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G8 and the Rest of Us

12 Feb 2013

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Edifying Elucidations By Okey Ikechukwu. Email, okey.ikechukwu@thisdaylive.com

Come, let us venture a closer scrutiny of the G8 countries. It would seem that presumption and hypocrisy are afoot in their regular posturing on world affairs. Meanwhile, the pretence persists that it exists to help the rest of the world and lead us all to a better and greater humanity.  But is that really what the G8 is about? Not quite, if you venture a critical evaluation of its history, interests and impact over the years; as many G8 states are the safest havens for the stolen patrimonies of most developing nations. They also offer excellent options for the resettlement, incognito residence, or self-reinvention of persons with ‘curious’ wealth.

These nations, with their elaborate security networks and access, can track every dime of globalised capital. They know who owns which houses of more than average cost all over the world. They have information on the international movement and spending of practically every person of middle level prominence in the developing world, including Nigeria. Their economies are not the type where an investment in the range of two to $500,000 can sneak in unnoticed.

That is why their apparent altruism is poised on the pillars for sustainable global corruption and the subversion of the will of sovereign states. A thief who has nowhere to hide, and who also has no buyers for his stolen goods, is effectively out of business. Yes, the G8 offers aid, development support, etc., including templates for fighting corruption and misgovernment. But they are still some of the safest havens for the ‘stolen goods’ of corruption. Transparency International, an international rights monitor, may well need to review its brief and broaden the umbrella of culpability. For national calamities; including looking at the rights of nations in a global economy that is strangulated by a handful of big boys.

The plan to discuss Nigeria in the G8 meeting of June 18 flows from this same imaginary rousing, mediatory, and even midwifery role in world affairs. Already, some ‘concerned stakeholders’ are beside themselves with joy at the prospect of seeing Nigeria’s bad leadership of several decades shredded by a presumably concerned world. The plan of the G8 is to discuss what is termed ‘Nigeria’s wasted opportunities; despite its stupendous oil wealth of several decades’. The next G8 Summit scheduled for June 18 in Ireland is expected to have Nigeria on the rack.

Of course, the complicity of these G8 countries in the rolling global economic, governance, moral, spiritual and other crisis is well masked. Fraudulent displays of concern about the poverty and wasted opportunities of the developing world often come in handy. They lambast poor nations with weak governance structures, even as they are taking economic and other measures that will guarantee existing dependencies. Their businesses subvert national sovereignties and undermine social morality at the same time that they are holding global summits on how states made weak by the very foundations laid for them by the west, can improve business practices and Foreign Direct Investment. They carry on with their talk about eradicating everything, including bad weather and creating a better world that guarantees all rights; even as they are wreaking havoc everywhere.

But there is something to be gained from a global review of Nigeria’s opportunities, as well as its political and economic history. One is not saying that the G8 nations should not say anything about us, as if our country is some lone planet in uncharted regions of outer space; no! We can (and should) draw lessons from whoever cares to talk, while remaining fully aware that Nigeria’s redemption ultimately depends on Nigerians.  Yes, there are insights to be gained. Current perspectives may need to be reconsidered. A clearer sense of how differently certain things could be done may emerge. But what is altogether laughable here, and which even rankles in some quarters, is the arid arrogance of the G8 nations and the nauseating enthusiasm of genuflecting ‘activists’ who imagine that such a discussion will mean anything more than another report on Africa – that never-do-well continent of black people.

No detachment of angels are coming here, at the behest of the G8.Those who imagine that such a global review will ‘show the Jonathan government pepper’ should wake up to the fact that we are facing a national malaise of nearly 40 years. But over and above these observations is the stronger thesis that the G8 nations should be approached with greater scrutiny; to see what they really represent in today’s world.

For some of us, it is open to argument whether, in truth, these G8 societies and their governments are still human. Their complicity in creating confusion, distorting values and turning around to use the scenario arising from their havoc to create jobs for their teeming population in a saturated economic environment (and employment market) is legendary. They will design indices for development, generate mountains of reports, track all manner of things, except their long and unbroken chain of policy reversals and double speak on development.  They will tell you what percentages of your budget to spend on various items, but without recourse to the political economy of the operating environment and other contextual variables. They will offer aid and make sure that the bulk of the support provides consultancy jobs for their people, as well as supply chains for their manufacturing firms.  Look at the true spend on all aid, support and similar things. Compare the amount of money filmmakers ’win’ and how much of the announced amount actually goes back to France via all manner of mandatory baggage that must be funded from it. This is one admirable example of how nations consciously recruit, sustain and market a cinema culture, the fashion industry etc.

