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Wednesday 6 January 2010

To Todd Moss - Nigeria is NOT a failed State!

The USA Deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew in reaction to the Nigerian government seven-day ultimatum given to the United States authorities to remove Nigerians from their watch list, described the Nigerian action on CBS News as “so predictable” and that the US is more concerned about the safety of American Citizens. The snub came as former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during the Bush administration Todd Moss describe Nigeria as a “FAILED STATE” with no visible leader to partner with the USA.

Below is the article he wrote

After the plane bomber, where in the world is Nigeria’s President?

Written by Todd Moss (Todd Moss is vice president and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington DC. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during the Bush administration.)
Tuesday, 05 January

Amid all the media frenzy around the Nigerian underwear bomber and how America should have stopped him before he tried to blow up a passenger plane on Christmas Day, a critical piece to the counter-terrorism puzzle seems to have been missed: where in the world is the Nigerian President? Normally, after such a horrific incident, President Obama would be on the phone with his counterpart, discussing what went wrong and agreeing on ways to work better in the future to prevent such attacks. But this couldn’t happen because Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua left his country for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia on November 23rd and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

Yes, you read that right: the whereabouts of the leader of Nigeria—America’s most important strategic ally in Africa, the fifth largest source of U.S. oil imports, and home to 150 million people—are unknown. It is also not clear if he is alive or dead.

The situation is so uncertain that Nigeria’s parliament is openly considering sending a delegation to Saudi Arabia to find out the truth. A major opposition party yesterday demanded, quite reasonably, some “proof of life”.

The mystery over Yar’Adua is so bizarre as to be comical—if the consequences weren’t so severe. His absence has thrust the country into an immediate constitutional crisis. The President failed to delegate authority to his deputy before travelling, effectively leaving no one in charge. This 43-days-and-counting power vacuum is being swiftly filled by an insular cabal bent on exploiting the situation for their own gain.

Complicating matters, the vice president—ironically named Goodluck Jonathan—is a Christian and an Ijaw, part of a minority group from the southern Niger Delta region and far from the power centers of the northern Muslim elites who expect one of their own to run the country. There is much speculation that insiders are scheming now of ways to keep Jonathan from ever assuming power. In an ominous sign, a new chief justice was quickly (and possibly illegally) sworn in last week.

These developments all put Nigeria’s future at great risk. A decade of constitutional democracy is threatened by the specter of mass violence and a possible military coup.

The failed terrorist attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Northwest Flight 253 highlights that Nigeria’s power void is dangerous for the U.S. as well. The foundation of a counter-terrorism strategy is to build cooperative partnerships with friendly nations. This means sharing information and helping to build security capacity in places like Yemen, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.

But we cannot have a partnership if there is no one on the other end of the line. Nigeria cannot be a reliable ally if it is consumed by its own corruption and political machinations. In this way, Nigeria is rapidly becoming more like Somalia—a failed state with no real government to cooperate with—than a real partner.

What can the United States do? First, it should insist on an immediate public declaration of President Yar’Adua’s health and fitness to govern. If the President’s staff refuse to oblige, then the U.S. should encourage the national assembly to assert its constitutional responsibilities when it reconvenes on January 12.

Second, if, as seems likely, Yar’Adua is in fact incapacitated, the U.S. must demand that the constitution be followed and power transferred to the vice president. The long-term security of Nigeria depends on entrenching the rule of law and this must supersede any palace intrigue or political bargaining.

Third, it is clear that whatever the outcome over the next few weeks, Nigeria will remain on a knife’s edge until elections in 2011. Any hope for a more stable country hinges on a credible election next year. Yar’Adua came to power in a deeply flawed poll in April 2007 and almost no steps have since been taken to fix the broken system. The U.S. is in a unique position to push for and help deliver a better election that would strengthen the authority and legitimacy of the next government.

Last, the U.S. can support Nigeria’s vibrant civil society that is clearly fed up and is increasingly demanding change.

