The Boko Haram imbroglio is one which only very few of us understand.
Far too often, many ogogoroanalysts would blame Islam and castigate the restive northern youths for a dilemma which is purely rooted in what the realists would call the clash of political interests.
Our government is not helping matters either; Mr. Jonathan and some of his retinue of political assassins have continued to handle the situation with kid's gloves and so much insanity.
Yes. It is insanity to deploy careless and ruthless military men to danger zones across the country ÔÇô simply because the desire for justice through aggression can feed the cycle of violence even more than the act of violence itself.
I once predicted that the military would kill more innocents than the Boko Haram in its entire history and such prediction is self manifesting from apparent extra judicial killings in the North.
It must be a gross act of insanity to vote almost one third of a country's annual budget on security when other industries like Agriculture and infrastructure have been in complete states of disgrace and are in crisis point as the alarming state of security.
In another act which I consider a total lack of skill Mr. Jonathan have been found asserting himself on ensuring Justice. For instance, sometime in June 2011 when bomb explosions rocked the Police headquarters in Abuja, Mr Jonathan responded by saying that: "justice will be done".
It is statements as this and the actions that follow which although are sometimes well intended sets Mr. Jonathan miles aback on making meaningful progress in his fight against the Boko Haram threat.
In the realists view: "Justice can no doubt be a very powerful and valuable tool for achieving objectives of peace but it can also be pursued at the cost of peace".
Still on Justice, Timothy Mcveigh, a US military veteran recently put that: "It is not that justice is not desirable but justice is often a code word for revenge and retaliation".
Mcveigh's words convey a very potent message for the Nigerian context where Justice is indeed desirable to bring the sponsors of Boko Haram and its perpetuators to book. The problem is that the approach to Justice employed by the Nigerian government is one often laced with the will of revenge and retaliation.
Phillosophers would say that revenge is bad because two wrongs don't make a right and revenge usually backfires.
Since the desire for Justice through military might is not what I see as solution to the current crisis, I see the long-term solution as eliminating the problem from its roots.
The long term solution is undoing what Benedict Anderson in his theory of imagined communities' calls falsity-genuineness as the fact behind today's idea of nationalism.
Like the Present Nigeria, Anderson believes that we exist as an imagined community and not as a nation bound by values, culture, language, etc. Seeing from Anderson's standpoint, the present Boko Haram crisis is what I consider part of the negative implication of Anderson's proposition of us being an imagined nation.
It is based this that I see the long term solution to Nigeria's scores of problems as renegotiating our national structure.
That said, the short term solution which is needed in the immediacy is where most of our analysts and public commentators get it wrong, the media and our religious leaders are not helping matters either. For instance Mr. Ayo Oritsejafor - the President of the Christian association of Nigeria recently put that:
"The consensus is that the Christian community nationwide will be left with no other option than to respond appropriately if there are any further attacks on our members, churches and property".
With whom did Oritsejafor come to consensus?
What would Oritsejafor do to respond to the Boko Haram? - Pile up armaments in the church or groom his own band of terrorists?
What makes Mr Oritsejafor think this is a religious war and so must it be considered?
It is people like Oritsejafor who within their limited understanding of the problem on ground respond in manners which aggravates and compounds the problem.
A powerful authority like oritsejafor should be found to broker peace and sue for peace all the time no matter what manner of aggression is used against his constituency or association.
The immediate short term solution is far from Oritsejafor's distorted view and what so many other religious and political authorities have put forward as answer to the Boko Haram threat. The reason I reject these solutions is because they are often too aggressive and are "justice seeking" which I described earlier as another name for revenge.
The solution does not lie either in unreasonably allocating heavy budget on security as well as instituting draconian military measures on every nooks and crannies.
The immediate solution lies in neutralizing the immediate threat to safety and peace and that can be achieved by going on the path of intelligence and diplomacy.
On intelligence, we need effective and intelligence led state apparatuses which would through high level information gathering frustrate every terrorism acts and attempts.
In a 2003 US congress report: the committee in charge of counter terrorism put forward that "counterterrorism is highly dependent upon human intelligence (humint), the use of agents to acquire information (and, in certain circumstances, to carry out covert actions)".
The report further suggests that even if there would be military operations which are sometimes necessitated to counter terrorism, such military operations must be dependent on the availability of precise, real-time intelligence to support bombing campaigns using precision guided munitions.
It is this sort of intelligence led solution that I consider part of the immediate solutions to Nigeria's growing terrorism woes.
I propose that - with immediate effect - all military armaments and activities on the streets and corners of Maiduguri, Borno and other northern states should be called off and a critical shake-up should be conducted on all government security apparatuses such as the SSS, police and others to make for strong and intelligence orientated institutions which would live up to their names to confront any form of aggression.
