There’s not a lot to be happy about right now if you’re a Nigerian. Most recently we’ve had to deal with a terrible fire tragedy, terror alerts, a rapidly declining naira and in the background of it all, our worst flooding crisis in a decade.
So when there’s any whiff of good news to uplift the mood, we won’t hesitate to share. Which is why we’re delighted to announce, ladies and gentlemen, that former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, aka OBJ, has scored a big win for himself and Nigeria on the African scene.
What did OBJ do?
It’s easy to forget Nigeria isn’t the only country facing shege. Thousands of people have died in the ongoing war in Ukraine and we really can’t wait for it to end. But closer to home in Africa, Ethiopia has been at war with itself for the past two years and over half a million people are dead. On November 2, 2022, the Ethiopian government and rebel forces agreed to stop fighting.
Acting as an African Union (AU) mediator, our very own OBJ led the team who made that truce happen.
Obasanjo arriving at the signing ceremony [Image source: Reuters]
OBJ preached caution about the full implementation of the peace agreement,but the koko is, as of this moment, the Tigray War has ceased.
Why is this significant?
This isn’t the first time Nigeria has played the mediator role on the African continent. Another former president, Goodluck Jonathan, received Mali’s highest honour in 2013 for providing humanitarian support during a time of crisis. In 2021, Jonathan’s efforts ensured the release of Mali’s president and prime minister from detention after a military takeover.
The scale of the Tigray War makes the truce signed in South Africa significant. One estimate notes that the war has claimed 600,000 lives since it started in 2020. The war also displaced millions of people and created a worrying humanitarian crisis. Remember that Ethiopia is the second largest African country by population, after Nigeria, and whatever happens spills into surrounding countries.
The United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has already commended OBJ for his work on ending the crisis, and it further proves his legacy in Nigerian foreign policy remains unmatched. So we can’t blame him if he decides to buga.
Ultimately, OBJ’s significant role in helping to resolve the crisis, in a way, affirms Nigeria’s place as the continent’s big brother. We may be some distance away from truly assuming that African giant status, but this is a timely reminder of how important Nigeria can be when it decides to gbera.