Nigeria’s federal government has said it is preposterous for anyone to declare Nigeria a failed state due to the country’s security challenges.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this Thursday in response to a recent declaration by the Council on Foreign Affairs in the United States that “Nigeria is at a point of no return with all the signs of a failed nation.’’
Former US Ambassador to Nigeria and a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. John Campbell, and the President Emeritus of World Peace Foundation, Mr. Robert Rotberg, had urged the United States to acknowledge that Nigeria is a failed state in the light of the many challenges plaguing the country.
“Nigeria’s worldwide companions, particularly the USA, should acknowledge that Nigeria is now a failed state. In recognition of that truth, they need to deepen their engagement with the nation and search to carry the present administration accountable for its failures, while additionally working with it to supply safety and proper financial system,” they had said in an article.
But Mohammed said in Abuja that “Nigeria is not and cannot be a failed state.’’
He stated that the declaration by the council did not represent an official US policy.
Mohammed said: “This declaration is merely the opinions of two persons, former US Ambassador to Nigeria and a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, John Campbell, and the President Emeritus of World Peace Foundation, Robert Rotberg.
“Declaring any nation a failed state is not done at the whims and caprices of one or two persons, no matter their status.
“Just because Nigeria is facing security challenges, which we have acknowledged and which we are tackling, does not automatically make the country a failed state.
“Like former US Senator Daniel Moynihan said, “You are entitled to your opinion but not your facts.”
Mohammed said Nigeria did not meet the criteria for a nation to become a failed state.
He listed the criteria to include the inability to provide public service and inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community.
“Yes, the non-state actors may be rampaging in some parts of the country; they have not and cannot overwhelm this government,’’ he said.
The minister said it was not the first time it was predicted that Nigeria would fail or break up.
He added: “We were even once told that Nigeria would break up in 2015. But their doomsday predictions have all failed and will fail again.’’
Meanwhile, the Presidency on Thursday described as unfair and distorted an opinion in the latest article on Nigeria entitled ‘The Giant of Africa Is Failing’ published by the Foreign Affairs (Magazine).
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, made the condemnation in a reaction to the article.
In a letter addressed to the publishers of the magazine, the presidential spokesman took exception to the way and manner facts were being misrepresented to support distorted opinions.
The letter read in part: “The latest article on Nigeria in Foreign Affairs titled ‘The Giant of Africa is Failing’ is unfair both to a magazine with such an esteemed pedigree and to its readers.
“Former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has been predicting the collapse of Nigeria for several years. He is of course entitled to his opinions, even where events consistently prove him wrong.
“But facts should not be bent to support distorted opinions.
“Let me give you one example.
“The authors write:
‘At an April meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Buhari reportedly requested that the headquarters of the U.S. Africa Command be moved from Germany to Nigeria so that it would be closer to the fight against jihadi groups in the country’s north.’
“President Buhari did not request that AFRICOM move to Nigeria. The transcript of the call with Secretary Blinken is available on the State Department’s own website.
“It’s not just a question of the invented addition of ‘to Nigeria’ with regard to AFRICOM. It sums up a piece that attempts – subtly but revealingly – to shift facts to suit an argument.’’
According to Shehu, Nigeria faces multiple challenges, not least of which is the dissemination of fake news and prejudiced opinion.
He said: “This is something we have come to expect from partisan blogs and politically motivated lobbies.
“It is still a surprise, and a disappointment, to see them joined by Foreign Affairs.’
Also on Thursday, the ruling APC said plots by some Nigerians to bring down the administration of Buhari would fail.
National Secretary of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the APC, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, said at an event organised by the APC Professionals Forum, in Abuja, that despite the challenges the party met on the ground, the president had recorded successes in the areas of infrastructural development, the fight against corruption and the reduction of poverty.
Akpanudoedehe spoke on behalf of the Governor of Yobe State and Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the APC, Mr. Mai Mala Buni.
He said: “Plans to bring down the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will fail; some disgruntled elements are trying to blackmail and discredit this government with the aim of bringing it down.
“President Muhammadu Buhari will be judged by security and other achievements. We should not analyse the achievements of this government based on blackmail.”
He added that despite misgivings in certain quarters, the benefit accruing to the nation through efforts being made by the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy was visible.
According to him, the SIM card registration, which has drastically reduced the number of pre-registered sims available for use for criminal purposes has helped in improving the nation’s economy.
“Those who are heating up the polity so that people will believe there is insecurity are organising to bring down the government of the APC. We will bring them to book Insha Allah,” he said.
Akpanudoedehe stated that the positive effects of the social intervention programmes among Nigeria’s poor and the vulnerable were being underreported because most of the beneficiaries were neither party member nor did they share in the administration’s vision.
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja