- Says Union ‘A Footstool Of Britain’
By Abiola Olawale (The New Diplomat’s Southwest Bureau)
Nigeria’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi has called for the exit of Nigeria from the Commonwealth of Nations, a political association of 54 member states, stating that the association is of no benefit to Nigeria again.
Akinyemi who was speaking at an interview on ‘thruMY eyes’, an online programme that runs commentary on various international events, monitored by The New Diplomat, said Britain is the only member state benefitting from the policies of the union, describing the Commonwealth has a footstool of Britain.
Recall that the Commonwealth is a union mostly made up of countries which are former colonies of the British Empire.
Akinyemi argued that Nigerians and several other third world member countries are being deprived of the benefits of the association, adding that Commonwealth only portrays Britian as a world power.
Akinyemi, who was also a former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), called on to the authorities of the Commonwealth to make policies that will benefit all its member states.
According to him, the call for global civilisation is a right step in the right direction, which will position the Commonwealth to push global values that will address racism, nepotism among others issues affecting the third world countries.
The elder-statesman also urged the British Government on the need to be unbiased regarding the political appointments of the union, adding that appointments shouldn’t be made based on skin color.
In his words, “Obviously, there is no association without benefits, however it is the percentage of the benefits that matters. You draw attention to the training skills which Commonwealth offers our (Nigerian) scholars. However, it is more than this. The issue we need to address is the role of Britain in not addressing the issues concerning Nigeria and Africa at large. I am speaking from a political point of view. All my political experiences, I see the Commonwealth as a window dresser that is used to protray Britain as the World Power. When it comes to political issues, Commonwealth would rather listen to the United States than the other members countries.
“In my experience as a scholar and former Minister, I have never seen Commonwealth committed to making policies that benefits all its members countries other than Britain. I am actually open to a view that can persuade me that there are substantive benefits the members countries like Nigeria, among other black countries are enjoying under the Commonwealth. We all have to need to come together to form a cultural civilisation, which will position the Commonwealth to push the global values in the interest of all member states. However, we have to go beyond words, I would like to see actions taken. I want to see policies that will benefit all member states, so that the world will stop seeing the Commonwealth as a footstool of Britain.”