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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Chatham House and Nigeria’s growing cultural cringe –

The growing role of the British thought factory Chatham House in Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election, where most of our top presidential contenders speak in droves like giddy young children, is The most absurd extreme I could find in Nigeria’s recent history is a phenomenon that social anthropologists call cultural cringe.

First proposed by Australian scholar Arthur Phillips in the 1950s to describe Australia’s complex cultural relationship with the United Kingdom and the United States, cultural shrinking is a deep-seated inferiority complex that causes psychologically damaged former colonists to feel inferior and despise themselves countries and their cultures, and uncritically evaluate other countries and their cultures.

There is rampant cultural cringe in Nigeria, which is clearly highlighted in this election cycle. APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu, who habitually avoids all independent Nigerian news organizations and platforms that invite him to debates and discussions, is the first presidential candidate to accept an invitation from Chatham House to talk about his plans for Nigeria.

The envy of Peter Obi and his team. They feel they have been elevated by Tinubu. While unlike Tinubu, Obi regularly deals with Nigerians, he needs Chatham House’s stamp of approval to show that he too has arrived. When he was invited to Chatham House, his supporters celebrated as if he had won the presidency.

Supporters of Kwankwasiyya also trumpeted Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s invitation to speak at Chatham House as proof that he had overcome the real and nominal marginality that plagued his presidential ambitions, costing him and his spokesman He spent precious communication energy dispelling any hints that he would quit. Race and support Tinubu or Atiku.

Atiku Abubakar is the only major presidential candidate who has (yet) been invited by Chatham House to talk about his presidential campaign. But the fact that he gave speeches there in 2017 and 2018 suggests he has no philosophical disagreement with the humiliating cultural cringe represented by a speech by a Nigerian presidential candidate at Chatham House.

Even INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu appeared at Chatham House on January 17 to speak on INEC’s ‘Preparation, Challenges and Priorities for Ensuring Election Integrity and Inclusion’. I bet that if Chatham House invited the entire Federal Executive Council to meet weekly in London to hear from Chatham House executives, Buhari and his ministers would be admonished for the “rare privilege” Feel honored and flattered.

That may sound like an outlandish hyperbole, but the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua used similar terms to describe his visit to the White House. He was so overwhelmed by the splendor of the White House — and the “privilege” that rocked President George W. Bush — that he declared the visit “a rare opportunity” and a “moment in my life that I will never forget.”

I have never seen such effusive expressions of gratitude, such reckless, watery-eyed candor, from the president of a self-proclaimed sovereign nation. His successor was no better.

After Yar’Adua’s illness and the succession crisis it sparked in 2010, Jonathan turned to the United States for the legitimacy of the acting presidency. He was here and posed for photos with President Obama and other top US government officials precisely because he wanted America’s symbolic seal of authority to be his acting president.

Several sources told me at the time that when Jonathan was brought to the United States — embarrassingly ill-prepared as he was — it was said that seeing him shake hands with Obama and other senior U.S. They accepted him without question as the legitimate acting president. In other words, he seeks the social and symbolic basis for the legitimacy of his presidency from the United States, not from Nigeria.

Indeed, like his successors, Jonathan has no doubts that he values ​​the opinions of Western leaders, especially those of the United States, more than those of those who elected him. In 2011, for example, he dismissed widespread criticism of his poor governance by calling attention to the flimsy, formulaic diplomatic praise he received from Obama.

“I just came back from America. The president of the United States is like the president of the world because it’s the most powerful country,” Jonathan was quoted as saying in a Lagos church speech in response to national criticism of him on September 26, 2011. continued criticism. “Obama praised Nigeria in his speech, but at home we were reviled.”

In other words, if the “President of the World” Obama is lavishing praise on Jonathan, how dare ordinary people in Nigeria criticize him?

If Jonathan was a neocolonial president, his immediate successor, Muhammadu Buhari, took the neocolonial presidency to new heights. He actually started Chatham House’s political pilgrimage in 2015. After the presidential election was rescheduled from February 14 to March 28, Buhari temporarily moved to London, during which time he visited Chatham House, where he became famous for bold and empty promises that have since been rejected. Gone with the wind.

“If I am elected president, the world will have no reason to worry about Nigeria,” he declared. “I will lead the way by example.”

Shortly after he was elected and sworn in as president, Buhari went to London for a “rest” and then, of course, he visited Chatham House to repudiate two iconic campaign documents that helped propel his party to An unexpected electoral victory, and one that has raised eyebrows for many. Nonpartisan commentators have identified and supported him so far in 2015. These documents are pamphlets titled “One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days” and “My Covenant with Nigerians”.

This started his tradition of revering foreign countries and mocking Nigeria. All of Buhari’s major media interviews during his presidency have been with foreign journalists — and often on foreign soil. For the most part, he eschewed the Nigerian media that Tinubu emulated.

Like Jonathan before him, Buhari puts more weight on foreign perceptions of him than domestic ones on his performance. For example, on September 20, 2018, a Premium Times investigation found that the Buhari government had “hired two American lobbying and public relations firms to plant a favorable message in American newspapers in favor of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. article”.

This cultural cringe shows no sign of abating anytime soon because, as we’ve seen over the past few weeks, frankly none of Buhari’s potential successors are indistinguishable from him when it comes to matters of national pride .

To be sure, independence and national self-respect does not imply national self-isolation. There are benefits to interacting with other nations and their institutions, especially those with which we have historical ties, but this should be done on terms that enhance, not diminish, our national self-esteem.

As it stands, no Western country needs secret agents to access our state secrets. When a white person — any white person — thinks they are “worthy” enough to act as a traitorous informer against their own country, the egos of our elites are often flattered beyond measure.

This is why they are often infantilized by the West. As a people and a culture, we have internalized a mentality of low self-worth and an unwarranted adoration of foreigners, especially when the “foreigners” also happen to be white.

read from and Niri tribune

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