PRESS STATEMENT ON THE AMERICAN VISA BAN ON SELECTED NIGERIAN CITIZENS FOR “ELECTION RIGGING” AND “UNDERMINING DEMOCRACY” BY CHIEF FEMI FANI-KAYODE, THE SADAUKIN SHINKAFI, FORMER MINISTER OF CULTURE AND TOURISM AND FORMER MINISTER OF AVIATION, 16th May 2023.
Those that have imposed a visa ban on some “selected Nigerians” for allegedly “undermining democracy” and “rigging elections” are perfectly within their rights to do so because it is their country and they can do as they please.
We should loose no sleep over that because the Nigerian people, a great and sovereign people who belong to a great and sovereign nation, spoke loudly and clearly and made their legitmate choices during the course of a set of free, fair and credible elections which have, to the glory of God, produced a President-elect and a set of Governors-elect who will all be duly sworn-in according to law on the 29th of this month.
Wherever any of those elections may have been rigged or democracy undermined can only be properly determined by our election tribunals and courts after all the facts and evidence have been adduced, examined and determined and not by any distant and/or partisan foreign government or power.
It is also my view that foreign policy, which ought to be based on the principle of equality of nations and conducted on the basis of reciprocity, requires the Nigerian Federal Government to consider the possibility of doing the same to nationals of those that have implemented and announced this measure and issue a visa ban to any foreign citizen or member of any corporate entity or institution that may have indulged in undermining democracy or rigging elections in either their own or any other country in the world over the last 25 years.
Courage, equity, justice, fairness and mutual respect demands no less.
The irony of it all is that the President whose Government has issued a visa ban on selected Nigerians for rigging has himself been accused of the most blatant and shameful election rigging in the history of their country by no less than his predecessor in office and millions of his fellow country men.
That is a pertinent observation and a relevant point.
The truth is that the world is becoming less tolerant of double standards, double speak, neo-colonialism, pseudo-imperialism, the hypocrisy and interference of big, rich and powerful countries, who believe that they own and rule the world, in the affairs of less rich and less poweful ones and the practice of what Lord Palmerston, Great Britain’s 18th century Foreign Minister impudently and arrogantly enunciated and described as the implementation of a ‘paternalistic foreign policy’.
African leaders generally and Nigerian leaders particularly are not mice. They do not scramble and scatter at the sound of a gong and they do not quiver or wet their pants in the face of a gratutious insult, threat or storm.
Gone are the days when Africans or their leaders shiver under their bedsheets and seek validation from more often than not ill-informed and ill-advised foreign Government officials with local vested interests and misplaced, malevolent intentions.
Gone are the days when we sold our souls for a pittance or our people as slaves for mirrors and a bottle of “fire water” whisky.
We are no longer configured to fear mere mortals. We have learnt that God alone is to be feared. That He alone is our shield and defender. That He alone is our glory.
That He alone is the lifter of our heads. That He alone rules in the affairs of men and that He alone forges the destiny of nations.
No nation on earth, no matter how rich and powerful, can thwart the will of the God of all flesh for our people or undermine the purpose of the Lord of creation for our country.
All the visa bans in the world cannot change that.
(FFK, 16th May 2023)