It is safe to say the present plights of Nigerians living in South Africa who have been exposed to violence, xenophobia, police brutality and extra judicial killings and civil violence is a direct failure of leadership of the Nigerian government, and an embarrassing display of low-level mastery of international diplomacy and assertiveness by Nigeria.
I have never seen a more docile Government at the international stages as Nigeria’s since 2011 till the present. A Government so self-absorbed in domestic affairs that she is not even aware of her frontiers needing care and attention , perhaps only in the areas of scurrying for aid in China or to the West for grants is where the Nigerian government realises she belongs to the committee of nations and owes her citizens an international presence and identity.
Recently Nigerians have suffered more violent deaths, destruction of properties, police killings in South Africa than in all countries put together, yet the Nigerian government has done nothing significant to address the issues other than empty diplomatic rhetorics aimed at the media rather than the offending country.
Nigeria’s naivety in international relations and her unawareness of her soft and real powers is an embarrassing pointer to the kind of shallow leadership in Government.
Nigeria plays hosts to many Multi National firms owned by the South African government and citizens and never once has the Nigerian government asserted diplomatic pressure through that channel for concessions. Even in the face of diplomatic standoff between both countries in the African Union ,AU, crisis over Ivory Coast’s election during the Laurent Gbagbo debacle where South Africa over stepped its geographical boundaries, the Libyan uprising, Boko haram menace, the Nigerian government took time to find the appropriate response.
The same thing would be said in West Africa where France has continued to draw a wedge between francophone West Africa and Anglophone West Africa, crippling Nigeria’s influence and integration in the subregion. Whereas Nigeria plays host to Total oil of France and other million dollars French companies, Nigeria also has over 65% of the entire economy in the sub region with more than half the entire population, yet she has not been able to leverage on this score.
China on the other hand has used trade and her market dominance of playing host to Western firms to keep all of Europe, Japan and South Korea in check! A trend Donald Trump of the United States is trying to undermine.
Nigerians have been dying in unprecedented numbers in South Africa in recent times and Nigerian leadership has not yet found the right string to pull to compel the South African government to do more in bringing to perpetrators of this murders to justice.
It has been empty rhetorics always issued from the embassy or from the foreign ministry. Never has Nigeria asserted her power and influence to protect its own interests.