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Monday 13 November 2023

Russia's Inroad To West Africa: What This Entails For Indigenous Africans In The Region

 Russia's Inroad To West Africa: What This Entails For Indigenous Africans In The Region

Few weeks ago, we discussed extensively how West Africa has been and still is the most fortified stronghold of the Imperial West, in Africa. Deep, insightful analysis and inferences was objectively given. However, it would be a shame if we also fail to bring to the consciousness of the African people precisely the Sahelians, about the happenings in the neighborhood, and the roles other state actors could play in the affairs of the region. This would help the people to have a balanced view and make a healthy calculation of whose side should be best to tilt towards – East, West or neutral. Hence, the objective of this piece is to lay bare the facts as we possibly can, and let the people be the judge.

Not long ago, The Russian foreign ministry officially announced or indicated its interest to join in the maritime patrol activities in the Gulf of Guinea, as her western counterparts has been doing for decades. Some months earlier, a member of the IPOB Directorate Of State, Mazi Chinasa Nworu while decrying the exploitative activities of the collective West in the region under the pretext of combating piracy and other maritime crimes, suggested that Russia might as well join the West in the fight against "maritime crimes" in the Gulf Region, so they all could have a field day together. Afterall, they are all experts and could achieve greater results working together.

But it appeared that the comment did not go down well with the powers that be. There was a swift and decisive response from Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Meta social platform – where the opinion was made. The post was immediately pulled down, and he lost access to his account for about a month. This goes to demonstrate how jealous the West is in protecting her Imperial stronghold from interference of other state actors especially its sworn enemies. 

In fact, some experts and geopolitical analysts holds the opinion that the Russia-Ukraine war was incited in 2022, so as to compel Russia to roll back her military assets [Wagner] advancing from middle east states like Syria to North African countries like Libya Algeria, and further down south towards the Sahel such as Central African Republic, Mali, Burkina Faso and recently Niger Republic. All of l aforementioned [In Africa] fell on the scope of influence of Paris and Washington. 

However, just as the incitement of the war and subsequent vehement rejection by the West –of the April, 2022 ceasefire agreement between the Russians & Ukrainians – could not stop Russia from simultaneously pursuing her foreign policy objectives, while prosecuting a heavily-funded proxy war back home right at her borders. So did the banning of the Pro-Biafra movement Senior official by Facebook did not deter Russia from indicating interest in Gulf Region later on.

Not only is Russia engaging up north Sahelian states as mentioned earlier, she is also strengthening relationship with some Gulf Countries such as Equatorial Guinea. Few days ago, the President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema, was in Moscow for a bilateral talk with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. A variety of issues were said to have been discussed ranging from security, economic cooperation and the global food crisis, owing to the war in Ukraine and the western sanctions on Russian products. 

But, most significantly the two president reportedly discussed the possibility of Equatorial Guinea to host the Russia-Africa summit in the near future. This is not only strategic but also symbolic.

Since the era of colonialism, the African continent has always been treated as a jungle and farm where raw materials are harvested and waste materials are dumped with impunity. Africans have continually been treated as beggars on a global stage, whose immediate survival depends on grants and aids from gracious overlords. African presidents and leaders are occasionally drawn from their various Countries and region to attend one summit or another, with one country or another of the developed world. However, the initiative to host the Russia-Africa summit on Africa soil, can only suggest that the Russians are sincere in their intentions and approach of cooperation with the African continent.

It is important to emphasize, that the global food crisis which has taken toll on the African continent and its people is not as a result of the laziness or nonchalant attitude of Africans to be able to cultivate, feed themselves through their naturally endowed arable lands Rather due to terrorism, ethnic and tribal conflicts [E.g The Fulani terror herdsmen Menace in the Sahel Region] inspired by geopolitical and racist contentions mostly by foreign state and non-state actors, which has forced African agrarians to flee their agricultural obligations, in order to save their lives, by living in refugee camps.

Thus, invariably compelling them to depend on handouts graciously given by whosoever that deems fit. Just like the impune oil exploration of Western companies have destroyed the aquatic lives in various African countries and regions like coastal Nigeria, denying the Indigenes access to clean water or farming activities and forcing them to depend on the outside for terrestrial and aquatic agricultural products for survival.

While Russia has stepped in to help Africa solve the food crisis in the interim, by sending tons of grains to African countries – after the United Nations food initiative ordinarily called the Grain Deal, which was intended for the same purpose, failed. She is also sending fertilizers to African farmers for free to boost local food production.  And also sharing nuclear technology with various African countries like Egypt, Burkina Faso, Mali to strengthen energy sufficiency in these countries. 

As President Nguema plausibly said during an interview with the Russia Today (RT) Media platform, after meetings with President Putin. 

The African continent and peoples are not involved in the business of forming belligerent alliance intended against anyone in particular, rather are seeking for objective partnership with countries that values and respect the African dignity and perspective, not relationships driven by colonial and imperial mindsets. The room for win-win cooperation for all parties is wide open, as long as mutual respect is applied accordingly.

The African People are entitled to the right to self-determinate over their lives, culture, sociopolitical autonomy and sovereignty as well as their natural resources. And they are willing to share and cooperate with anyone as far as their worldview and opinion are respected. This is the position of Africans and this is why they are vying for better and alternative partnership outside the western scope of influence. And this trend most likely continue if the West does not review its policies towards the African continent and its people.

Written By Enenienwite Ikechukwu

For Family Writers Press International

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