Whilst it may be tempting to assume that national committees and/or commissions are needed to quell the embers of terrorism from the sectarian onslaught of Boko Haram, we ought to realize that ad hoc assemblies and clichés are not panaceas for this insurgency. Make no mistake; Nigeria is officially at war with Boko Haram and their sympathizers who have out rightly declared tactical guerrilla warfare against the nation. Consequently, for the first time in our history we are faced with an escalation of combat that is not brought about by core injustices such as government sponsored indiscriminate killings, ethnic marginalization, environmental degradation, national discrimination, and disregard of treaties. The listed factors were the ingredients that brought about the Nigerian/Biafra genocidal war of the 1960’s and the Niger Delta militancy at the dawn of the 21st century. Instead what we have in Boko Haram the fanatical Muslim group is a war to Islamize close to 150million Nigerians with 250 ethnicities, over 200 languages, varying religious and traditional affiliations.
Though the disingenuousness of Boko Haram is palpable and evident to any primary school pupil in Nigeria and around the world, the nuance of their style can not be underestimated by the President Jonathan’s administration. Under the hypocrisy of wanting to do away with western education, civilization, and religion, they want to enslave Nigeria and Africa with their bondage and/or version of Islamic thuggery. As Africans that have sold their birthrights, Boko Haram and their supporters have conveniently expunged their memories of the Trans Sahara Slave trade that began before the Trans Atlantic Slave trade. In Boko Haram we await the utopian nation state like Saudi Arabia, the same Saudis who sent their troops to hound down and murder peaceful protesters in Bahrain and Yemen. Saudi Arabia has the dubious distinction of warmly welcoming African dictators including Idi Amin of Uganda and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia with red carpets.
On the other hand if we refuse to surrender and be led by the Fulani and/or Kanuri Muslims we are to be subjected to the plight of Southern Sudan, Darfur, and Somalia. In this ungovernable terrain which was well articulated by the likes of Dictator Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and Mallam Adamu Ciroma, the Disunited Nations of Nigeria will remain insecure and under siege by these group in northern Nigeria. These so-called elite politicians detonated the political bombs which have ensured our current situation when they made commentaries and prophesies during the 2011 presidential elections encouraging the current violent events. After igniting the flames of animosity these so-called leaders are now paying lip service for the need of peace while 99% of northerners are suffering from poverty and corruption.
Ironically it was the utterances of some in the 1% elite group of northern politicians especially through the Northern Political Leaders Forum NPLF that legitimized Boko Haram and took them from a northeastern fringe group to a regional terrorist operational organization. The likes of Buhari, Atiku, and Ciroma hegemonic messages gave Boko Haram and their sympathizers the license to execute the mass carnage on nearly 1000 defenseless individuals after the 2011 elections. The dead comprised of many innocent student volunteers involved in the National Youth Service Corps NYSC program. They have also tried to mask their pretentious sectarian plans with the fight against corruption and injustice. But Nigerians are not fooled by their rhetoric because we are knowledgeable about their plans to continue the institutionalized corruption and injustices that were introduced into the nation’s polity by the Northern Military Industrial Complex NMIC.
The goals of these selfish politicians’ remains to cloak their antecedents of mismanagement and their attempts are hijacking the government with religious dogmas.
Thus, they insist that the United Nations of Nigeria should be an Islamic country which is governed by both the Kanuri or Fulani tribes and their surrogates. Boko Haram lacks the moral character to fight against unaccountability and impunity in the Nigerian government because their financial sponsors are the same so-called leaders that engulfed the past and nascent Nigerian administrations with irresponsibility and corruption. At no time has Boko Haram demanded accountability from the Northern Nigerian ruling class that have dominated the nations military, political, and economic spheres for more than 40years of our 51years of existence as a British amalgamated protectorate. They have rejected the application of non-violent civil disobedient strategies like we have all witnessed on the African and Arab streets as a result of the 2011 Arab spring/awakening.
Instead Boko Haram has used the same playbook of impunity that was evident during the Dictators Babangida, Obasanjo, Abacha, and Abubakar administrations to intimidate the Nigerian nation. They speak of an amoral society but proceed to inflict mayhem on law abiding Nigerians including non fanatical Muslims, Christians, Traditionalist, and others. They introduced drive-by shootings, drive-by bombings, IED’s, and suicide bombings in Nigeria on a commercial scale as a means to cause turmoil and traumatize the country. Concepts like Islamic Banking, Sharia Law, and Western Education are used as templates for killing innocent civilians all over the northern states. Those of us that have actually sat in western classes and challenged western patriarchy, white supremacy, double speak, and imperialism, wonder why we should enthrone another reprehensible slave master’s ideologies on the African continent.