The case of the missing Nigerian President is a wake up call to the United States about the vulnerability of many of our global partners. How we respond is not only crucial to the future of an important ally, but a critical test of our strategy for building partnerships in troubled places to combat the global ills of our time.
The end

Dear Mr. Todd, I agree you wrote a lot of truth in your article, we do recognize that we have a lot of issues in Nigeria that we need to tackle if we are to progress as a nation, I agree that we are led by corrupt leaders, I even agree that we have a dysfunctional government and like you said it's quite comical that we do not know the whereabouts of our President, I mean where does that happen? But I do not agree that we are a FAILED State.

You see, every nation in the world has it's own problems; some worse than others, we are not in denial, we do know what our problems are in Nigeria and hopefully one day we will resolve some of them. But despite all the problems we have faced over the years, Nigeria is still standing, and will continue to stand because Nigerians are stong willed, we are a peace loving people, and we are blessed.

How many African countries live off us? How many countries in the world rely on our natural resources? Please give us a break! You can not discredit 150million people because of the failings of a few people. Instead of trying to tear us down why don't we work together to grow our nation?

By the way, is he indirectly telling the US Govt to invade Naija? Eti po to...

PS, this is the only home I know...if I don't defend it, where else will I defend? I think it's time we stop pointing out all that is wrong with our nation and start looking for solutions.

What's your thoughts on this?


Admin said...

That todd mosss is crazy,i can never deny my country ,lailai,if not for my course,i dont see any reason spending alotta money here ,infact i just cant wait to get outta here to be in my darling naija,am just fed up with the way they are labelling us in different ways,can you believe NYPD arrested my friend just because he was not with his ID,they are just too strict with naija people now,US people will talk because truly ,there is nobody to represent us ,Yaradua,yaradua,no mumu yourself,do something fast

sage said...

this attitude of America trying to dictate to us what to do is becoming way too much. Todd Moss should just better shut his mouth and look for something else to do. I don't believe Nigeria will ever be a failed state or that we will become like Somalia. i think America is trying to turn away attention fron their own failures and trying to put the blame on another nation. We've gotta say no to this crap coming from America or any other nation. nigeria is our only country. Let's begin to solve our problems ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Linda; i am afraid the man spoke the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

A failed state can still be a success though!

Myne said...

Well written Rejoinder but the guy makes a point none of us can escape from. Where is Yar Adua? Lets see how the Ultimatum works out.

Rock of Ages said...

Your problem like most Nigerians' is your inability to think objectively. It is our disdain for constructive criticism that has led us to our current state of affairs after 50 years of self determination. What a shame! For your education, if you still have the will to read, please get a copy of Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy by Noam Chomsky.

If you are unable to get the book, the main indicators of failure are given below:
1. erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions,
2. an inability to provide reasonable public services, and
3. an inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community.

For your information Nigeria has been on the list of top 20 failed states since 2007.

Anonymous said...

From his letter it made me a bit angry, why must it take the "United States" for Nigeria to be able to enforce its constitution. Its simply sad to me. I hope that someone will one day reign and kill off all the "embezzlers" just like the president in Ghana did. I'm not trying to make this a comparison to Ghana and Nigeria. But can you imagine what that one president did to regroup the economy? 200 Ghana Cedis, is 21,000 Nigeria Naira. It's sad to me, Im waiting for that ruler who is ready to fight to the death for "HONEST" politics.

So that maybe in 25 years we can see Nigeria thrive more than its ever had before.

(If I am stating untrue facts, please correct me when in terms to Ghanian's politics).

Anonymous said...

