By Philip Agbese
When the alarm was raised that there was a plot to discredit President Muhammadu Buhari during this festive season little did one know that pretender to Nigeria Expertise, John Campbell, was among the line-up of those given the assignment. The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had this week raised the alarm about an ongoing plan to launch a smear campaign against the President, with the claim that he has lost grip of the security situation in the country.
Adesina had outlined that the plan of the disgruntled political elements sponsoring this campaign is to portray Buhari as not being in charge of the country using cooked up media stories, especially online. Incidentally, Campbell has outed himself as being part of this plan, which is in addition to his being well known as being part of the foreign chapter of Nigeria’s opposition.
Campbell, who has abused and exploited his stint as one-time United States of America’s ambassador to Nigeria, continued his now trite position as pretender to Nigeria’s expertise to spew his now regular rant about Nigeria without disclosing that he was on errand for an opposition whose distance from power has been on a daily exponential increase as it became clearer that those within its ranks are not likely to ever get the freely given democratic mandate of Nigerians.
The piece that the former US diplomat used to deliver on his contract for the opposition was improperly captioned “Darkness in Northern Nigeria” and published by neo-colonialist website of the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR). That site has been Campbell’s sounding board, for each time he seeks to inflame passions in Nigeria and that organization on its own has the notoriety of manipulating circumstances in other countries in a manner that furthers the narrow interests of the dark circle of humans that fancies itself as the owner of the world.
Campbell would have better served those he is running errands for had he just maintained a dignified silence. But he simply could not resist the temptation of pitching in, perhaps so that he does not lose out on whatever the Council gives him and not to be cut off as a consultant to Nigeria’s opposition. For Campbell, the prospect of hunger for not honouring his contract is real, and he will definitely do anything not to go on the dole even at the cost of selling himself to darkness.
Only such desperation will make him to pick issues with the directive of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Buratai to all troops to put themselves in a “war mode.” He is concerned that there is a move to intensify the screening for Boko Haram terrorists among civilians, which he fears would lead to abuses without admitting the flip side that the terrorists had fled battle fronts and tried their best to blend into the civilian population. Of course, facts and logic would be a luxury that someone attempting to discredit the government can ill afford.
His claim of being an expert on Nigeria was lost with his shabby suggestion that fears are surfacing that “the Buhari government may revive shelved legislation that would seek greater control over social media—including the death penalty for spreading “fake news,” as defined by the government”. Such claim would only be the product of ignorance or mischief or a toxic combination of both. A man who is an acclaimed expert on Nigeria should have known that the National Assembly is not the same as the Presidency and that the lawmakers in parliament can introduce legislation without taking permission from the executive arm. To then claim that the “Buhari government” will revive the legislation is the height of irresponsibility.
It is not surprising that Campbell’s validation for his entire piece came from the actions of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), a group that has been repeatedly exposed as the mob arm of the opposition, one that is looking to exploit the security situation in some parts of the country to precipitate anarchy in the north. One wonders if Campbell will, in good conscience, endorse a group with similar outlooks in the United States, knowing that their intents are not in national interest.
Campbell will have to explain the bit about how states have organized informal militias that “are likely now acting independently more often than in conjunction with security forces”. This is simply racist. It depicts a Campbell who thinks Nigeria does not have the right to evolve its structures and institutions in the manner that they find fit and practical – states have been agitating to have their own police but have been limited by the Constitution, if they find a workaround that addresses the problem of insecurity in part, why should this be a source of headache for this failed contractor?
If the other things Campbell claimed in the piece are pointers to his desperation to satisfy his client(s), his suggestions that “security service abuses contribute to the alienation of the population from the government” and that “government is also failing to fulfill its obligation to provide security for its people” is the final confirmation that he needs to see a shrink, possibly for a case of old-age related senility or worse still as someone for whom the light has gone out and completely replaced by tangible darkness. Perhaps he should have first analyzed the epidemic of mass shooting in the US from this same prism to see which one is more deserving of the attention he is wasting on Nigeria.
As a bonus, Campbell should have devoted more resources to analyzing the allegations of voting fraud in the US Presidential Election as leveled by Donald Trump, who should know since he is a sitting President of that country. Even if Trump should be dismissed as a clown, the concern should remain that the US elections have been ushered into the realm of doubts once occupied by the so-called third world countries. It is a phenomenon that would worsen in 2024 and then 2028 instead of going away. Thus, rather than obsessing about “Darkness in Northern Nigeria”, Campbell should focus on the darkness that is blanketing his own home country, one that has already enshrouded his soul.
Agbese is a law graduate of Middlesex University and wrote this piece from London.