Just as the impetus for the conquest and colonisation of Nigeria came as a consequence of developments on the global scene in the 18th Century, so also Nigeria’s next stage of development as a country will also arise from the ongoing changes in the global geo-political architecture.
It is instructive that the United States of America, Britain and France, the three main countries which dominated and shaped much of the 19th and 20th centuries’ global events, are today facing great challenges to their combined hegemony in the world.
China and Russia are holding the US by the jugular and breathing down its thick neck in every sphere of life. Britain is at odds with itself and the world, adrift and not knowing whether to set anchor with the US or return humiliatingly to the EU which it left in a fit of characteristic petulant hubris. While this lack of direction is going on in Britain, once the most powerful industrial nation on earth, India, a former colony of Britain, has overtaken it as the fifth largest economy in the world. To underscore the irony, a Briton of Indian descent, Rishi Sunak, along with several of his types, are now deeply ensconced at the top British political and economic establishment.
As for France, with recent events in its African sphere, where its dominance of the political, economic and social life of the people of the area was total, it is now quite clear that the end is near.
Russia, China, India, Brazil and a slew of former colonial possessions of the powers that dominated the 18th and 19th centuries are now among the main drivers of the emerging world order.
And in this struggle between the old powers and the emerging ones, Africa is the main arena of competition.
As the most populous and largest economy on the continent, Nigeria will have to be inevitably confronted with the reality of whether to stand idly by and watch the geopolitical game going on right before it or jump into the fray and use its unique built-in advantages to make the difference.
I believe Nigeria will go the latter way because the objective situation will dictate so. The Nigerian political elite so long addicted to the dubious conveniences of self-entitlement under our defective political structure will be confronted with the triple whammy of fierce internal political, economic and social contradictions, the aggressive interests of emerging world powers and the rear guard actions of the old powers to protect and keep their interests.
If our political elite stick with the old powers, the US and Britain, then they risk being swept away by the tidal waves of the aggressive push into Africa by the emerging powers. If on the other hand our political elite cash in with the new powers, there is the tendency that the old powers will hold Nigeria hostage in their pushback against the emerging powers.
The decisive decision in this trilemma will be not to choose the middle course of not supporting either of the contending forces because there will be no room for such. For Nigeria the only feasible course will be to carve its own geopolitical space as a third global force.
In the on-going struggle for a new world order Nigeria will not have the luxury of standing still for it will be eaten by the centrifugal forces of global change.
As objectively dictated by its position as the bellwether country on the African continent and by its global position as the fulcrum of peoples of African descent in the world, Nigeria has the bounden responsibility of pushing through the agenda of African renaissance on the global stage.
The historical forces that will take Nigeria to this stage can be found in two ways; the prevailing situation in Nigeria in which there is mounting socio-economic and political alienation of the people and the sense of dubious privilege and entitlement in the middle of all these by our political elite, and the failure to read and apply the lessons of profound global events that have a bearing on our responsibilities and role as a country in the comity of nations.
Just as it is happening in other parts of our continent and indeed in our vicinity, our elite should not permit themselves the luxury of thinking that these forces of change may not visit us. Due to the complexities of our country, in the likely event of what happened in other countries around us occurring here, we may have to be confronted with the above three scenarios. And in this regard as President Bola Tinubu stated recently in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, the world will come to ignore Nigeria at its own peril. The sense of manifest destiny in which all Nigerian governments of all types and descriptions right down to the average Nigerians have always carried on their consciousness will likely kick in. If there is one thing that Nigerians of all walks believe and express as their world view is that when it comes to Nigeria’s role and responsibility in Africa and in the world of African people, Nigeria has a duty to lead one way or the other. It is a consciousness that is embedded in every Nigerian. And in a looming socio-economic and political combustion underpinned by a coming big bang in the tectonic plates of the global geo-political order, Nigeria will be compelled to discover and pursue its manifest course and destiny of standing up for Africa and peoples of African descent worldwide in a changing world. Thus a new Nigeria will be born out of this crucible and therein lie the inevitable path to the greatness that Nigeria promises. (Concluded)