Friday, 07 October 2011 06:36

No Tears for Ghadaffi

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Much ado have been made in the commentator and foreign policy circles in recent weeks about the speed of the ultimate ouster of the mad man of Tripoli, Colonel Ghadaffi. While many tears have been shed in the elite minded circles of his friends, admirers and benefactors, no one among the common people who suffered the sheer arrogance of his power and despotic rule for 42 years seem to be shedding any; neither am I.

Ghadaffi was a personification of everything wrong with African leadership that has seen the continent retrogress in 40 years. A combination of greed, arrogance of power, brutality and megalomaniac policy making; he was Mobutu, Idi-Amin, Bokassa and Mugabe all rolled into one! His insistence on clinging to power longer than he was welcome ensured his countrymen suffered immense economic damages to which he showed no sensitivity.

While power escaped from his grasp, he could not come to terms with it and killed his people needlessly. As usual, to this ruler (not leader), his hold to power was more important than his lip service love for his country and her people! And as power escaped him by the sheer will of Libyans backed by the firepower of Ghadaffi's perennial enemies in the West, the mad man of Tripoli only became madder!

Some have risen in condemnation of NATO's intervention. Indeed, it is now the single most fashionable stance by African dictators to hug nationalism and African independence to perpetrate evil against their own. Fortunately, the world is not buying it. For far too long, Africa has been raped by her rulers acting like kids in the candy store without any control. And in so far as these rulers continue to act like children (and that is being uncharitable to kids), then intervention to check their excesses is only appropriate.

Definitely, the ouster of Ghadaffi was good for good governance, as many African leaders are now on notice following the Spring Uprising in North Africa that the days of reckoning is nigh; and that unlike before when they could put these uprising down- justice may as well be coming from outside. Aside from NATO, one will expect the International Criminal Court to start looking into Ghadaffi's atrocities soon.

It is true that many Pan-African minded folks detest this interference, but I believe strongly that this is the best outcome in light of the sheer wickedness of African rulers in the past four decades. The mundane justification of slaughtering your own on the altar of independence, especially when you lack legitimacy is long gone. Welcome to the 21st century: despots! Of course, Obasanjo and Mbeki are unlikely to like this trend, they are men of yesterday. Today is for the youths, and in our eyes freedom from the real neo-colonialists is freedom from their locust generation of internal colonizers called rulers.

Is it true that Western powers did this for oil? Or for some kind of economic advantage? Perhaps! But would you care if someone invented a cure for cancer because of money, to cure a dying sibling or just good plain old luck? The end I believe justifies the means of Ghadaffi's ouster. Here is a man that was not only clearly incompetent, but one incapable of reading the clear writing on the wall that his time was up. His retinue of enemies: both domestic and foreign, ensure that his fall will be swift and definite!

Some have condemned the support Nigeria have given to the transitional government; I believe it is appropriate. This was paying Ghadaffi back in his own coin. Here was a man that had the audacity to advice the breakup of Nigeria just last year, and routinely feels no compunction to interfere in the internal affairs of his neighbors with the numerous rebel movements under his sponsorship across Africa. More than anyone, he has been responsible for more civil wars and proxy warfare in Africa; he was a sponsor of many of the mineral fueled conflicts in West Africa. Why should anyone shed for a man who lived by the sword and was felled by it?

Others have pointed out to the rest of the world how Libya was somewhat a model of self sustenance which flourished with milk and honey under Ghadaffi. I say they are sorely mistaken. The key parameter of human prosperity is our ability to seek happiness free from the control of another mere mortal. Fact is, under despots some measure of prosperity can always be guaranteed to a compliant few but those tales of good life was not the case for the dissident tribes and people of Libya under Ghadaffi. Those were carrots akin to Hitler's economic revival program, with the hopes for perpetual domination. Hitler's economic turnaround for Germany does not absolve him from his crime on humanity.

For those giddy about this idea that Ghadaffi was some defender of the African cause or some form of renaissance; I ask them to consider few facts. Ghadaffi in fact had no problems in doing business with the West provided they allowed him to continue looting and kill Libyans. It is easy for us to sit in our comfy nice cushy zone and talk neo-colonialists if we don't realize these so called African "leaders" only discover their nationalism when they get in trouble with their foreign buddies?

You think ordinary Libyans were the ones getting the nice contracts that gave Ghadaffi his fair share of Libyan loot? No! It was Oxy, Eni and other foreign companies that did with the full connivance of the strong man of Tripoli. Same is true of Mugabe, whose later day conversion to land reallocation contrasts sharply with the accommodating stance of his administration in the first twenty years of independence when Zimbabwe prospered and he was the good boy of Western powers until they asked him to abandon his one party state hegemony. Who cares if Mugabe, Abacha or Biya gets kicked out by a foreigner, alien from space or poisoned apple?

I think it is misplaced priority as an African to be concerned about the double standards of the foreign policy of Western Powers (well who wouldn't?) when we have a bigger fish to fry: in the freedom of my people and liberation from the big devils (sorry, big men) of Africa. I am vehemently anti-African rulers (they are not worth to be called leaders) and pro-African people...if that makes any sense. In any case, may be when we start having leaders, we too can start shaping foreign policy that is in our best interest instead of being back sit drivers, and enjoying the benefits of Western freedoms while nagging them.

Lastly, let this not be read as a statement of support for the rebels. For the rebel of today is the oppressor of tomorrow when they go astray sans Robert Mugabe. They will be better served if they turn their attention to the hard work of nation building instead of the hollow search for revenge; ensuring the prosperity of Libya is more evenly distributed among their countrymen. For Ghadaffi, a man that sponsored rebellions across Africa's heartland, there is no more fitting tribute than his dismissal by rebels.

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Michael Oluwagbemi

Michael Oluwagbemi (popularly known as Busanga) is an avid writer and commentator on a range of issues affecting his country Nigeria, Africa and indeed the rest of the world in hundreds of commentary that have appeared in both the print and electronic media for the past nine years. A resident of Houston Texas, Michael is passionate about his country, her affairs and the wellbeing of her citizens.

A native of Odo-Oro Ekiti in Ikole Local Government of Ekiti state; he was born in Ibadan, grew up in the great city of Warri (yes, a bonafide Warfarian) and attended schools in Lagos (Indeed, the greatest University of Lagos) and Texas United States. He believes his wealth of experience gained from traveling and living in different parts of Nigeria and overseas impacts the depth and understanding he tries to bring to his writings. Michael seeks not only to analyze problems but also take a bite at proffering solutions no matter how simplistic; believing you his reader can fill in the gaps. He believes it is our duty to leave our society better than we met it and lives by the saying, paraphrasing the great philosopher-Plato that the greatest evil, good men can do is to keep quiet while evil thrives.

His writings are syndicated across a host of Nigerian websites including but not limited to NVS, NIA, Dawodu and Gamji. He touches a host of issues including the politics of Nigeria, the growing pains of developing Africa, gender and social issues as well as topics on international relations and diplomacy.

An electrical engineer by practice he is also a business owner and investment advisor; in fact, he authors a financial blog for young immigrant professionals seeking to meander their way through the difficult financial web of the United States. Michael is an avid outdoors man; he enjoys swimming, golfing and jet skiing and of course traveling to beach towns and exotic places.