Linda, I quite understand your sentiments about Nigeria and how we need to work with our western 'partners' to find a solution. Mr Todd had already pointed out in his article that the masses demand for change, by this in my view, he is actaully on the side of the over 140million Nigerians. What i see in his comments is not the current situation in Nigeria but the continued and repetitive nature of what we call problems and our inability/unwilling attitude to find a solution. In my opinion, i agree with Todd we need to actually take the bull by the horn and actaully move our nation forward instead of constantly praying for a solution, what we need is the will and determination to change things

9japerson said...

so proud of you Linda, you're keeping on top of things despite your busy schedule. Nobody can like your home more than you. Those who are supporting America's role thinking they'll come and save us from the occasional religious violence will find the shock of their lives when it happens. There'll be turmoil in the land if they set foot here and Iraq may be child's play in terms of the devastation and the many (at least a million in Iraq) lives lost. I pray we do not look back at today if it happens in the future and wish to get back to the way things are today.

As it is, the muslims and christians have found a way to live together despite the religious skirmishes. It will be dangerous if America polarises us further if they decide to start striking targets/military operations and suicidal recruits start pouring in from other countries and targeting our schools hospitals etc around Nigeria God forbid. Nigeria has problems but we must solve it ourselves. Meanwhile we need to sing it loud, where is Yaradua and we want answers NOW!!!

Anonymous said...

Nigeria might not be a failed state yet, but we are treading a path that will eventually expose the frailty of our union. Nigeria as a nation through its successive Governments has failed its people, yet the common folks have not given up on the dream called Nigeria. The truth is that day by day this dream is getting harder and harder to hold on to. One fact is that to an extent we can coexist, but as a nation bound by one cord, we are far from achieving that, amidst the abundance of plenty, our tribalistic eyes are blinded by greed and a sense of them versus us. I am afraid that if we dont realize and acknowledge that we are Nigerians first, before hausa, ibo, yoruba, ijaw or Tiv, then we may as well invite leaders from each main tribe and decide amicable the divide of what is left of Nigeria.


atoo tribalistic to cannot bury our h

Anonymous said...

Abeg nigerians stop making noise.
A child that does not learn at home will learn outside. Since those morons called leaders are not accountable to its citizens then it is good for them to be shamed outside.
They have a point. Where exactly is that snail called a president?. since they won't answer that question to Nigerians then they should give an answer to Americans.
Lol at Nigeria giving America ultimatums. We have everything to become a world super power so until our leaders stop being silly and actually develop the country, we are not forces to be reckoned with and are in no position to give America ultimatums.
They dnt need us, we need them.

Anonymous said...

I am a Nigerian living in Nigeria and MR. Todd has spoken the truth Nigeria is a failed state... The fact that we are living in Nigeria blinds us to this facts. Why do I say this: there is a general lack of security, there are so many petty thieves, arm robbers, kidnappers e.t.c. The police that is meant to provide the security is no better than the theif he is trying to catch ( with no sucess I might add). The roads are a nightmare, oh yes Fashola is repairing and beautifying what about FG roads;no electricity -can it be so hard to give us 24hrs of power?healthcare is a big fat zero, that even our president couldn't find a hospital here to treat him, his daugther the first lady of Katsina went to USA to have her first child....what happend to all the hospitals in Katsina ...oops they are death traps and the list is endless... In my opinion Nigeria has been a failed state long before abdulmaullab and his madness,or even yarauda departure
and if we are honest we know it deep down. Where is our president? Do we have one?
P.s vision20:2020 states amongst other things that by 2020 every Nigerian would have basic needs- food shelter, running water an education e.t.c. In Korea they envision by 2020, every household will have some sort of household robot examples they gave are robots that clean and answer the better is North Korea in comparism to Naija....20years ago not by much...but they had selfless leaders....
Please let's not full ourselves and but try to make inward changes it starts from me and you.

Ada said...

Linda, many times the truth hurts especially when told by an outsider. Nothing this man said is wrong, one of our greatest problem is that we get overly emotional and never give or accept objective criticism about Nigeria. A country where people are used to armed robbery taking place at broad daylight, where people are kidnapped anywhere for ransom, and it is a very COMMON place is a joke. And no this isnt just something that happens across the Niger, I know folks who have been kidnapped even in Abuja and Lagos in recent months.

Accept it.

