Report on Nigeria misguided and totally misleading

Press Release for circulation   June 3, 2005

We write in reaction to a news agency report credited to Reuters, published on May 26. It was titled "Nigeria could collapse and bring down Africa, says CIA."

When it comes to Africa and African countries in general, doomsday prophets abound all over the place; either in the intelligence circuit or the media, particularly the Western media.

It should be recalled that this was one of the issues which featured prominently during the recently concluded International Press Institute conference in Nairobi.

The CIA report, which is the source of the story in your newspaper, and Reuters' readiness to quickly lap it up, do not come as a surprise.

They all fit into the world view of authors of the report and typical Western coverage of Africa, based on simple prejudice and preconception rather than any informed analysis. The preference to report the negative rather than genuine efforts at nation-building are all too common.

People who are predicting the collapse of Nigeria at the turn of a new century are living in the past, stuck to old ideas.

They are totally ignorant of current realities of the country, preferring to use the same tar-brush of the past. They deliberately prefer not to see the far-reaching reforms, the fight against corruption and waste, and the progress being made towards consolidation of democracy, securely anchored on good governance and full accountability to the people.

It is a pity that they cannot see the new Nigeria being collectively built, and the efforts of government under President Olusegun Obasanjo to reposition the country's economy for the well-being of Nigerians.

Like any other nation in the world today, including those which boast of being old or ancient democracies, we are fully aware of challenges in various areas of our national life, and we are facing them, and happily, succeeding.

For those who are not aware, Nigeria's performance on the home front since the return to civil rule has been remarkable. Likewise, in the West African sub-region, the facts speak for themselves.

We carry our fair share of the burden arising out of the process of economic integration in our region, and resolution of conflict or keeping the peace when it becomes necessary. We remain a stabilising factor, promoting development.

Indeed, our tireless efforts for peace and stability and good governance in the sub-region, and total commitment to peace and progress of the African continent and its people, are unquestionable.

Nigeria is making irreversible progress, consolidating its unity, stability, indivisibility, prosperity and development.

Consequently, rather than be a destabilising factor our country is and will continue to be a shining example in the region and indeed in Africa. The doomsday prophets of catastrophe should put on new looking glasses to see clearly.

We wish to conclude by stressing that the world now knows better. Thus, the so-called intelligence reports emanating from discredited intelligence agencies cannot, and will not distract us. Nigeria and Africa could do better without the doomsday prophets.