A Must-Read: Like Alaska…..Like Bakassi By Yemi Saka

alaska-maps Two-Direction-Arrow Bakassi Peninsula

It’s no longer news that the Nigerian government has declared it won’t be appealing the Bakaasi verdict, I therefore need all legal and rational minds to join me in evaluating the issue at hand.

If the Federal Government had made such declaration, methink in the spirit of true federalism, Gov. Lyel Imoke of Cross Rivers State can either file a new suit or appeal the verdict, or seek an injunction to be joined as a party in the suit at the International Court of Justice.

Another option is for the indigenes and residents of the Bakassi Peninsula to seek for autonomy and recognition from/of the United Nations and international community.

They have a good case (my humble opinion). It appears the Nigerian government did not consider them important whilst they deem it pertinent to preserve their heritage; they have consistently refused and rejected being part of Cameroun! I believe being an independent colony won’t be a bad idea.

Also, if the United States through the Alaska Purchase got the acquisition of the Alaska territory from the Russian Empire in the year 1867 by a treaty ratified by the Senate, I don’t see why the Nigerian Government did not offer to purchase the disputed region from Cameroun.

A peep into why and how United state acquired Alaska revealed that Russia, fearing a war with Britain that would allow the British to seize Alaska, wanted to sell. Its major role had been forcing Native Alaskans to hunt for furs for them, along with missionary work to convert them. The purchase, made at the initiative of United States Secretary of State William H. Seward, gained 586,412 square miles (1,518,800 km2) of new territory.

Originally organized as the Department of Alaska, the area was successively the District of Alaska and the Alaska Territory before becoming the modern state of Alaska upon being admitted to the Union as a state in 1959.

Russia was in a difficult financial position and feared losing Russian America without compensation in some future conflict, especially to the British, whom they had fought in the Crimean War (1853–1856). While Alaska attracted little interest at the time, the population of nearby British Columbia started to increase rapidly a few years after hostilities ended, with a large gold rush there prompting the creation of a British crown colony on the mainland.

The Russians decided that in any future war with Britain, their hard-to-defend region might become a prime target, and would be easily captured. Therefore the Tsar Alexander II decided to sell the territory. Perhaps in hopes of starting a bidding war, both the British and the Americans were approached. However, the British expressed little interest in buying Alaska. The Russians in 1859 offered to sell the territory to the United States, hoping that its presence in the region would offset the plans of Russia’s greatest regional rival, Great Britain. However, no deal was brokered due to the American Civil War.

Russia continued to see an opportunity to weaken British power by causing British Columbia, including the Royal Navy base at Esquimalt, to be surrounded or annexed by American territory.

Following the Union victory in the Civil War, the Tsar instructed the Russian minister to the United States, Eduard de Stoeckl, to re-enter into negotiations with Seward in the beginning of March 1867.  The negotiations was concluded after an all-night session with the signing of the treaty at 4 a.m. on March 30, 1867, with the purchase price set at $7.2 million, or about 2 cents per acre ($4.74/km2).
It was ‘a frozen wilderness.

While criticized by some at the time, the financial value of the Alaska Purchase turned out to be many times greater than what the United States had paid for it. The land turned out to be rich in resources (including gold, copper, and oil).

The similarities here are many…

Cameroun can not be said to have a growing economy and as good as a nation having financial crisis….The Bakaasi Peninsula is believed to be rich in oil deposit….

If President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan had offered to purchase or purchased this disputed region, the act/action would have shut me up forever. He would have redefined our nation’s foreign policy in which premium importance is placed on the lives of every Nigerian. And with/in the same breathe, show he will stop at nothing to defend Nigeria’s territory and sovereignty.

They might claim “lack of funds” but paying Cameroun $25billion to have Nigerians remain Nigerians to me is not a waste. At least, Nigeria spent N2.2b on London (Summer) Olympics 2012, budgeted N2.8b to maintain and renovate Presidential buildings, FG spent N10b on Independence day celebration, N1.75tr on subsidy as at April 2012 and the President, VP and SGF are to spend N1.59b on welfare this year alone just to mention a few.

And most certainly not forgetting the jumbo pay of all members of the National Assembly…..

– Yemi Saka (Twitter: @patriotic_yemisak) writes from Lagos, Nigeria

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2 thoughts on “A Must-Read: Like Alaska…..Like Bakassi By Yemi Saka

  1. Hello everyone.
    In my opinion,the government that ceded that land to cameroun was military regime;Nigeria don’t own cameroun a dime,that land belong to us and should stop talking all this talk and simply take what is ours.
    Enough of this sufffering of the bakassi people.imagine all the pains the camerounians had inflicted on our people.they should be met with whatever they deserve.its that simple.


  2. I think you’re making a good case of this issue, a good government would go miles to ensure the security of life & properties of its citizenry (in this case ‘BAKAASI PENINSULA’). A positive pointer to it working out is that, the people are willing to go with Nigeria (preferring our so called bad government to Cameroun’s). Nevertheless, the problem I have is the price, I think $25billion is too much. I appeal to the people of Bakaasi to step up if the Nigeria government is foot-dragging. GOD BLESS NIGERIA.


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