TREADING THE LIBYAN WAY by Ali Abubakar Sadiq
An African proverb says “Do not throw away the bath water with the baby” and I am afraid unseen machinations are assiduously working under the guise of End Sars to derail this country. Sars or not, there are legitimate concern for discontent in this country.
Buhari had indeed failed us and woefully at that. Not even in my wildest imagination ever thought there would be a day that I could prefer Jonathan than Buhari because even during the permutations of the Yar’Adua presidency I wrote an article titled “The Drums of War” warning Nigerians not to expect anything good from Jonathan if he succeeded Yar’Adua, not out of bigotry or sectionalism but because at the forefront of agitation to put Jonathan in power were hawkish bigots bent on using the religious card to back his presidency.
Unfortunately Jonathan played their card and we became a divided nation throughout his six years in power. The worst leaders are those who divided their nation and hardly ruled successfully.
What Jonathan failed in his tenure, he made up in his exit.
Whether we realise it or not he saved this country from a bottomless pit by capitulating in his defeat. 2015 was touted as the time Nigeria will disintegrate as event orchestrated were calculated to culminate with that year’s general elections.
Fortunately God saved us by making Jona made the wisest decision ever by a sitting African president and it averted catastrophe.
We escaped the orchestrated doom but not so our brothers across the Sahara in Libya who happened to be on the trajectory that was meant to swept us all. Fellow Nigerians you cannot appreciate how lucky we were then and the danger we are facing now until you understand the Libyan issue.
Libya, except for Egypt in the African continent, could boast of being one of the oldest civilization, founded during the Neolithic period around 8000 BC, and continued to play key role in the continent under the Greeks and Roman empire.
The Islamic caliphal forces under Amr bn Al-As captured Libya in the later part of 7th century. The Spanish and Ottoman empires ruled over the desert nation for centuries. Colonised by Italians until 1951 when they became independent under King Idris. It was an impressive history the Libyans had until when Colonel Gaddafi seized power in 1969.
For the next 40 years, Gaddafi created one of the greatest marvel of the 20th century, as group of nomadic hamlets were United to create an oil rich nation to become the tenth largest proven oil reserves in the world. In mere two decades Gaddafi transformed Libya to become one of the richest nation on earth and also one of the highest per capita GDP in the world surpassing its peers like Saudi arabia and even some of the developed nations.
The World Bank designated Libya as an Upper Middle Income country.
Gaddafi’s housing redistribution policy attempts to give every single adult Libyan a house of his own and an income. One of the most ambitious project undertaken in the 20th century is the creation of a man-made river to supply fresh water throughout the country.
The country’s infrastructure was ahead of most African nations and Gaddafi never took foreign loans.
His Pan-Africanism and agenda towards liberating the African continent (and whispers of his attempt to use gold instead of dollar for exchange) earned him enemies in the west that sees him as a threat to their continued pillage of African resources.
Concerted effort intensifies after the Berlin disco bomb attack and the Lockerbie bombing later. In 1986, Ronald Reagan approved his assassination and Tripoli was bombarded by American planes, though Gaddafi survived. They turned to UN and imposed sanctions on him and demanded he hand over 2 of his intelligence officers the west accused of masterminding the Lockerbie bombing for trial in the west, including paying compensation for the over 150 Pan Am passengers that perished in Scotland.
They furthermore asked him to open his borders for weapons of mass destruction inspectors from the UN.
Gaddafi chose to withstand the brunt of sanctions than conceed to those demands.
But in 2003 after the execution of Saddam, there were renewed calls from the west for Gaddafi’s compliance. But in a deft move Gaddafi handed over the 2 men, paid $2.7 billion dollars to the families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing and flung open his doors for weapons inspectors for decommissioning of his chemical and nuclear programs.
The west had no option but sheath it’s sword. Tony Blair made a state visit to Libya in 2004 as Gaddafi was welcomed with open hands back to European capitals. The US even removed Libya from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 2006. Gaddafi went to New York and addressed the UN General Assembly in 2009 as $40 billion dollars worth of foreign investment flowed into Libya.
Off guard, Gaddafi hugged the west in a kiss of death.
A frustrated unemployed graduate fruit seller in Tunisia, set himself ablaze and the Arab spring was born whose fires torches the entire Arab world and reverberated across the world with far reaching repercussions in Middle East, Europe and Africa. The good sense Gaddafi displayed in checkmating the west after the fall of Saddam, he felt so haughty to extend to his children, the Libyans.
After building the country like his own private home, catering for his people like his own children, yet he chose to oversaw the destruction of what he labored to build in 40 years. Underestimating the power of change, he refused to be wise with his friends as he had been with his enemies. He could have called for an election, fund his son or cronies to win the elections and remain a father of a nation and continue to hobnob across world capitals as a hero in life and, surely, in death.
The destruction of Libya has been accelerating our own, as millions of small arms that founds its way out of Gaddafi arsenal, which he amassed in his 40 year rule and whose scale is still being evaluated by the UN, contributed immensely not only in escalating and extending Boko Haram but strengthened crimes of banditry and kidnap in our country and the sahel region.
Nigerians had benefitted from the magnanimity of Jonathan in 2015 just as Libyans benefitted from the wiseness of Gaddafi after the fall of Saddam in 2003. Eventually Libyans became victims of Gaddafi’s haughtiness against his citizens. The ball is now in Buhari’s court and his ruling elites to listen to the outcry of Nigerians and address the discontent by easing off the hardships people are facing.
For God sake how could any country in this pandemic after failing to assist it’s citizens with palliatives went ahead and increase energy tariff and fuel price in the same week? And at the same time increases it’s extravagant budgetary spending? That is the height of insensitivity. The end sars protest isn’t about police brutality but a show of discontent by the people but let us not allow it be used and abused by selfish interest that will destroy our fragile existence as a nation.
Fellow Nigerians we should not truncate this government as it will be the last government of unified Nigeria for a long time to come if we do. But we should continue to exert maximum but peaceful pressure until they do the right thing. Government must understand the threat it is facing and do the needful. If we choose violence all of us will be victims and we will destroy our future.
Libya was lucky in 2003 but failed in 2011 as we were lucky in 2015…but can we be twice lucky? That would depend on the next line of action by leaders and the led, in what both do or fail to do.
Ali Abubakar Sadiq