomat representing a dignified nation, she cheapened out with a hallow face and threw the supposed conscience of Nigeria to the winds, apparently in exchange for a surreptitious agenda built on a clandestine foundation, which is generally known as “Nigerian factor”.
Share this quote with your #Christian friends who think the #Palestinian crisis is between #Muslims and #Jews. Hopefully, the sincere ones among them will understand that their 'brethren in #Christ', also suffer from #Israeli aggression and oppression. #Palestinelivesmatter pic.twitter.com/X0Mj0HEoSD
— Muslim News Nigeria (@muslimnews_NG) May 26, 2021
Thus, to the amazement, and, perhaps, disappointment of most members of the then UN Security Council, including those that voted to block the Palestinian right to a home, Nigerian government destroyed her decades of diplomatic glory with a self-damaging decision to scuttle the UN’s long awaited pivotal resolution that would have brought permanent peace to the Middle East and even the entire world.
The implication of that surreptitious decision, today, is that the Middle East, in which Nigeria has tremendous economic interest, as well as the rest of the world, cannot sincerely sleep with both eyes closed. This is because, the Middle East conflict especially between Israel and Palestine has consistently been the major determinant of global insecurity since 1967 when Israel, aided by the imperialist West, further occupied the Arab lands which she has since refused to relinquish, despite all global efforts. It should be noted that Donald Trump’s unilateral declaration of the entire Jerusalem as the indivisible capital of Israel, in 2020, further compounded the conflict in multiple ways.
FOCUS ON NIGERIA
Before the time of the above mentioned voting date, the anxiety created by the impending abstention of certain member-states had put a global diplomatic focus on Nigeria, being a legendry African champion of liberation movements in the past. The tenacity for such a diplomatic role, during the cold war years, as a vital part of Nigeria’s foreign policy that aided the independence of countries like South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Algeria and others had once pitched Nigeria’s tent against that of the imperialistic tendencies of some Western countries. And, many serious-minded countries had expected the continuity of that role by Nigeria.
By deviating from her well known respectable foreign policy, and, by pitching tent with the imperialist West, to stifle the lives of the Palestinians, in 2014, Nigerian government, under the Presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, only sacrificed her conscience on a platter of religious sentiment which was a reflection of an unstable conscience and a dangerous diplomatic summersault.
On behalf of the Nigerian Muslims, we join the rest of the world to mark today, May 15th #NakbaDay, marking 73 years since #Palestinians were forcibly removed from their homes during #Israel's creation. Over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their towns and villages in 1948 pic.twitter.com/TH6Qsawsw6
— Muslim News Nigeria (@muslimnews_NG) May 15, 2021
This could be linked to a fortuitous diplomatic visit of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, to Nigeria in June 2014, in preparation for the above mentioned betrayal of conscience by the so-called Giant of Africa.
Thereafter, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, openly thanked and praised President Goodluck Jonathan ‘for carrying out a yeoman’s job’. Despite all these Christi-religious shenanigan, Nigerians, irrespective of their faiths and political ideologies, are hereby urged to forget about that diplomatic catastrophe and wait for another chance, bearing in mind that diplomatic policy is an arena in which formulators of come and go like weathers. God bless Nigeria!
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