Buhari on Palestine and Western Sahara

CONFLICT has become part and parcel of world politics. In the current world politics, no nation is spared one crisis or the other. Whenever a group of people or nations that have something in common fail to agree on the modalities for sharing what they commonly have, the next thing is often a resort to crisis that often snowballs into conflict. However, crisis and conflicts have become politically relative from country to country. In most cases, they result from selfishness and
inability of political leaders to reach a common ground on critical issues.
It is the postulation of some people that the Middle East has remained inflammable for decades, no thanks to the age-long conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbour, Palestine. Nonetheless, the conflict in that area is manageable because it is between two different sovereign nations unlike the kind of conflicts that exist within the same nation where the common wealth of the nation is not equitably shared. This kind of crisis could result in a struggle for self-determination.
The world over, the inability to eliminate the causes of crises often results in protracted conflicts. Sometimes, those who are suppressed or intimidated would continue to live with it, while waiting for the right time when settlement could be exacted. This, in majority of cases, results in battles with the government in power or the entire state they are seeking self-determination from.
It is the foregoing that tickled my mind to ask if somebody could tell me that President Muhammadu Buhari did not say what he was quoted to have said at a recent forum abroad. For the records, the President was quoted to have made a case for Palestine and Western Sahara statehoods.
Buhari, while addressing the United Nations last September, acknowledged that, “We in Africa are grieved to see hundreds of our able-bodied men and women dying in the desert or drowning in the Mediterranean sea, probably while they were running away from either bad government or poverty or other social vices related to governance. We condemn in the strongest terms these traffickers and will support any measures to apprehend and bring them to justice”.
While stressing that the world was witnessing a dreadful increase in conflicts fuelled by availability of small arms and light weapons, Buhari called on the international community to work towards the effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty to ensure that small arms and light weapons can only be legally transferred.
Buhari, therefore, called for urgent resolution of the question of self-determination for the people of Palestine and Western Sahara, while reminding the global assembly that peaceful co- existence and self-determination were among the key causes that led to the establishment of the United Nations.
“The international community has come to pin its hopes on resolving the Palestinian issue through the two – states solution which recognises the legitimate right of each state to exist in peace and security. The world has no more excuses or reasons to delay implementation of the long list of Security Council resolutions on this question. Neither do we have the moral right to deny any people their freedom or condemn them indefinitely to occupation and blockade,” the President said.
The above helped to confirm the fears of former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the in- dependence of Kosovo in February 17, 2008, saying that the recognition of Kosovo from Serbia would give momentum to the secessionist movement in Nigeria, with the latest moves of massive spread of recognition of independence to nations seeking separate existence. Nonetheless, whether that has any effect or not, the facts remain that a lot of enclaves the world over are struggling to break away from the union they found themselves and form their own governments. Some of the en- claves and proposed nations that have stepped up their separatist activities included Palestine, the new Biafra, Northern Spain, Tibet, Northern Canada, Western Sahara and very many others.
Buttressing the points above, Femi Fani-Kayode in his ‘Nnamdi Kanu and the cry for Biafra’ published in Sunday Sun, October 25, 2015, page 49, said, “I do however believe in the power of ideas and the right of any man, woman or people to yearn to be free from bondage and to peacefully and freely express that yearning. It is in this context that I situate my belief in and support for those that view the Nigerian Federation as an oppressive entity which has effectively enslaved its people in an attempt to create what is essentially an artificial and unworkable state.
Those that believe in Nigeria have every right to continue to do so and to voice their resolve to keep Nigeria one. What they do not have the right to do is to refuse to offer the same degree of freedom of expression to those that do not believe in a united Nigeria and who instead believe in the peaceful dis- solution of our nation to speak their minds and voice their views. What is good for the goose is surely good for the gander. You cannot grant one side of the divide freedom of expression whilst you deny it to the other”
With that at the back of my mind, it might be wrong to conclude that President Buhari might unwittingly be giving impetus to the struggle for the Movement for the Survival of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB). This is because the group says it is disenchanted with being in Nigeria and therefore is seeking to secede and form its own state called Biafra.
Leaders of MASSOB maintain that the movement wants to secede from Nigeria. We know that the Federal Government is not comfortable with the demand, but at the end of the day, if President Buhari is pleading for groups seeking for self-de- termination in their own countries, then it becomes somewhat confusing why same leader keeps silent on such demands of people in his own country. Could it, therefore be right to say that President Buhari did not know the implications of what he was asking the world body to do regarding Pales- tine and Western Sahara statehoods?
In his situation assessment of the issue, Chief Chuckwuemeka Ezeife, a former governor of the old Anambra State blamed the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for the huge sup- port pro-Biafra activists are getting in the South- East. He said,”The agitation for Biafra lingers 45 years after civil war. What is the problem? You and I are aware that MASSOB is a movement for the actualization of Biafran State. But most of our people see them as a pressure group.It is in recent time that the group started gaining acceptability among serious politicians from the South-East. Otherwise the agitators are merely perceived as a pressure group. There is also the major problem of politicians from the South-East that aspire to be- come the President of Nigeria one day.
That is why they have not identified with MAS- SOB. But what is happening presently is because of the way the country is going, especially the way the South-East is treated like unwanted part of the country. This triggers more recruits for MASSOB.
From this stand, the fire of Biafra is stoked by the President Buhari-led administration. It is not a matter of autonomous growth or development. All his actions in the South-East in appointments and denial caused the increase in people buying into the MASSOB agenda. Because our people say: “ a person rejected, does not reject himself.”