The ” non-alliance” movement ended decades ago, a nation like Nigeria should have a strategic defence pacts or ties with a major power. Nigeria is perhaps the only major power without a strategic defence pact with a major power. Egypt, Algeria, Chad, Cameroon all have defence pacts with a global power.
The Central African Republic is the latest African country to cement ties on a strategic level with a global power, this time Russia. There is a new scramble for Africa in almost every spectrum, be it infrastructure, trade, defence etc. The political and economic turmoil in the CAR has given Russia the opportunity to extend its influence in Central Africa. In October 2017 Russian Foreign Minister Serguei Lavrov met with the CAR leader Faustin Archange Touadera met in Sochi, Russia, where the two officials announced a strategic partnership in the politics, trade and economic areas including mineral and resource exploitation, energy and the delivery of Russian defense and industrial related equipment.
In January Russia delivered 5200 assault rifles, 900 pistols and 270 rocket-launchers to the Central African Republic.
This new military cooperation with the CAR is part of a broad Russian strategy to rebuild ties with Africa. Of course Russia is not really an economic power, so trade with Russia will generally involve some degree of weapons trade. Africa is Russia’s second largest market for weapons sales with 16% of Russian armament exportations (after Asia and Oceania with 68%).
The diplomatic overtures and delivery of weapons is the first step of an enhanced Russian military presence in the country, which is traditionally a French armed forces’ area of influence. This will not go down well with Paris. Regardless this is a positive step for Africa. The sooner English-speaking Africa come together to gets rid of France in Africa the greater the prospect for lasting peace. The South Africans have experienced first hand French ingenuity in sabotage.
France is very protective of its ex-colonies, so it was no surprise the deployment if South African troops in the CAR was met with displeasure. To rid the South Africans ” off its property” satellite imagery of SANDF troop movement was released to rebel factions. South African troops walked unto carefully planned ambush. Boxed in in Bangui the South Africans pleaded for help from France in the battle of Bangui. They refused to intervene. South African troops did manage to fight their way out, but not after losing 13 of its soldiers.
The United States, France, China and Russia are all looking to establish a foothold on the continent. This makes it a picture perfect opportunity to explore its options and make the most of it. A Russian military base could help Nigeria protect its sovereignty.
Nigeria will not be able to secure its political and economic development without relying upon a geopolitical power. Encircled by hostile powers Nigeria will find itself in a state of perpetual conflict – which by the way has been the case for the last 15 years, unless it has a credible military deterrent. For now it doesn’t.
Nigeria’s massive investment in regional integration bloc – ECOWAS has not resulted in meaningful economic prosperity and security. On the contrary the military balance of power is drifting to the Francophones, and by the 2020 there is a strong possibility that Morocco and Tunisia, countries with strong ties with France, will be ECOWAS member states. Nigeria’s pre-eminence as the undisputed superpower in the sub-region cannot last forever taking into account the Francophone invasion of West Africa.
Encircled by autocratic regimes in the north, west and east, the only solution for Nigeria is to strengthen economic and ties with China and military ties with Russia. Military ties with Russia and China will make them a guarantor of Nigeria’s security and pave the way for Russian and Chinese weapons. A strategic military pact or partnership will commit Russia to supplying its ally with modern military hardware for self-defense- think Syria. The Chinese can also assist Nigeria in its quest to develop and expand the domestic defense industry.
Nigeria crawled on its knees for five years just to have the United States sell 12 Embrae Super-Tucano, an aircraft that looks more like a crop-duster than a warplane. Meanwhile the Chinese had no qualms selling five Rainbow CH-3 attack drones to help Nigeria’s fight against terrorism. There has also been a technology transfer in shipbuilding between China and Nigeria with the completion of the Chinese Stealth Offshore Patrol Vessel -NNS Centenary, in a Nigerian Navy dockyard in Port Harcourt.
With the United States this will NEVER happen.
Strategic partnerships like this based on mutual respect will allow Nigeria acquire, and even manufacture long-range precision guided weapons that would allow Nigeria to thwart free enemy movements from stand-off distances deep inside the theater of hostilities. The decade long war with Boko Haram should have convinced us by now that Russia and China are the only plausible source for high-end weapons as well as technology for their production.