One's leadership is a symbol of the country, so whether you like it or not, Yaradua is your representative, so if he is a failure then it shows that Nigeria as a whole is a failure. A country whose prez has been MIA for over 6 weeks, with no knowledge of his whereabouts is a joke. A country where parliament is trying to still pass 2010 budget with no account for what they did for 2009 budget is a joke. A country where they are trying to build VP a N4bil villa instead of taking that money to repair hospitals, or roads, where car accidents are the nation's leading cause of death is a joke!
I can go on and on. Linda we are a big joke, and the sooner we accept it, and face it, and stop thinking that things like bringing KFC into Lagos will make us become great, or creating 1001 award shows every year will somehow make us exceptional.
We Nigerians have developed a "I dont care attitude", face it, we are cowards who never do anything until stuff hits the fan. It took the US doing this, to get us to say something. Now we have Auntie Dora going about running her mouth saying crap to NTA, and BBC, as if that is going to change anything. Even with Prez being MIA, as soon as this happened, Mr VP should have been on the next flight to DC to meet with Obama or someone. If its to travel the world, they all know how to including Mr Ojo Maduekwe spending all those billions in 2009 gallivanting. What benefit has his travels done for us, we have no country rising to our support protesting our inclusion on the list!!!

Its taken this to get us to start declaring ultimatums. Who gives a hoot.

We are a failed state, and need to figure ourselves out. Do I think we deserve to be on the list? Nope!
It takes accepting the truth first, before you can start trying to act on it, to get a solution.
Linda and everyone else please accept it.

@Nigerian fetish, remember Ghana changed their currency, and reduced it by 4 zeroes like 2yrs ago, just to make the Cedis appear stronger

signing off "i love my country I no go lie"...blah blah black sheep!

Anonymous said...

Nigeria has not failed ooo...awon aye! na Jesus name we will never fail. mr todd u r very wrong of him to conpare us to somalia. any country that does not conform to US terms n policy are labeled....thus why they have plenty emenies. we r not perfect but we r getting there...

Dith said...

This whole thing gets me agitated and so I try not to bother.
The U.S is a bully and therefore preys on countries that are susceptible. And Nigeria is just that,.....a susceptible country and obviously not strong enough.
Are they seriously giving the U.S an ultimatum? LOL

First of, Where d hell is d leader of the country?
I am sorry but Until naija cleans up its acts, it'll continue to face such humiliation.
If Ghana could, Naija damn well could.

TKB's thoughts said...

Again, Nigerians with sentiments. Mr Moss or whatever his name said the truth. We have washed our dirty linen in the open glare of everyone so why do we complain of being labelled dirty.A people of over 150 million without a leader for over a month? You know the place of a head is not to be toyed with. When the head is sick all part of the body is equally sick. I am sorry but really we are tending towards a failed state. Natural resources abound truly but there is a wide disconnect between our resources and the state of the nation. Poverty is on the increase in a nation so richly blessed. Even some are using the President's absence to their own advantage. If they cannot come out in plain terms about the whereabout and condition of the president, then they do not feel the need to integrate the masses in their agenda! That''s very sad and my candid opinion is, if we cant tell ourselves the truth and someone else does, there is no need to crucify the person. We all hope for a better Nigeria, but right now, things are far from being normal, so lets all deal with it.

AliceDCL said...

i saw a lot of truth in what he said, and i believ that we need d help of america to clean our government, we are just hanging in the balance and very soon we shall tip and fall if something ismt doen sson
we hava no president a country without a ruler will go haywire, while i dont believe us should start sending troops to nigeria i believ there can be diplomatice ways to solve our problems

Korieocha Emmanuel said...