Through precise information gathered by means of high level intelligence the police and other intelligence outfits can for instance determine where ingredients used in bomb making and other ammunitions are procured or manufactured and how they are transported to their intended destinations.
Once such sources are foiled, the means and capacity of Boko Haram threats while it cannot be completely eliminated can be drastically reduced.
Another fact about bomb making is that no matter how cheap it costs to prepare, its preparation and execution still requires some financial resources, therefore, intelligence led operations can track financial transactions and work with other state agencies like the CBN and others to understand financial movements and activities across the terrorists region.
Through such operation, scores of terrorist activities can be tracked and foiled immediately.
Furthermore through high level intelligence operations, the sponsors of Boko Haram if there are truly any can be foiled by using intelligence gathering through highly covert operations like phone tapping and constant monitoring of ÔÇśreal suspects'.
In line with my aforementioned solutions, the Geneva centre for democratic control in a recent paper suggests that intelligence led counter terrorism measures can be divided to three categories.
- Strategic ÔÇô wherein the organization of the terrorist groups, leadership, intentions, aims, mode of operations, sources of funds, weapons and means at their disposal, contacts with external elements, including foreign intelligence agencies are understood.
- Tactical ÔÇô intelligence which relates to the specific plans of terrorist action, also called preventive and indications-and-warning intelligence, this would enable the state to preempt terrorist action, prevent attacks, and frustrate terrorist plans.
- Psychological: intelligence which covers details of psychological warfare propaganda of the terrorists against the state and data relating to the terrorists, which enable the state to mount its own psychological warfare against them.
In several terrorism cases, counter terrorists have reported huge difficulty in penetrating terrorist organisations and collecting human intelligence.
I do not see this as big problem in Nigeria because the Boko Haram scenario is very straight forward and different from the type of scenarios faced by most states abroad where it is difficult to understand the dimensions of terrorism.
In addition to fashioning a war of intelligence against our home grown Boko Haram terror group, diplomacy is another pathway which should not be used in isolation but as support to intelligence led operations.
The leader of OPC, Fredrick Fasheun recently made the following statement which I consider as a sensible act of diplomacy that can be used as an immediate solution to neutralizing the Boko Haram threat.
Fasheun suggest that: "there must be people that the Boko Haram will listen to. These people are Nigerians and they can be reached, but it must be people they can listen to".
The OPC recommendation of using mediation as a diplomatic solution would not solve the situation entirely as many radical Boko Haram youths would not listen to anyone, but such means would to larger extent address the problem in the short term by calling some listening youths to order.
Through such mediation, covert intelligence operations can stand alert to understand the workings of the Boko Haram and use information gathered to manage future events.
Diplomatically, Mr. Jonathan may have so much to give away but if he must address the problem of terrorism in the country which I think is in its infancy - he must give away a lot.
Mr Jonathan must work with some very reasonable opposition groups like the CPC which has strong rooting in the north. He must go all out and forge strong and unflinching alliance with the northern big guns who knows all the antics of local politics and the grievances that has led to terrorism.
A Jonathan who forges strong diplomatic ties with the real political powers from the north would never fail in understanding and addressing the Boko Haram threat to a reasonable extent and within a very short period of time.
Another act of diplomacy ÔÇô though may sound bizarre to the Jonathan die-hards - but which I consider very potent as an immediate act of neutralizing the Boko Haram threat is that Mr. Jonathan may have to pave way for another popular presidential material to continue the rest of his administration whilst he makes a come-back in a well calculated future.
While the said Presidential material must be popular and widely accepted and perhaps one from the North - Jonathan must build bridges and spend time to understand Nigerian politics from grassroots. This would make him more of an effective leader if he has to make a come-back in the future.
This I consider an act of diplomacy which would give way for better future to Jonathan than what can potentially happen if he continues to handle the situation in the lacklustre way of present.
As Mr. Jonathan may be less effective in addressing the aforementioned solutions as the immediate strategies to neutralising the Boko Haram threat, the final option of him paving way for another competent and thoughtful administrator is my considered and preferred option.
Either by force or by means of diplomacy I pray that Mr. Jonathan relinquishes his political authority to another sensible individual who can be better represent the interest of Nigerians sensibly.
The solutions proffered above are real time answers which I consider potent in my own view of the whole mess but the best solution if one must be candid is for Mr. Jonathan to leave Aso Rock and allow those who can confront our problem head-on to ascend the throne of presidency.
Enough has been said - Mr. Jonathan should take the path of honour.