Boko Haram, 'Western Education Is Forbidden', is waging a bloody campaign of bombs in Nigeria. Thus far and still counting the islamic extremist sect whose main goal reportedly is to 'islamise' the federation has succeeded in killing thousands and destroying properties worth millions of dollars. Founded some years ago by the late Mohammed Yusuf (who was killed extra-judicially by the Nigerian security forces) the faceless group has somewhat metamorphosed into a formidable terrorist organization applying raw terror and suicide missions to achieve its objective(s).
The protracted insurgency in the North bears the hallmark of an organized rebellion against the establishment; Boko Haram had declared war on Nigeria and Nigerians and the escalating acts of terror not only threaten Nigeria’s unity but they also challenge the very human values we all believe in as a peace-loving heteregenous society. The burgeoning terror threats call our patriotism into action igniting a sense of a motherland systematically being dismembered and divided.
Nigeria of the 21st century has many challenges as a nation under God. The security challenge is about the greatest followed by infrastructural challenge and leadership challenge. But in the life of any nation these challenges are surmountable with sound leadership and prudent management of resources. That is why corruption remains the single most destructive cancer militating against any move towards real 'transformation'. And one dare say that unless this cankerworm is uprooted from the system then nothing can ever work!
Boko Haram has solid sponsors both locally and internationally. And they are seemingly determined to have their way. But can a responsible government allow cowards to torment the majority just because the government is clueless over security matters? Should a nation and her unfortunate people at the receiving end of this climate of fear and terror ever trust a leadership that fails to address issues of corruption, decaying infrastructure and galloping inflation? What must be done to tame Boko Haram and render their network powerless? How do we go about defeating a faceless group with no fixed address?
The extremist sect never began like this; they have over time radicalised their operations demanding for more and scoring cheap victories. Now, they no longer go for hard targets like the military or police personnel or their barracks and stations but they visit churches, schools and even universities, all in a vain attempt to cause panic and bring about a religious war in Nigeria.
In a nation swimming in fiscal scandals of the worst kind involving phony petroleum importation syndicates who defrauded the state to the staggering tune of $6.8 billion in fuel subsidy fraud, Boko Haram could be understood if they were championing the cause for the masses bearing the brunt of executive mindless corruption and bare-faced embezzlement. Coming just months after the police pension fraud Nigeria is now synonymous with fraud in high places; President Goodluck Jonathan himself is 'smelling' fraud in his Ijaw outfit -- having not mustered the courage expected of a great leader to deal with corruption threatening our very existence as a nation.
The major problem confronting Nigeria as a 'mere geographical expression' is lack of patriotism and belief in the project Nigeriana by Nigerians themselves. Almost everyone wants to steal more than his friend or predecessor, no one thinks and dreams about a 'new' Nigeria where poverty will be eliminated for good! No one ever hopes for a better tomorrow rather everyone considers the present and what could be extracted from the resources that are available today before tomorrow turns out to be too late! Nigeria is bound to implode and explode if this kind of attitude subsists and prevails in a climate of suspicion and want.
But the troubling questions are these: Are the northern political elites using Boko Haram to fight the legitimate presidency of Goodluck Jonathan? If Gen. Buhari had won the presidential election of last year would Boko Haram have disappeared or continued bombing and destroying? Is poverty (almajiri) the real cause of the violent revolt? Is the far north in particular and the north in general marginalized in the current politico-economic scheme of things in Nigeria? If that is the case then who bears the blame most? The northern thieving Generals (living and dead) and the political heavyweights who have ruled Nigeria for more years than any other region since our independence?
However, whoever is telling Mallam Abubakar Shekau and his marauding uncircumcised elements that the 'war' they are engaged in against Nigeria and Nigerians is winnable must have his head examined. It is lunatic to think that President Goodluck Jonathan will abdicate his responsibility as number one citizen duly elected with a broad mandate to provide democratic leadership because some disgruntled elements in the system want to over-awe him; it is silly to ever imagine that the Nigerian government will capitulate to terror and/or terrorists. It is insane for anyone to ever imagine a Nigeria brought to her knees by a co-ordinated campaign of blood and destruction.
Recently the Joint Task Force were engaged in a gun battle with some Boko Haram members attending one of their kingpin's wedding ceremony in one of the embattled northern cities. When I first read this news-item online the first impression I had was that of pleasant surprise: surprised pleasantly because I never knew Boko Haram members 'enjoy' also what we mortals and 'infidels' enjoy by way of marriage and procreation. So they want to marry and have children too in a nation they are seeking to annihilate?
I never knew before now that Boko Haram members cared about life and marriage and family! I had thought they were cave men who wanted to be left alone to continue living in the caves in the north against the global current of globalisation and civilisation. The image of the hypocrites using bombs and crude means to kill innocent Nigerians while enjoying the western lifestyle they are up against must be condemned and projected to the outside world for what they truly are: hypocrisy by anarchists!
If they so much believe in the 'haram' they preach why are they using YouTube and the internet to disseminate information to the outside world? Why are they organizing teleconferences with the media in Nigeria they are now targetting and bombing? Something is deeply and fundamentally wrong with this ideology that seeks another thing and practises another! How could they be campaigning against western education but know how to express themselves in English language that does not belong to the Hausa-Fulani or their fore-fathers? How could they be fighting against civilisation represented by western ideas when they buy and use western products like cars and electronic gadgets?