Todd Moss comment on Nigeria is hundred percent right, he even put our situation mildly.
We saw the various killings in the name of religion in the north by terrorists, we said that is their business we are not affected. Today, we are shouting because one of terrorists from the north took the act across Nigeria’s border. What do we call a case where people are being shot, sliced, beheaded, burnt alive, threw into the wells alive, smashed with heavy objects, pestles and religious centres and properties burnt on daily basis in the name of worshipping God? Two years ago, a female youth corps member teaching in a secondary school in one the northern states was beheaded for a mere allegation of throwing a Quran aside after retrieving same from a student who was cheating in an examination hall. Just last year another female youth corps member was brutally murdered in Borno State. What manner of terrorism is more grievous than these acts?
We saw an Umaru Abdulmutallab, a religious zealot who contravenes the secular nature of our constitution by introducing Nigeria's first Islamic bank, Jaiz Bank International Plc in 2003, we said it is not our business because obedience to the spirit of the Nigerian constitution is meant for some part of the country, who seems to be sub-humans. Today, the hawks in government circles are shading crocodile tears because the United States has subtly told them to look inward by restricting their lavish trips abroad where they lodge money and waste the country’s funds on ostentatious items.
Korieocha Emmanuel

yagayoski said...

you sef Linda! how can you defend the indefensible?? Nigeria, if not a failed state, is well on the way to becoming one. being peace loving pple wont get us anywhere! perhaps we need to be less peace loving and revolt! Our country is a joke, and fast becoming irrelevant to the rest of the world. Mr Moss has spoken nothing but the truth. take it as constructive criticism, instead of derriding him and defending just for the hell of it. You think we sef no love our country??

Fran said...

Rock of Ages and Anony 10:46pm... PREACH!!!! Nigeria does really NEED to hear that! I myself don't quite understand why we are always so quick to rebuke any form of critique, when we know deep down that Nigeria has FAILED so far!!! It doesn't mean we will remain a failure, but please Nigeria is really nothing to write home about when compared to what she could be considering the resources at hand......

ababoypart2 said...

Sorry Linda, but on this occasion, and it’s a first in my book you got it wrong. Nigeria ticks all the boxes of a failed state, have a look at the classification of a failed state. I choose to call it a failing state for now, but fail it surely will. I used to be deluded, even though I lived in a state that worked and couldn’t be compared to one – like Nigeria - that didn’t. Was it blind patriotism, maybe. I just blindly defended my country. But not anymore, let’s call a spade a spade in order to fix all that is wrong with our country. Let’s not be fooled by a little sprinkle of modern amenities, by and large we are many miles away from being termed a successful (and some say a civilized) nation!

Anonymous said...

Until Nigerians start realising that we have problems, then we would all remain where we are.
Everyone is quick to attack anyone that says the truth about Nigeria
The truth is bitter o

Anonymous said...

Nigeria is not a failed state and who so ever says that should go jump off a cliff. The problem with Nigerian’s is that we are not patriotic at all. IF you look at all the other African courtiers we are far better than they will ever be. Is it Kenya, Uganda even Ghana we want to compare ourselves with those countries economy is ran by Chinese, Indians etc, or is it south Africa we want to say is better than Nigeria hell no, south Africans economy is ran by the white man. Nigeria is probably the only black nation that our economy is ran by our people which should stand for something, Nigeria is also the strongest black nation when it comes to our military (am sure most people did not know that). With that being said, we still have some major improvement that still needs to be done in Nigeria, and right now I am tired of Nigerian always complaining about how useless the country is ( Do not ask what Nigeria can do for you but what you can do for Nigeria) Nigeria need people to start acting not complaining. During Sani Abacha’s time no Nation, even powerful USA would use their fowl mouth to put down Nigeria. You can ask the British, especial their airline industry what they suffered when Abacha was in power.

Anonymous said...

As much as I want to declare Nigeria a failed state, I can't because it doesn't meet the definition criteria. It takes more than rampant corruption and absence of public services to earn failed state status. That label requires consensus endorsement by the international community and loss of territorial integrity. However, in many ways, we are worse than a failed state and very close to being one.

I'm more concerned about the scrotum bomber. Anyone else think that it's mightily convenient that his attack coincides with Yar'adua's perhaps untimely demise? Well, let us hope it's not a PSYOPS(psychological operation) to get the world ready for a US led invasion if they deem it necessary.

