By James Shim
Commandant of the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Major General John Ochai, has called on President Bola Tinubu to champion the campaign for the decolonisation of Africa.
Ochai made the call Saturday, at the 11th leadership lecture series of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s Centre For The Study Of Leadership And Complex Military Operations (CSLCMO) held at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Mambila Barracks, Abuja.
Ochai who was represented at the event by Professor Ojong Echum Tangban, of the Department of History and War Studies at NDA, spoke on the theme, “Global Competition for Africa: What leadership role for Nigeria?”
He stated that President Tinubu, as the President of Nigeria, should spearhead the campaign for the decolonisation of the continent, particularly in the French-speaking part of Africa, considering that Africa has once again become the bride of world superpowers.
“Nigeria should toe the line of “jaw-jaw” and peaceful negotiations with the military junta in those countries.
“This is important because all the countries where coups have taken place in Africa since 2020 are underdeveloped countries, meaning that the civilian governments in those countries, with some of the ousted leaders having been in power for so long and have failed the people,” Ochai stated.
According to him, one of the reasons why Africa has remained underdeveloped is the inability of African countries to sit down at any negotiation table from the position of strength and as equals with countries of the North.
The Commandant of NDA said there was no reason Africa would not have a Permanent Member in the United Nations Security Council.
According to him, Africa, being the toast of superpowers, its leaders must make them commit to supporting their quest to have a permanent member in the council.
“It doesn’t make any sense that Africa does not have any permanent members. As these countries are courting Africa; it is best for Nigeria to make them commit to supporting the country’s ambition to become a permanent member of the UNSC”, he stated.
On the allegation that the recent coup plotters in Niger have the backing of Russia and mercenaries of Russia’s Wagner Group, Ochai said, “These are allegations, however, as the competition for Africa continues; a match that reminds us of 1884/1885 scramble for Africa, Nigeria as the big brother in Africa ought to provide leadership”.
He, in the speech took his listeners on a journey into how different countries are scrambling for a piece of Africa and listed the major countries competing for Africa as Russia, China, the USA, and France.
Also speaking to journalists at the end of the event representative of the Keynote Speaker, Ojong Echum Tangban, called on Nigeria, Africa’s biggest country, to prove it is not a pushover during international discussions and negotiations.
“It is on this basis that Nigeria and the rest of Africa must push for the country to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, for it doesn’t make any sense that Africa does not have any permanent member”, he said.
Tangban said Nigeria should play diplomacy to win fellow African states to support her in getting membership of the United Nations Security Council.
He added, that to compete for inclusion in the Security Council, Nigeria should focus on politics that will get the support and cooperation of other Africans.
“When your brother is hungry, you rush to support him. When your brother is sick, you rush to support him. When your brother is in trouble, you give him support. If your brother is educationally needy, you provide him with support. Nigeria has been doing this and should continue to do it within the limit of our resources,” he stated.
Meanwhile, earlier in his opening remarks, the Convener of the event, Bem Japhet Audu, PhD, said the Centre was established in 2015 to provide solutions to the challenges in our security system.
He explained that the concept of the lecture was to build capacity for ideas.
The lecture was delivered to the Course 4 participants of the PhD in Leadership And Strategic Studies Studies (PhD LSS), Defence And Security Studies (PhD SSS) and Security and Strategic Studies (PhD SSS) of the Directorate of Linkages and Collaboration, NDA.
Also present at the event was BJ Adibia, a Professor; Sumaila Kawu, a Senator; Dayo Aiyetan, Executive Director of the International Centre For Investigative Reporting (ICIR); and other prominent Nigerians.