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You are here:Home>>Strategic Research & Analysis>>Nigeria: Which one is a better colonial mother - Britain or France?
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 16:36

Nigeria: Which one is a better colonial mother - Britain or France?

Written by Dr Tajudeen Alalade
France and Britain leaders France and Britain leaders reuters

Revisiting the relationship between Britain, Nigeria

SOMETIMES I prefer Nigeria was colonised by France rather than Britain. Going by Nigeria’s history, it seems the British specifically clogged the country together for it to fail. Or how can we explain the marriage of different peoples, different cultures to make a nation?


The French, on the other hand, could be described as true mothers. The French want the best for her colonies. Even, after the hand-over of power, the French, unlike the British, never left their colonies by themselves. Although this has been criticised by some political analysts in some quarters, it is, however, a good thing that these countries still have a big brother in France.


During the Bakassi issue, before Nigeria finally handed over the territory to the Cameroonians, the French were anticipating a war between Nigeria and Cameroon, and in the event of a war, France would come to the rescue of its former colony.


When the Islamists were moving towards the Malian capital a couple of years ago, France had to send in soldiers to stop the Islamists. Today, Mali is quite stable. Even in the Central African Republic (CAR), another French colony, French soldiers are there to bring about peace in a country divided along religious lines.


The opposite is what we are experiencing in our relationship with the British. Although some people would say we are independent now, and should be able to make decisions by ourselves, there are, however, certain support we should be getting from Britain, as a former colony.


While we are not saying that we can’t make decisions on our own, I think we need help in the ongoing war against the Boko Haram insurgents. France would never sit by and watch if we were its former colony.


Today, Britain is less concerned about Nigeria, and doesn’t act as if there is any tie between us. What stops Britain from assisting Nigeria in tackling the ongoing insurgency in the North?


Enough evidences have shown that had we been colonised by France, we would not be in the situation we are today as regards the Boko Haram insurgency. Today, Britain is more concerned about Iraq than about Nigeria.


It is not too late for Britain to get its foreign policy right as regards its relationship with Nigeria, and some of its former colonies.


We are not calling on British soldiers to come and fight our war for us, but honest military partnership can help swing the tide in favour of the Nigerian soldiers. Nothing stops the British from assisting Nigeria with military technologies that will help us defeat Boko Haram.


The last time I heard, the military fighter jet mistakenly killed some Nigerian soldiers in a friendly fire during the fight with militants in Bama, Borno State. This would not have happened if the British military, which is one of the best in the world, had given our soldiers adequate training on how to tackle the insurgents.


Even, in my own opinion, a fighter jet is not the best military weapon to prosecute this ongoing war in Borno. Helicopter gunships, which would give the pilots enough view of the enemy combatants, is better in this kind of war.


The essence of my write-up is, therefore, to call on the British to do more to support Nigeria. The disintegration of the country would never be a plus for Britain.


Dr Tajudeen Alalade wrote from  Ilorin, Kwara State.





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