"The moment we [Africans] lost our languages was also the moment we lost our bodies, our gold, diamonds, copper, coffee, tea." - Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Buhari and the British Diplomacy

British Diplomacy in action:-    
Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves, 
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.

Rule Britannia is a chorus of a patriotic British song, which is still sung today, especially when England is involved in major sports events like football.

For instance, when England is playing very well in a football match, there will always be a spontaneous outburst of: Rule Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves…

However, the song was originally composed as a poem, which was influenced by several events. But, it was ‘The Tragedy of Sophonisba’ (1730); the works of Scottish Thomson, which perhaps influenced the chorus ('Britons never, never, never shall be slaves').

As reported in that book, Sophonisba committed suicide instead of becoming a slave under the Romans.

Ironically, after Britain resisted enslavement by the Romans, they in turn enslaved other nations around the world. And with their patriotic song, the British Empire ruled the waves (World).

Nevertheless, Britain didn’t rule the World with sticks and stones (force), even though they had them, but it was something else more powerful than guns that they conquered the world with. And that was and still is - DIPLOMACY.

In fact, it is this diplomacy that makes it difficult to read the mind of a well cultured British person. With his/her stiff upper lip and a brisk half smile, your guess is as good as mine regarding his/her thoughts at that particular time.

Obviously, there are two types of diplomacy:

There’s the one that deals with managing international relationships. And the other is the British diplomacy, which Winston Churchill defined as “the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.”

Apprehensive Buhari at No.10:-
And so, a few days ago, the Nigerian President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari, got a full dose of what British diplomacy seems like. He visited the British Prime Minister, David Cameron at No. 10 Downing Street.

But after the meeting, Buhari was pictured in front of Downing Street standing alone with his hands clasped behind his back. His host (Cameron) practically left him in the cold while Buhari was waiting for his car, according to the explanation from APC, his political party.

Clearly, by this embarrassment, Buhari needs some lessons on body language, which can subconsciously give away his thoughts as a Nigerian President. For example, by standing with his hands clasped behind his back, Buhari showed his anger and apprehension to the World.

A gesture like that can permanently undermine the influence of the President of ‘giant of Africa’ (Nigeria) before other World leaders.

All the same, let’s try and examine the likely reasons why Cameron, through his own body language may have ‘diplomatically’ given some messages to Buhari in particular and Nigerians in general.

The obvious reason happened during the Nigerian presidential election campaigns. Buhari and his political party, APC openly hobnobbed with some senior members of British Labour Party, such as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

At that time, the opinion polls showed that Labour Party would win the British general election. Well, in the end, the Conservatives won the election. And perhaps, due to their apparent alliance with the Labour party, Cameron has indirectly told Buhari that he’s not needed at Downing Street.

A second reason could be associated with Buhari’s sudden visit to London. It doesn’t make sense that barely a week before his inauguration as the president of Nigeria; Buhari is in London visiting the British Prime Minister. Except that he has come to see Cameron to receive instructions on how to administer Nigeria.

And to compound the matter, his press secretary in Nigeria, Shehu Garba stated that Buhari went to London to rest. Buhari hasn’t even started his job as President and he’s already resting. And therefore, what would happen when Buhari fully becomes the President? Perhaps by then, he’ll be travelling to London every 2 months to rest – very suspicious.

It could also be that with the assistance of MI5 and MI6, Cameron knows why Buhari is London; as such he didn’t want to be used as a smokescreen to the real reason why Buhari is London.

And it is the same pattern by which APC hurriedly organised a paid session at Chatham House in London for Buhari to make a speech; a concealment of the real reason why Buhari left Nigeria a few weeks to the presidential election, before it was postponed.

Although the British Diplomacy has spoken with actions than words, Nigerians still need body language interpreters to reveal the reasons for Buhari’s ‘restful’ visits to London. 

And when that happens, the poor masses of Nigeria will joyfully sing: Nigerians never, never, never shall be slaves [again].