We shouldn’t be welcoming Tony Blair in Nigeria

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“If leaders may lie, then who should tell the truth?….On what grounds do we decide that Robert Mugabe should go to the International Criminal Court, Tony Blair should join the international speakers’ circuit, bin Laden should be assassinated, but Iraq should be invaded, not because it possesses weapons of mass destruction, as Mr Bush’s chief supporter, Mr Blair confessed…but in order to get rid of  Saddam Hussein….

If it is acceptable for leaders to take drastic action on the basis of a lie, without any acknowledgement or an apology when they are found out, what should we teach our children? – Bishop Desmond Tutu

LAST week Friday, many Nigerian newspapers carried on their front pages, the picture of Tony B-LIAR, former British Prime Minister, surrounded by the Sultan of Sokoto, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and other religious leaders.

It was from the launch, the previous day, of an effort to “encourage reconciliation between Christian and Moslem (SIC) communities”, by the Tony Blair Foundation. It was, on the surface of it, a good initiative. But it comes from a man who ordinarily should have been arrested and handed over for trial at the International Criminal Court.


From left Bishop Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury Designate, the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Saa’ad Abubakar; Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Christian Association of Nigeria CAN Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and the Estu Nupe Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar attend the launching of Tony Blair Foundation Led-work in Nigeria to Encourage Reconcillation Between Christain and Moslems Communities in Abuja on November 22, 2012AFP

Tony B-LAIR comes into Nigeria so regularly, that most people seem to have forgotten that he does not even command much respect in his home country anymore and is unable to walk around in London, with same spring in his step that we see during his regular, and obviously lucrative, Nigerian visits.

Prior to 1999, Nigerian leaders took very serious, anti-imperialist positions. Even the Tafawa Balewa administration, often described as ‘conservative”, broke diplomatic relations with

France, following an atomic weapons test in the Sahara, during the 1960s. We all remember Murtala Muhammed’s role in supporting the progressive movement for Angolan Independence in 1975. The same regime refused a visit by Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, to protest

America’s anti-African posture. The military nationalised British Petroleum, as part of Nigerian commitment to Africa’s liberation. Those were the halcyon days of Nigerian foreign policy activism!

Leaders kow-towing to imperialism

When Obasanjo returned in 1999, a lot changed; for the worst! We suddenly became a nation ruled by leaders with entrenched inferiority complexes who readily kow-towed to imperialism.

The old despot, Obasanjo sacked General Victor Malu, for objecting to an indecent and groveling surrender to American military diktat; just as patriotic Nigerian intellectuals in virtually all fields of life were ignored for imperialist-trained “experts” with more loyalty to the Bretton Woods Institutions than toNigeria!

That trend led the late President Yar’adua to describe a few minutes inside George Bush’s White House, as the greatest moment of his life! Inferiority complex cannot come any worse! But the trend deepened and Tony B-LAIR’s regular reception inside Aso Villa and other Nigerian events, merely underscores this trend. But it triggers my patriotic indignation that we are ruled by those with the consciousness of slaves!

Tony B-LIAR, described as George Bush’s poodle, is reviled around the world for the role he played in the American invasion ofIraqin 2003. He told lies aboutIraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, as justification for the invasion.

Last September, Nobel Laureate and anti-apartheid hero, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, called for Tony Blair and George Bush to be hauled before the ICC for the “physical and moral devastation caused by the war in Iraq”. THE OBSERVER newspaper ofLondon, on September 2nd, reported the call as part of a statement Tutu released, withdrawing from a leadership conference inSouth Africa, for which Tony B-LIAR was paid 150,000 British pounds.

The INDEPENDENT of London of August 29th, quoted Tutu that it was “morally indefensible” to share a platform with B-LIAR. “The Discovery Invest Summit has leadership as its theme. Morality and leadership are indivisible.

In this context, it would be inappropriate for the Archbishop Tutu to share a platform with Mr. Blair”. Bush and B-LIAR, Archbishop Tutu argued “fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart. They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand”.

A war of aggression

The commentator George Monbiot, in the London Guardian of 3rd September, said Tutu’s call “broke the protocol of power- the implicit accord of those who flit from one grand meeting to another- and named his crime” He added further that “the crime of aggression and a crime against peace.

It is defined by the Nurember principles as the ‘planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression’.

This means a war fought for a purpose other than self-defence: in other words out with articles 33 and 51 of the UN Charter. That the invasion ofIraqfalls into this category looks indisputable”….

Without legal justification, the attack onIraqwas an act of mass murder. It caused the death of between 100,000 and a million people, and ranks among the greatest crimes the world has ever seen.

That Blair and his ministers still saunter among us, gathering money where ever they go, is a withering indictment of a one-sided system of international justice: a system whose hypocrisy Tutu has exposed”.

Arrest Blair campaign

Monbiot is the founder of www.arrestblair.org. to promote a peaceful citizens’ arrest of Tony B-LIAR; citizens contribute to a fund that has so far disbursed more than ten thousand pounds.

“Our aim is the same as Tutu’s: to de-normalise an act of mass murder, to keep it in the public mind and to maintain the pressure for prosecution. That looked (until Tutu’s recent call), like an almost impossible prospect.

But when the masonry begins to crack, impossible hopes can become first plausible, then inexorable. Blair will now find himself shut out of places where he was once welcome. One day he may find himself shut in”. B-LIAR should no longer be made welcome in Nigeria. His regular visits here assault our human decency!

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