No love lost between Nigeria and South Africa, President Goodluck Jonathan assures African Ambassadors in German
Speaking in a reception at Ritz Carlton Hotel widely attended by the union of African Ambassadors in Germany in honour of the Nigerian President- Dr. Goodluck Jonathan -who came on an official visit to the Federal Republic of Germanybetween 18th-20th April, 2012, the Nigerian President Dr. Jonathan, thanked the group immensely for the support and regretted the logistical problem which made it impossible for them to meet him on arrival at the airport as originally planned. Furthermore, he highlighted the urgent need for Africa to flee from the bondage of AID and said that the continent should focus more on cooperative engagements with advanced countries instead of the dependent style of always running cap in hand to the west for AIDs.
He used the opportunity to urge the Ambassadors to work in unity for the peace,progress and prosperity of the continent. He debunked the traits of rumors that insinuate the existence of bad blood between Nigeria and South Africa as aftermath of the stalemate on the election for AU’s top job in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Earlier this year, Nigeria and Kenya spear- headed a divide of the African Union that supported the return of Gabonese diplomat and incumbent Chairman of the African Union Commission- Dr. Jean Pinn against Mrs. Nkosazana Dlamini-zuma who is the home secretary and candidate of South Africa. To buttress his point, about the folly of the rumours, Dr. Jonathan cited the cordial relationship he has with Joseph Zuma the South African president (ex-husband of the South African candidate) whom he said was the first person that called him towards mobilizing African support for Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala’s recent shot at the top post of the World bank.
He reiterated the fact that though countries can differ in their stand on issues it cannot be mistaken for bad blood as such. He joked that he was even rumoured to be interested in the post when it was neither in his imagination nor aspiration. In fact, it came out that he was supporting the incumbent!
The Nigerian President also said that the reason for siding with Kenya and others against South Africa is rooted, in his believe that smaller countries should be given opportunities against the bigger counties like Nigeria and South Africa, and by so doing create all inclusive participation in the affairs of the continent.
It should be re-called that the stalemate was because, While South Africa frowned at Pinn’s poor handling of affairs in Libya in the last days of Ghadaffi hence the need to change him, Nigeria and Kenya became the mouthpiece of smaller African countries who had concerns about too much power in the hands of a continental superpower like South Africa.
Eventually, neither of the two could gather the required 2/3rd majority vote for a win. It was agreed that another election would hold in Malawi in June 2012 but under AU laws, neither of the two is eligible to contest that election.
In his response on behalf of the African Ambassadors, the dean of Ambassadors, E. Comla PAKA the Togolese Ambassador delivered his speech in French which was simultaneously translated into English by the Nigerian Ambassador Mr. Abdu Usman Abubakar, thanked the president for finding time to interact with them and for his strong leadership role in Africa. He assured the president that African Ambassadors will continue to work in unity for the interest of Africa.
Obiora Nweke/Kenneth Gbandi