Like it or not, we exist to provide them 12% of their oil supply. Only God knows what the real numbers are when you consider state sanctioned bunkering. But make no mistake, when you are ranked 5th place in oil imports to the US, just above Iraq, you don't have the luxury of having nationwide disruptive politics. So if you think that they'll let all that oil go offline because of the side effects of one dead president, think again.

If all this sounds too conspiratorial, remember they've already done the war games

KEMI said...


Unknown said...

i have read some comments here that make think again. i think Linda is right in what she said. Nobody is saying that we do not have problems in Nigeria or that or situation is not deteriorating rapidly. however, we do not need the US to 'help' us clean up our system. the US will just use us and suck us dry. it amazes me that nigerians do not know that allowing The US to 'help' us out will take us back to the colonial days. only nigeria can salvage nigeria. the Americans do not just give, they must take back. if u let them in, we are in for a long ride

Anonymous said...

All of you that are talking rubbish, look at the failed state index. We are considered worse than Yemen.

Anonymous said...

While I don't agree that Nigeria is a failed state, I believe Nigeria is ran by a failed Gov. I mean of Obama wants to partner on anti terrorist policies who shall he partner with? It has become quite comical even to white people and Americans that our President would leave office for 43 days and counting with no word on his welfare. They do indeed take us for fools. As for Naija giving an ultimatum to America, let us all ask ourselves if we can survive without America. How many of our relatives live, work, school, vacation and visit hospitals in America because there is no provision for it here. We are in no place to give ultimatums! We can only try to partner and that is equally impossible with no president who can do it.

shola said...

The guy pointed out some good truth .Yet what people responded to ,is his suggestion which to them looked so brash..Remember dudes we are in a global village,others are watching us ,bcos in a global village there is no hidden place for anyone when your neighbour catches cold ,you catch fever.

Anonymous said...

we know that Nigeria has problems but to call us a failed state is rich coming from this Todd Moss guy- afterall, black americans were only 'liberated' in the 1960s- until then, they could not mix with white people. Despite their 'black' president, the US remains as racially divided as ever, homosexuals are taking over their society and there is an increasing gap between rich and poor- such is the level of poverty in the US that it is shocking! Also the US itself is home to some of the most dangerous fundamentalist groups in the world- the klux klan and another group which produced Tim McVee who went on a campaign of terror in Ohio. Not to mention of course that this is a nation where the right to carry a gun is enshrined in the constitution. If anything, the US is a declining superpower and they know that the American Dream is flawed. In the meantime the time has come for nigerians to stop talking and take matters into their own hands- we must have a revolution that will transform our country, our society and start dealing with our problems.

T.Williams-A said...

Would you have preferred the word "failing"?

Truth be told that Nigeria has consistently fallen short of its expectations and for such a "great" country, it is quite pathetic and very embarrassing. I love my country no doubt, but I refuse to be ruled by sentiments - a major shortcoming of many Nigerians. I think it's better to face the facts and try and proffer a solution to the existing problems rather than "hope" things will get better just because we love our country.

Tell me something. If your dad went away on vacation, the only logical thing would be for him to delegate responsibility to your mum or even the eldest child to ensure things went on smoothly in his absence. I think it is extremely irresponsible for the President to have left his seat even for a day without handing over power to his Vice. People please this this is a country not someone's pet project!

I have heard so many stories in the past one year; planes stuck in the air for hours because the control tower had no electricity, the loss of jobs, the misuse of public funds and, in my case, the purchase of stocks without my permission. I mean like really now! When is this going to stop?!

So please, let's leave sentiments out of this and listen to reason. OK! So Nigeria is a "failed" state! No point living in denial. The question is what do we do about it?! How exactly do we plan to rise out of the ashes?! The sooner we answer these questions, the better for us.

Anonymous said...

Amazing content!
Thank you for this share!

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