The United States’ Resurrection of Pablo Escobar in Nigeria.


On Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential Elections

I didn’t realize that the US Secretary of State had issued a congratulatory message to INEC’s forceful selection of Bola Tinubu until Chimamanda’s article

The U.K Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak did not wait for the news to settle well before sending out a message to the President-select. On that, I was not shocked. The U.K has been notorious with working with whomever as long as their economic interests and dwindling political influence are on the line.

But certainly not the US!

As a student of History, I remember how we laughed at the U.S’ dramatic capture of Manuel Noriega, the dictator of Panama who was later indicted for drug trafficking and racketeering charges in 1988. The United States had declared a war on drugs and at this point, was lobbying for the extradition of drug traffickers to the U.S. Oh! it was intense.

Asides this, the U.S was in an idealogical battlefield against Communism, Marxism and Fascism. Ronald Reagan, spoke fondly about his campaign against these movements as with other succeeding Presidents.

Then this dark period came. The deadliest outlaw himself, Pablo Escobar who was a nightmare to the United States. A man who made $12m daily from producing and exporting cocaine, heroine and the likes to the US. The man who bred a loyal cartel of coca farmers, smugglers, killers, abductors, communist-activists for hire and money launders. The man who invented corruption in Columbia and influenced same in the other countries of Latin America till date. Over half of the Police Force did his bidding. The media worked for him. He had so much money and influence that gave him the confidence to dare the whole State of Columbia. This man was hot on the list to be captured, dead or alive by the US.

On October 4, 1993, a U.S. court passed a judgement on Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his involvement in narcotics trafficking and financial transactions in violation of the U.S laws and ordered a forfeiture of $460,000. This was a man who took advantage of the network of corruption and illegal drug trafficking influenced by the same Pablo Escobar. Two months after, the hot chase to capture the Colombian drug lord came to an end as Escobar’s hideout was discovered. Nevertheless, his influence had spread like wild fire, with the war on drugs admittedly lost by the authorities.

It feels as if the U.S is resurrecting this same man they spent fortunes to neutralize. And this time, to be Nigeria’s President. Tinubu has exhibited all the qualities of a fascist- styling himself a leader of a race, one deserving of an unalloyed and unquestionable loyalty, with a chain of followers waiting to be handed out political or economic favours, with wealth from State treasury and narcotics. In a bid to accomplish personal ambitions with State resources, he has institutionalized corruption. Everything that comes in remote contact with his name bends to corruption. That is Nigeria’s President-select.

In his play book, he doles out favours and conditional generosity, to be cashed in whenever he wanted. The leader of a gang of violent, uneducated and dangerous young Nigerians can rise to political prominence as a reward for his loyal hand. It reads like fiction, only that this individual has flesh and bones. And this person led the same group to inflict harm and kill anyone who stood in the way of the ascension of their demi-god as Nigeria’s President while State apparatus watched. It all reads like the story of Pablo Escobar because it in fact is. This is the individual the United States of America gives a nod of approval to lead the most populous Black nation on earth?

The United States has not been silent on matters of even more sensitive concerns. Like recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Like standing with Ukraine against their historical sworn enemy in Russia, like the media trial of China’s operations in Africa and more. I’d expect that for a history as recent as 1993, the United States should not easily forget the consequences of raising individuals of questionable character to such offices like the Presidency.

I wonder if the reaction would be the same if Nigeria shared borders with the US. I wonder if the West prefers a predictable outcome of another decade of corruption rather than the awakening of Nigeria’s youth bulge offsetting a rather sensitive balance.

Dear, U.S, do not resurrect Pablo Escobar…in Nigeria.