Xenophobic attacks: ‘Failure of Nigeria’s leadership’

Vice Chancellor, Oduduwa University, Prof. Chibuzor Nwoke has said that the on-going xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa is a failure of Nigerian leadership.

Speaking with VINCENT KALU, the international relations scholar, stressed that after playing a great role in South Africa’s independence, Nigeria failed to harness the diplomatic benefits, which could have prevented the country from poking its fingers into Nigeria’s eyes

What is your view on this xenophobia going on in South Africa, where the citizens are attacking other black Africans living in their country?

It is quite unfortunate. We should look at it analytically to know what is really happening. The first area of sentiment is that a country like Nigeria, remember we are described as a frontline state, and I’m old enough to remember the sacrifices we made in the anti apartheid battle.

All the major African National Congress (ANC) leaders were always coming to Nigeria for one support or the other.

We made huge sacrifices for that country, and we were doing that because we are known as the largest black African country in the world, and everybody was happy and contributed towards that.

Then apartheid ended with our sacrifices, then our government typically, failed to harness the potential diplomatic benefits that usually go with such sacrifices. If we were a serious mined country that helped to offer independence to that country, we would have been the first beneficiary of the relationship between the two countries, but that was not so. As it stands now, Nigeria’s efforts and sacrifices seem to have been forgotten in that country.

You blame that to leadership on the side of the South African leadership and also the Nigerian government that didn’t do what they were supposed to have done and then stayed on top, and then negotiated certain things and say that this kind of thing will never happen to our people. And as it is happening contemporarily, you do something that will make that country realise that it has annoyed you.

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