These lawless misguided elements must give us a break! Yes, they must leave us alone to battle the daily national challenges facing us as a people whose leaders have rendered prostrate on the alter of graft and heist. When you add Boko Haram to the truck-load of scams coming out daily from Abuja then one is forced to pose the question: Nigeria: Quo Vadis?
Few years ago a female anti-war radical activist in the US named Ms Sherry Glaser, founded the "Breasts Not Bombs" pressure group. Based in Mendocino California the radical activist group with anti-war message had demonstrated openly by stripping their boobs, going topless and chanting "give us breasts and not bombs!" as they condemned the international war against terrorists led by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The northern women, especially the emancipated ones, ought to organize a similar protest march in some northern cities going topless, sagged and sagging breasts dangling menacingly, and screaming in unison: 'give us boobs and not bombs, please! Boko Haram, we need our boobs to feed our children and not bombs, please!!' In that way the entire universe would bear witness to their opposition to the murderous attempt by their misguided sons to turn Nigeria into an Iraq, an Afghanistan or a Somalia!
Boko Haram must save us from these bombing season! We (Nigerians) need boobs (love, marriage and children) and not bombs, please! Let peace reign but not on Boko Haram's terms! President Jonathan must see the Boko Haram challenge as one deserving everything in the federal arsenal to deal with. Yes, the federal might must be deployed to tame the 'rebels'! And the time is now!
The yearnings of a complex, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society like ours are that we live in peace to be able to find lasting solutions to grievances and other claims of marginalisation. But in the event of generalised confusion and manifest threats to continued co-existence, as the case is right now, then we shall all be ready to sing in unison: 'to thy tents oh Isreal'!
This abused nation as a corporate entity owes its continuing existence to the force of arms as no one believes in Nigeria or ready to die for her! When Nigeria implodes, as happenings are indicating clearly, history will definitely note that no one shed any 'tears' for her demise. And that could well become the beginning of a a new era for the Republics of Arewa, of Oduduwa and of Biafra.
Between GEJ and GMB, The Dog and the Baboon
Former Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in last year’s presidential election, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) has endeared himself to millions of Nigerians for his proven patriotism and integrity. Early last week I read online where he was quoted as saying: "I will like to quote Prof. Ango Abdullahi, who said there are three Boko Harams, including the original one, led by Muhammed Yusufu, who was killed and his supporters tried to take revenge in attacking the law enforcement agencies and politicians. There is another developed Boko Haram of criminals, who steal and kill. The biggest Boko Haram is the Federal Government."
The PDP and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) himself were hit by that declaration so much that the next day both the PDP's Olisah Metuh and Jonathan's Media Assistant, Dr Rueben Abati came out 'smoking' firing from all cylinders. While Metuh reacted angrily on behalf of the PDP Dr Abati 'defended' his principal robustly albeit unpresidentially. Dr Abati has carved a niche for himself as the modern-day Nigerian Paul Joseph Goebbels of the Nazi Germany whose history and end is well-known. When one suddenly changes camp becoming an interesting character in intellectual prostitution nothing could ever come from him that shocks!
While the CPC, Gen. Buhari's party, had expectedly joined issues with both the PDP and the presidential spokesman in a strongly-worded press release brimming with intellectual audacity and factual brevity maintaining adamantly the General's controversial position let us ignore the rantings of Olisah Metuh because he is a nonentity. Our attention is focused more on Dr Reuben Abati, an ex-social critic, who has sold his conscience and soul for some percuniary gains. Dr Abati may never recover from the 'PDP baptism of fire' because when they are through with him they will leave him in a literal 'vegetative' state and 'recovery' in terms of sanity becomes a herculean task!
I think Gen. Buhari was right by courageously and patriotically describing the PDP-led federal government as the biggest Boko Haram terrorising our land. Come to think of it the PDP has virtually destroyed the prospects of Nigeria's greatness through maladministration, mind-boggling corruption and godfatherism. With such retrogressive party in power the 'Giant of Africa' may never fare any better soon.
The ACN was right in denouncing the "crude, vitriolic and impudent verbal attack" on Gen. Buhari. It was unnecessary and panicky and "should not have rankled anyone who believes in free, fair and transparent polls"! Gen. Buhari's open warning against rigging by the PDP is not only timely but a wake-up call given the ruling party's sophistication in election rigging matters in Nigeria.
Dr Abati is fast cutting the image of an intellectual thug, a brilliant 'Alaye' fighting a dirty war for his principals in Abuja with little or no scrupples but we owe it a duty to our nation to stand up, whenever our collective intelligence is challenged by a 'hyper' presidential spokesman in his pedestrian unpresidential antics, to defend reason, truth and justice.
Gen. Buhari, "a serial election loser?" Come on Abati. Even if that is correct, though one refuses to subscribe to its veracity in the context of a free and fair election in Nigeria, the former President of Senegal, Maitre Abdoulaye Wade, lost the presidential polls in his country on many ocassions before capturing same in the year 2000. Losing a so-called election at the federal level, therefore, cannot be said to be the yardstick with which to measure GMB's electability or his acceptance across the board. We know his worth and mettle and in the fullness of time he can still capture power democratically. So Dr Abati should spare us his 'sermon' from Aso Rock.
Gen. Buhari's warning against any planned rigging of the presidential election of 2015 is in order. Hear the Katsina-born lanky man of iron: "If what happens in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon will all be soaked in blood." Yes, whichever way we look at it, either for or against, Nigeria cannot continue this disastrous way. Something must, therefore, give come 2015!