BY its responses to its own judicial policy, Nigeria seems uninterested in claiming either regional or continental leadership, a position previously surrendered to it by other African countries during the ideological flourish of the 1970s. Even though that ideology was not clearly and sharply defined, the country nevertheless championed the struggle for the complete decolonisation of the continent, proudly and courageously stood against foreign meddlesomeness on the continent, and portrayed an Africa that had come of age.
Two examples illustrate this abdication. First is the judgement given in October by the ECOWAS Court of Justice that declared the detention of former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, unlawful, and awarded him N15m as damages. Nigeria, which should be the number one country of example in the region in law and politics, simply ignored the ruling, apparently because the court’s rulings are not binding. Had Nigeria not even ignored its own domestic court rulings that are binding? Second is the judgement ordering the release, in not more than 45 days, of the Shiite leader, Ibraheem el-Zakzaky, and his wife, and the payment of N50m as damages to the couple.
If Nigeria were conscious of the leadership position reserved for her by circumstances and continental political dynamics, if she had a sensible and realistic vision for Africa, especially the regeneration of its values and reclamation of its ethos, not only would Col Dasuki (retd.) be on bail on strict conditions by now, Sheikh el-Zakzaky would also be released before the 45 days indicated in the judgement ordering his release. He would in addition be housed in a temporary accommodation of his own choice, and efforts made to heal the divisions caused by the controversial Shiite crisis. Sadly, this new awareness of the country’s manifest destiny is too much to ask for, for Nigeria has little consciousness of its potentials, not to say the advantages which that leadership, if claimed, could confer far above the temporary benefits of watching its quarries pine away in detention. (The Nation)