Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world, the undisputed leader of Africa and one of the emerging ‘BRINC’ nations.
Nigeria established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1960 the same year of its independence from Great Britain (from whom Israel also declared independence in 1948) and since then through ups and downs in the relationship, Nigeria and Israel have maintained strong diplomatic relations, government to government, people to people and business to business.
After the kidnapping of the Chibok girls by the Boko-Haram Terrorist group, Israel was one of the few countries that sent aid in the form of experts to assist the Nigerian military in recovering the kidnapped girls.
With a population of 180 million almost evenly split between Muslims and Christians, that is almost 90 million muslim citizens, one would expect Nigeria to be part of the Anti-Israel Lynch mob in the UN, but to the chagrin of many IOC nations, Nigeria has abstained from many unfair anti-israel resolutions and continues to extend and increase her relationship with Israel. In 2006 the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which formalised the bilateral consultations on political issues between the two countries.
The rabid and open hatred for the state of Israel in the world right now is frightening and if it continues might lead to Israel becoming a complete Pariah state within the next 2 decades. Traditional allies like the EU are beginning to turn on the Jewish state using the Palestinian issue as an excuse as if it is not common knowledge that the wave of support of Israel from Europe over the last 60 years has been a result of post Holocaust guilt which is sadly beginning to fade.
An African Proverb says that “only a tree hears it is going to get cut down and does nothing”. Israel needs to look for friends elsewhere and in Africa Nigeria is the logical choice for the beginning of any close relationship. Nigerians as a rule are not tainted by Anti-Semitism, infact the Christian population could even be accused of Philo-Semitism a result of Christian teachings accepted as fact that Jesus Christ was a practising Jew as were his 12 disciples including Paul. This is not to say that Nigerians care nothing for the Palestinians but haven been victims of Islamist Terrorism for almost a decade, Nigerians have no sympathy for a society that glorifies murderers of children and innocent civilians, the whole situation is so alien as to be appalling.
Within Nigeria there are endless and boundless opportunities for business, enterprise and collaboration for research and academic advancement between the 2 nations known for having very industrious populations.
The current make up of the UN security council is not tenable and will be reviewed and most likely changed in the not so distant future and when the time comes Nigeria is being positioned to hold Africa or west Africa’s seat depending on the new structure. Israel would do well to behave like China, play the long game and cultivate relationships with countries like Nigeria which are emerging forces to be reckoned with.
With the world order changing nobody can predict what the world will look like in a decade, Uncertain times call for Certain friends which Europe definitely is not.
Its a crazy world where the only sane country in the Middle East is also the most vilified, thankfully not all of us have lost our senses.