You are hereNews › Articles 2012 › "Dlamini-Zuma's election - Nigeria's crushing defeat": a rejoinder
"Dlamini-Zuma's election - Nigeria's crushing defeat": a rejoinder
Abuja: The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to the above-captioned write-up by Tunde Rahman published on Page 15 of THISDAY, The Saturday Newspaper of July 28th, 2012. In the publication, Mr. Rahman posits that the outcome of the recently concluded 19th Ordinary Summit of the African Union held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was a crushing defeat for our country, though "Nigeria was not really in the race".
He premised his argument on Nigeria's support for Dr. Jean Ping of Gabon, who lost the election. Furthermore, and because Nigeria along with other members of the Big Five who are the leading financial members of the AU, could not stop South Africa from going against the letter and spirit of the understanding that none of them would stand for the topmost position within the organisation, he submitted that it was a diplomatic debacle for Nigeria.
In reaching this tendencious conclusion, we believe Mr. Rahman was on a wrong premise. This is how. One cannot suffer a defeat in a race in which one did not enter as a participant, not to mention suffering a "crushing one," as depicted by the writer.
Indeed, against the grain of Mr. Rahman's opinion, Nigeria made specific and impressive gains at the said summit. This is how and why.
A Nigerian, Ambassador (Dr.) Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, who is Nigeria's Principal Envoy to Guinea, won the election to the post of Commissioner for Political Affairs. Her election was significant achievement, firstly because since the founding of the AU, formerly Organisation of African Unity (OAU), this is the first time a Nigerian would be elected to this strategically-important position. Second is the wide margin of votes that propelled her to victory at an election in which Nigeria was pitted against Botswana, solidly-backed by the regional grouping, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC);
Nigeria's Dr. Kanayo Felix Nwanze secured endorsement for re-election as President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD);
Another Nigerian, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliyu, also secured the endorsement of the AU for election to the post of President of the Executive Council of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). These elections are scheduled to hold in 2013;
In addition, another Nigerian, Dr. Kolawole Aduloju, was elected Assistant Secretary-General of the Pan-African Postal Union (PAPU), and finally, earlier last June, Honourable Bethel Amadi emerged as the President of the Pan-African Parliament in a keenly contested election.
If these achievements amount to a 'defeat', and indeed, a 'crushing defeat' as Tunde would like his readers to believe, then a new definition of defeat must be found.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to reiterate once more that the election of the Chairperson of the AU Commission was not a failure of Nigeria's diplomacy, neither will it diminish her influence in Africa. It is not a defeat because Nigeria was not a candidate; she supported but did not sponsor either of the two contestants.
And that support was a demonstration of Nigeria's principle to abide by its commitment in the continent and to go to great lengths to promote and defend African's unity and solidarity, which to us, is in tandem with our statutory responsibility as contained in the 1999 Constitution.
It is gratifying to note, however, that Mr. Rahman, in the closing paragraph of his submission, was able to identify the reason for the outlandish desperation that underscored the maneuvers undertaken by the South African delegation during the election process.
• Amedu Ode is the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tafawa Balewa House, Abuja.