Ignore Campbel’s Warning Over Coup —Envoy

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Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, Nigeria Ambassador to the U.S., has described the latest report  by a former American envoy to Nigeria on Nigeria’s political future as mischievous, which  should be ignored.

Amb. John Campbell, former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria on Tuesday published another report  on Nigeria, warning that post-electoral violence could result in a military coup.

Adefuye said Campbell’s view was mischievous and “does not represent that of the current  American administration”.

Campbell’s earlier thesis on 9 Sept. entitled “Nigeria on the brink,what happens if the  2010 elections fail”  was also condemned by the Nigeria government as “irresponsible.”

Campbell’s latest series, published by the U.S think tank group, Council on Foreign  Relations (CFR), is entitled “Electoral violence in Nigeria”.

The report, described as a CFR contingency planning memorandum, states that  post-electoral violence in Nigeria may result to a “humanitarian catastrophe, or a  complete shutdown of Nigeria’s oil industry, greatly impacting the international oil  market”.

The 11-page memo notes that Nigeria’s upcoming election, scheduled for January 2011, may  well be the first in the country’s history featuring a genuine political contest between  the predominantly Christian South and the Muslim North.

It says candidates may be tempted to leverage Nigerians’ ethnic and religious identities  for political gain, a practice that may lead to widespread electoral violence or even a  military coup.

“This Centre for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memorandum by Ambassador John  Campbell describes the events and trends that indicate Nigerian politics are following  this dangerous trajectory and recommends U.S. policy options for preventing and  containing fragmentation of Nigerian society,” an overview of the memo says.

It concludes that the U.S should capitalise on the value elite Nigerians place on their  country’s bilateral relationship with the U.S. to hedge against the worst outcomes the  2011 election might produce.

Campbell, in the memo, outlined a variety of diplomatic tools the U.S can use to  forestall or mitigate the potential for violence.

“The Obama administration should proactively use its power to revoke the visas of those  involved in fomenting ethnic and religious strife.

“The Obama administration should consider how and

in what forum it would hold perpetrators of human rights abuses personally responsible  for their actions.

“If it has not already done so, the U.S. should start contingency planning for the  potential evacuation of American citizens from Nigeria in the event of widespread post  election violence,” he said.

The ambassador also asked the U.S Government to initiate regular consultations on Nigeria  with the European Union, Canada, Australia, Japan, and China.

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He added that there should be parallel consultations with the African Union and with the  ECOWAS states.

Furthermore, he said through diplomatic channels including the Bi-national Commission and  public statements, the U.S should reiterate that the conduct of Nigeria’s 2011 elections  affected the bilateral relationship.

“In the run-up to 2011, the administration should not accept uncritically Jonathan  administration claims and assurances that elections will be free, fair and credible.

The U.S should also advocate for INEC’s independence from the presidency, publicly hold  Abuja responsible for controlling ethnic violence, and continue to support through small  grants those Nigerian nongovernmental organizations working for peace and reconciliation.

Adefuye noted that within a period of two weeks Campbell had predicted the worst case  scenario for post 2011 election Nigeria based on “half truths, contradictory statements  serious bias, ignorance and mischievous intentions.

“When my attention was first drawn to John Campbell’s second write-up within a week of  his earlier write up, titled Nigeria on the brink, to which I replied, I was initially  tempted to agree with the suggestion to ignore the attention seeking and disingenuous  prophet of doom.

“The strength of that suggestion lies in the fact that John Campbell’s view do not  represent that of the current American administration

“He is now retired. Moreover John Campbell I am told belongs to a small minority of  observers of the Nigerian situation who are jocularly referred to as the pessimists.

“But I later thought of the need to point out some contradictions in his thesis and hope  that he will let Nigeria be,” Adefuye said.

He said a greater part of the article by Campbell sounded more like a journey into fantasyland as to how after the election there would be communal violence ,  breakdown of law and order, and a possible coup .

“Nigerians are not unaware of their leadership role in Africa and our responsibility in  creating a politically stable Nigeria, which will promote and encourage the sustenance of  democracy good governance rule of law, and human rights in Africa.

“This is why we are resolved to get it right this time regardless of John Campbell and  his ilk,” he said.

Adefuye said what worried him most was that he could “not expect a man who had served as  ambassador to a country to wish that country so ill.

“Most ambassadors look with favour and wish the best for countries where they have been  privileged to serve.

“This is why some of John Campbell’s colleagues who have served in Nigeria have been  shocked and astounded by his damaging articles the timing of which has been so  insensitive and mischievous .

“It is the responsibility of the U.S. Government to choose whoever they like as the  ambassador to Nigeria but our prayer is that May the like of John Campbell never come our  way again,” Adefuye said.