Military alliance with Russia and China should be a crucial element of Nigeria’s security strategy. It is taking in greater significance now that the Franco-Alliance is increasingly threatening Nigeria with indirect/proxy warfare by keeping Nigeria mired in perpetual conflict, thereby slowing down Nigeria’s destiny as the potential champion of the black race. Just this week Boko Haram, a group teetering on absolute collapse seems to be making a rebound with freshly supplied weaponry. To announce to the world that Boko Haram is BACK there has been another high-profile kidnapping of 100 Nigerian school girls. The pattern is the same, the Western media will finnish the job by the portrayal of Nigeria as an unsafe highly chaotic place to be, scaring off Foreign Investors.
It’s ironic that the worlds oldest constitutional democracy France, has supported some of the worst dictatorial and genocidal regimes in history, most particularly in Africa, which serves its strategic and economic interests. Its a no brainer why ex French colonies are backward compared to Anglophone countries. They are squeezing the life out of their colonies.
Buy why would the worlds oldest constitutional democracy support autocratic rogue regimes? We have to look a the psyche of the French people for answers.
The French people have an overblown ego, and have not been able to assume what they see as their rightful place as the dominant country in Europe. You see the ego displayed in their overwatch ans involvement in Africa. They see themselves as the new white man, and think is their destiny to save the primitive black people from themselves.
That overblown ego has seen it make enemies with powerful allies such as the United States numerous times. They kicked the U.S out of France after the Second world war like an angry petulant child grabbing his ball and going home. They even withdrew from NATO at a point in time.
One wonders how things would have gone for them in their attempts to keep their far flunged colonial empire if the U.S had not supplied them with hundreds of aircrafts from their World War Two and post World War Two inventory. That they persisted in keeping their colonial empire alive fir so much longer than Britannia, again speaks to ego.
France has not won a war since Napoleon. Humiliated in both World Wars, and Vietnam. Many people are not aware that the Vietnam war was initially a French conflict. The French high tailed out of Vietnam, with America as has been the case side the first world war, coming in to clean up the mess, and boy are they pissed, yet Jealous of American power. France is mostly coasting off its past glories, occasionally invading African countries.
Former French President Jacques Chirac once said :
Without Africa, France will slide down into the rank of a third world power.
Boy was he right !!
To put things into perspective. France is virtually energy independent, with close to %90 of electricity coming from nuclear energy. France is so energy sufficient its become the worlds largest exporter of electricity on Earth. The nuclear raw material that has enabled France to attain this feat comes from its former colony Niger Republic, one of the worlds least developed country, an independent country that is still de-facto political subordinate.
Back to topic.
Sophisticated weapons supplies from Russia and China would put Nigeria in a better position to offset and defeat in totality Boko Haram insurgents fuelled by millions of dollars by Nigeria’s autocratic neighbours. If push comes to shove and the saboteuring of Nigeria’s territorial integrity by its neighbours continues unabated, Nigeria could push for regime change in the U.N or intervene militarily in self-defense to depose those regimes.
Carrying out military operations against countries with formal defense treaties comes with its attendant risk, but when the very survival of a country becomes at stake, risk be damned. The alternative will be to fold our arms and watch them destroy this country. This is why Nigeria needs a defence pact with the aforementioned countries. It balances the playing field.
Granted France has a formidable military. From its nuclear aircraft carrier 500 miles from Nigeria’s EEZ French Rafael fighters can reach their targets in Nigeria in 30 minutes. From bases in Chad, Mirage F1 fighters can reach Abuja in as little as six minutes on afterburners. They can show up anywhere in West Africa within 30 minutes.
However Nigeria is the only country in Africa with enough resources, manpower and military power to counter it if Nigeria plays its card well, and don’t they know it !!
The supply of defense weapons such as the S-300 SAM system enables Nigeria to secure her vital oil infrastructure in the event of an all out war. Nigeria’s vast oil infrastructure, which forms the backbone of the Nigerian economy will be obvious targets of French and American missiles. A diesel power submarine will provide enough deterrence against hostile warships along Nigeria’s EEZ, providing effective protection from the Atlantic.
A military base in Nigeria would be a force multiplier. This base will not be an occupational base but would be part of Russian air defense system. Nigeria has the financial wherewithal to fund the extensive infrastructure that will be needed. These air defense systems will help Nigeria secure critical infrastructure and assets and withstand attempts by Franco-American power to launch airstrikes against targets in Nigeria.
It may not be easy building such a base in Nigeria, taking into account that the country is surrounded by French and American military installations. However there are ways to overcome it. The million dollar question is whether there is a will by the Nigerian government to foster close cooperation with Moscow on a strategic level.