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Corruption, culture and democracy

Published by The Nation on Sat, 03 Apr 2021

By Dayo SobowaleThe opposition PDP in Nigeria is predictably happy about a US State Department report that corruption and insecurity is rampant in the Buhari Administration despite the war on corruption and the reputation for integrity of the Nigerian president that made the APC to win the last two presidential elections in Nigeria. That really is the duty of the opposition and I commend the PDP for its diligence in fulfilling its mandate and in doing that showing the world, that after all said and done, Nigerias democracy is moving in the right direction in terms of the dictum of democracy that says while the majority may have its way, as the APC has done, the minority must have its say. Essentially that is the only good thing about the extravagant interest of the Americans in our affairs because as at now, the Democrats in power in the US have not been able to extend the same courtesies on free speech and the right of dissent to the Republicans as the APC has done to the PDP so magnanimously since President Joe Biden came to power in the US.Indeed the state of lawlessness and insecurity both in the US borders and the killings in US cities rival what obtains in Nigeria in terms of banditry, kidnapping and Fulani herdsmen killings such that one can call the US condemnation of Nigeria on insecurity and corruption a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black. And I say clearly to the ubiquitous, meddlesome and nosy Americans, as well as their Nigerian colleagues in both the APC and the PDP that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. This is the essence of our discussion today with illustrations from the EU, the US and of course Nigeria.In the EU there is a cat and mouse game going on between a member -nation Poland, a yet-to-be member- nation, Turkey, and the rest of the EU over the issue of condemning domestic violence in a treaty called the Istanbul Convention which Turkey signed and later withdrew from , and Poland has replaced with a new proposal entirely, to the consternation of the rest of the EU which is crying foul loudly and very stringently. In the US where there is a new president after the 2020 presidential election over 40 states are amending their electoral laws and rules purportedly to ensure election integrity but both the Republicans and Democrats see this differently. Yet, to an outsider it is pertinent to askif the elections were free and fair why the rush to amend laws to ensure electoral integrity so soon after the elections during which the US courts dismissed all cases and irregularities brought up and cited by the loser Donald Trump who charged that the election was rigged' That is certainly a good example of getting wise after the events.With regard to the criticism of the present Nigerian government by the US, it is not as if one is condoning corruption or sanctioning insecurity but I object to foreign nations who do not have a track record of security and integrity in terms of corruption and election integrity sanctioning other nations. That should stop and I will show why I so resent such holier than thou attitude of the Americans here today.Let us go back to the culture war in the EU between Turkey Poland and the rest of the EU on the Domestic Violence treaty also called the Istanbul Convention. That both Turkey and Poland are on the same side on the matter is not an accident. Turkey is an Islamic nation and Poland is staunchly Catholic. Both are deeply religious nations while the rest of the EU is largely dismissive of the role or importance of the family and religion on this matter of domestic violence. Polands government insists the Istanbul Convention does not respect religion and promotes controversial ideologies about gender. Indeed the Convention signed in 2011 was to protect women against domestic violence but to Turkey and Poland it is as if the EU and its managers want to bring in the issue of gender recognition by the back door and both nations say No vehemently. In Poland the government has sent a bill to Parliament that saysYes to Family, No to gender. In a way Poland and Turkey smelt a rat on the Istanbul Convention implementation, and opted out because the rest of EU wanted to kill mischievously two birds with one stone. They, the rest of the EU wanted to smuggle in gender recognition with domestic violence and women rights and these two nations saw through their tricks and blew the whistle to say enough is enough.Both nations like Nigeria and unlike the EU recognize that marriage is between a man and a woman and the family is the basis of society. Which is what the EU and US is trying to destroy with the LGBT and gay rights laws recently signed into law by President Joe Biden in the US. The same goes as well for transgender rights which are abhorrent to religious nations like Poland and Turkey which value family existence and respect for women rights as well while also condemning domestic violence. The EU is trying to portray these two religious nations as against domestic violence and that is a lie because it is the rest of the EU that wants to smuggle in gender into the Istanbul Convention and muscle the two nations to submission on the gender issue they are so much against.Again it is in this light that I see the American criticism of Nigeria as lacking good faith and sincerity. It is on record that the US hates Nigeria because of its anti-gay law and non-recognition of LGBT rights. But that does not mean that Nigeria does not recognize women rights or that it condones domestic violence. No sane society can condone domestic violence and Nigeria is not an exception. But that should not mean that domestic violence is always against women. Some women in Nigeria are immensely more violent than their spouses and some are so verbally violent that they can bring a house down.So, in a way, Nigeria, Poland and Turkey are on the same wavelength on the issue of family, anti-gay laws, protection of women rights, and the stopping of domestic violence. The US and the Rest of the EU are also together on promotion of gay, LGBT and transgender rights. So the stage is set as I predicted on starting this column that the US will muscle Nigeria on these issues. They reportedly did not sell weapons to us to fight Boko Haram even as they too were eliminating ISIS in the Middle East. That is how I see this latest criticism of our political system and leadership.Yet, we know how deep a mess we are in as a nation and as a people and we know God, not the Americans are in control. Again I take solace as a concerned Nigerian in my favourite Shakespeare play Henry V, when the English King harangued his outnumbered and beleaguered troops against the French army with the immortal and encouraging words - We are in Gods Hand , Brother , Not in Theirs . That is my message to the Americans on this matter. Once again From the fury of this pandemic Good Lord Deliver Nigeria.
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