Otherwise, how is it possible that the cinema culture that was birthed in an era of limited access to audio-visual entertainment still thrives; complete with multi-billion dollar annual awards and more? Take away the dictates of globalised capital in fashion, cosmetics, toiletries, etc., and the cinema culture is nothing more than your average community viewing centre; in a world that has replaced the concept of community with unmitigated commercialism. They see it as an investment that helps their country maintain the global fashion, cosmetic and gossip industries and retain millions of jobs for their people.

The irony, however, is that notwithstanding their sophistication and presumed status as developed societies, most of these nations have the highest global crime rates, the highest number of psychiatrist cases, the highest number of trained psychiatrist per capita, the highest number of a growing population of human beings now being born with both male and female sex organs, including shemales, transvestites and mutating gender creatures who have overrun the erotic excesses industry. These nations also show the most confounding signs of moral degeneracy, debauchery and a shockingly elastic conception of human rights and human nature. Look at them and think of Sodom and Gomorrah. The latter will be laughed out of court if it tries to brandish its sins today. But we are digressing.

On January 19, Real Sinn Fein said that this year’s G8 Summit “will focus on how some of the world’s richest nations can further strip underdeveloped and poverty-stricken nations of their assets and resources under the guise of concern and helping out”.  He submits that the platform is a fraud and that its main objective is to use its yearly meetings to find out how strong its grip on the throat of the world is. Not to be outdone by Sinn Fein, the Stop G8 Network is “planning a week of action this June 10 – 17”, because the UK plans to host the next summit of G8 nations on June 18.  Hear them: “We believe there is an urgent need to oppose the G8, which acts as a facilitator of irresponsible greed, overwhelming inequality, and ruthless exploitation of people and resources.”

There is no comment on the positions of these organisations, except to say that it is time to put aside our blinkers and see a little more clearly.

The Bar Beach Problem

In  the ‘The 2012 Prophesies (3)’ I said: “The Bar Beach waterfront used to be almost a kilometre from the road, but the ocean waters have claimed the beach, part of the road, the School of Oceanography and are still coming. The new developments in Lagos will only compound the problem, because Victoria Island (a sponge Island) has been in trouble for a long time, partly because it should not be carrying the type of high-rise buildings on it today. So let dancing Nigerian sceptics watch their dance steps.”

Benedict Nwobodo in his rejoinder said that the above statement showed “lack of understanding of the genuine efforts so far taken by the Lagos State government in resolving the Lagos Bar Beach problem”.

Hear the writer: “As at 1900, the Bar Beach waters are (sic) about one and a half to two kilometres from the road. Most passer-by can hardly see the waters because it was very far from the road. But despite this, the British colonialists still took adequate steps of protecting and maintaining the beach against future encroachment. This was why between 1901 and 1930, the colonial powers constructed the East and West moles including the training moles to protect the Lagos harbour from siltation (natural sediment flow). This was meant to allow easier passage of ocean going vessel to berth in Lagos harbour, ports and wharfs. Far more than this economic consideration, the moles act as a systemic and natural way of regulating the coastline of the beach, thereby, reducing if not eliminating the chances of the beach overflowing its bank”.

This only confirms my observation, enabling us to further state that the motes constructed to ‘protect’ the Lagos harbour are actually major culprits in the progressive erosion, and eventual disappearance of the Bar Beach. Creating better drought for big ocean-going vessels interfered with the normal movement of the coastal waters, ruined the ecosystem, corroded huge sections of the coral reefs and created new and totally tangential and partly stagnated water movements. The interventions set the stage for the misfortune of the Bar Beach that we are living with today.

Nwobodo admits thus: “people would expectedly take more than mere interest in the Bar Beach situation. Moreover, the effect of global warming has led to climate change and rise in global sea levels. Under this situation, worsening high-energy waves including beach overflows and high tide among others should be expected; especially around Lagos.

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