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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Okechukwu Ofili: Why Nigerians Love The US Army More Than The Nigerian Army

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Don’t get me wrong, the Nigerian government has failed us in many ways regarding this Boko Haram issue. But the alarming extent at which the Nigeria media is willing to go to paint the foreigners as instant saviors is almost embarrassing. Normally I would ignore this and just move on, but this to a large extent what takes place across our nation and is fed by Hollywood movie sensationalism.

From Transformers to Independence Day to even Avengers we have the foreigners-will-rescue-us mentality. Call the American army and everything is magically fixed. So persistent are these images that Nigerians in the 21st century are of the mind set that once the foreigners get involved Boko Haram will be automatically caught … and overnight.

I mean how else do you explain a national newspaper of the calibre of Vanguard printing an article on its front page with the headline CHIBOK: US MARINES LOCATE ABDUCTED GIRLS with an image showing 2 supposedly American marines leading a purported Boko Haram leader away? But yet the image is a picture taken not in Nigeria but in the Central African Republic that has nothing to do with Boko Haram! But let’s ignore the picture as hard as it is to do. Lets focus on the article…

The article itself is filled with so many contradictions it hurts to read see article here And let’s not forget that it required 3 people to write it namely Kingsley Omonobi, Henry Umoru and Victoria Ojeme (who weirdly did not leave their contacts in the article) ! How it still turned out so shitty with all 3 of them writing is quite impressive.

First it says “the 230 female students abducted by Boko Haram … have been sited at the Sambisa Forest in Borno State, by the Special Forces of the United States Marines.”

but then it contradicts itself within a few paragraphs “But there are no plans to send American combat troops into Nigeria.”

and then manages to re-contradict itself again “US Marines find abducted girls, arrest Boko Haram leader.” 

chibokHow do you explain such a wretched article coming from Vanguard and being front page news? An article that as of today has generated 17,000 facebooks likes and 928+ retweets of false news. And an additional 957 comments, most of which are glorifying the presence of the US army while raining insults on the Nigerian military and their incompetence?

But yet no single facts were stated within it as the article failed to give any solid source just journalistic hear-say but yet we all run with it, tweet it, like it and believe it … because of the hunger for the Hollywood ending.

But its not just Vanguard that is guilty, it’s us, most of us. People who perpetrate that Hollywood image that foreigners have come to rescue us from the Boko Haram aliens but forget that the last successful US intervention is arguably as far back as the 1990 Gulf War. But yet all this is forgotten…

So we find at our work place … Foreign managers getting credit for the hard work of Nigerians, it does not matter that they have been on the job for less than 1 month. Anything positive will be attributed to him or her and anything negative … must be the Nigerians causing it. And then we sit down and wonder why Nigerians can’t be trusted with anything, why we need to import foreign help to run stuff as simple as a retail store or pharmacy. Well, it is because of stuff like this, that Vanguard headline and that image.

Like I said at the beginning, I am not blown away with our military but under the circumstances, they are trying. Like my friend Edefe Ojomo said:

“The Nigerian soldier. Unsung hero. Victim of a corrupt system that sends him/her to die in vain. Underpaid, un(der)equipped, un(der)appreciated, un(der)recognised”

File Photo: Nigerian Troops on alert
File Photo: Nigerian Troops on alert

And that is the truth, we are quick to exalt the foreign factor but fail to understand the difficulties the Nigerian army faces. The fact that they are under-paid, under-appreciated and rarely recognized but yet are still able to achieve some level of success! That is admirable.

But the most annoying part is the ease at which we forget their past achievements/positives. We (the government and the people) are slow to recognize them for their efforts, we are quick to forget that they drove Boko Haram out of Maiduguri and have limited their activities to the borders of Nigeria. We forget all they have done in as instant, because the Americans are here, the foreigners have arrived.

We need to change that mentality and while doing so, we need to hold our journalists to a higher standard. This Vanguard article is highly inexcusable. But what is more inexcusable is us ignoring our Nigeria achievements , our potential and other things simply because the foreigners have arrived.

NOTE: I am not asking that we do not work with foreigners, far from it, what I am asking is that we do not give them all the credit. At the end of the day if the US succeeds it will be in a large part done by intelligence/resources from the Nigerian army. Lastly, if you feel annoyed by this Vanguard article please let the folks at Vanguard know, email them at [email protected]

Okechukwu Ofili is an author, speaker, and blogger and a The Trent Elite Voice. Follow him on twitterFacebook or subscribe to his blog for more honest talk and as @ofilispeaks on instagram for more sketches! To bring Ofili to your school or organization as a speaker simply go here. His third book How Intelligence Kills was published in December 2013, order it at https://bit.ly/intelligencekills.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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