Buhari’s African Union Encounter

WHEN he was Head Of State, it must have been called the Organization of African Unity (OAU), but the African international political scene has changed alot since then. So it was that President Muhammadu Buhari had zoomed-off on his maiden visit to South Africa to attend the 25th ordinary session of the African Union held at the Xenophobia-hit South Africa, where I read that he made it clear on his efforts at combating the terrorist Islamic sect of Boko Haram that has ravaged parts of the North East of his country.
He was not only worried and concerned about the devastating activities of the blood-sucking Boko Haram operatives, but also generally touched on several similar and related flash-points around the continent in the form of rebel movements, sit-tight leadership or hatred for foreigners, which I call black man’s racism against fellow black men, no embarrassment intended to the host country of the recent AU-Summit.
Buhari, as I watched on, showed tremendous humility when he hailed his predecessor in office, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for a peaceful transition of power that averted imminent crisis in the country.
Talking like a Pan-African leader, President Buhari intoned that, “Our continent is currently bedeviled by the twin evils of terrotism and insecurity, poverty, youth unemployment and underdevelopment.”
President Buhari recalled that, “the destructive effects of the inhuman and criminal campaigns of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and neighbouring countries, the Al Shabab attacks in East Africa and the activities of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb all bear testimony to a Continent under siege.”
Within two weeks of assumption of office, President Buhari had shown his political will to bring the Boko Haram nuisance under check by re-engaging the neighbouring countries within the Lake Chad Basin Commission, holding talks with the leaders of Chad, Niger and Cameroun as they had been quite supportive of the war efforts against the retreating insurgents.
Besides these efforts, he had immediately ordered the relocation of the Command and control structures of the Armed Forces to Maiduguri close to the theatre of war against Boko Haram.
With an eye on history and perhaps, on continental leadership possibilities in the near future, President Buhari also frowned at the needless deaths of Africans in the Mediterranean Sea under the illusion of greener pastures in a foreign continent having its share of the global recession.
He thundered thus, “The images, in the International mass media, of African youths getting drowned in the Mediterranean sea in their illegal attempts at crossing over to an illusory hope of a better life in Europe are not only an embarrassment to us as African leaders but dehumanizes our persons. These images combine to paint an unfavourable picture of our peoples and countries.” So, what is he going to do from the Nigerian end?
Throwing a challenge to his co-African leaders right there and then in the rainbow country, President Buhari challenged, “Those of us gathered here owe it as a duty to reverse this ugly trend and put an end to the push factors that compel our young men and women to throw caution to the winds and risk life, limbs and all on this dangerous adventure.”
I doff my hat for President Buhari for his maiden but marvelous encounter with the African Union [AU]. Apart from his towering height, he has deliberately chosen Africa as the centre-piece of his foreign policy thrust.
Also, calling for the empowerment of our youths and the economy of our collective countries and entrench the democratic principles that would ensure peace and development of our continent, makes him a first-time attendee of the remodeled continental body but who came with a wealth of political experience.
From the G-7 meeting in Germany, Mr. President was able to glean some support for the fight against terrorism, but like most promisory notes from the Western Countries, could those offers of help by Europe be possibly tied to any conditionalities?
President Buhari must be half-joyful but half-suspicious of any Greek Gifts from the West because they, in return will eventually ask for certain favours that might run counter to our country’s interests, economically, politically or otherwise. Am just thinking!
Walking so smartly, he seemed equipped for the task ahead. On his return home, he must hasten the picking of his Ministerial list to let him hit the ground running. Once again, all players must be brought on board: when I remember the National Assembly election, I feel satisfied because I don’t fancy the winner-takes-all attitude and many PDP faithful will agree with me!