Irrespective of the camouflaging of issues by some north politicians and Boko Haram, we in the social justice activism and human rights fields in Nigeria and around the globe see through their sectarian domination agendas. We view the killings and bombings of ordinary Nigerians as a hindrance to the structural changes which we are fighting for in the country. While it could be argued that years of corruption and injustices are oblivious bombs that claim casualties, the introduction of total terrorism does not advance changes in any regard. It entrenches the five decade long status quo that we are trying to reform brick by brick with our call for transformations, accountability, and inclusive governance. In the past some of us have condemned the extra judicial killing of the Boko Haram leadership by the President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration. We challenge members of the Boko Haram organization to not justify their repugnant acts on the basics of retaliatory tact.
During this time last year my family met a family at the National Museum in Lagos from Florida that was visiting Nigeria for the first time with their teenage children. Apart from coincidentally seeing President Goodluck Jonathan in a church in Abuja, the major highlight of their trip was how they narrowly escaped the Boko Haram Christmas bombings of 2010. Sadly these attempts to “arabmail” and Islamize Nigerian through bombs and propagandas are still in full effect. The sponsors of Boko Haram and their murderous machines need to realize that their objectives would be circumvented by the Nigerian people. There will be no coup d’états to allow them to come back into government through back channels. They should look inward to address the needs of northern Nigeria. Northern billionaires and millionaires who have benefited from the largesse of the Niger Delta Black Gold (Petroleum) should use their resources to address mass underemployment and illiteracy. Hard and soft power should be brought to bear on Boko Haram, their cheerleaders, and their sponsors. Henceforth the national government should stop subsidizing trips/Hajj to Saudi Arabia.
Instead those resources could be used to set up industrial, agricultural, and technological zones in the north. State governments in the north should be charged with addressing issues of draught, deforestation, desertification, and irrigation in the north. I agree with Niger state governor Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu that the federal government needs to stop playing games with the sponsors of Boko Haram and prosecute them now. President Jonathan we understand your desire to avoid conflict and drama but you need to rise up to the occasion and stop these barbaric attacks and evolving carnages. We applaud your attempts to encourage an open and free society with varying views. Lesser and myopic leaders could have gone after their critics and detractors since the inception of their administration. Dr. Goodluck and Vice President Namadi Sambo standup and confront Boko Haram before they achieve their self fulfilling prophecies which is the balkanization or “clanalization” of the Nigerian society.
Our government needs to comprehend the stakes and not use the same lackadaisical approach they have used for the corruption and impunity problems in Nigeria, to tackle this terrorist madness. Governors and local government chairpersons in the north should be immediately compelled to account for all their federal government allocated expenditures. Checks and balances are to be activated to make sure we abate the status quo fleecing by the so-called elites. We have to make sure that some of them are not using the playbook of Governor Dr. Peter Odili who looted the Rivers State treasury and sustained corruption and turmoil in the Niger Delta. The Sultan of Sokoto Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar who is also the head of Jama’atu Nasril Islam in Nigeria and the officials within the Borno Emirate should either become partners in the fight against these massacres or be forced to immediately step down. Rather than champion Islamic banking to further complicate matters why not embrace the Bangladesh Grameen Bank micro-credit system to assist with the eradication of gender discrimination and poverty in northern Nigeria? The Sultan has criticized the crackdown of the Boko Haram terrorist organization in the pass, but he ought to know that no persons or positions surpass the lives of innocent Nigerians.
In conclusion the educational system of northern Nigeria needs to be revamped into a Pan-African curriculum. These changes have to start from the nursery schools all the way to the primary, secondary/tertiary, and university levels. The school of thought of using Quranic schools and madrasas as the primary education institutions in the north needs to be phased out. Since the current federal government appears compromised and ineffective with prosecuting some of our criminal ex-military officers/rulers and criminal politicians with all the probable cause and preponderance of evidence that denotes their crimes, we may openly offer them amnesty in exchange for using some of their loots for the public good. Let us encourage these barawos to repatriate our monies from Dubai, Sharm el-Sheikh, London, Switzerland and other money laundering capitals and invest in the northern people to improve health, educational, and employment outcomes. If these policies are not explored we may become a nation of psychopaths/sociopaths running around and killing each other. When our different tribes begin to actively use reprisal attacks to deal with the Boko Haram cancer, then forget about justice and transparency and open up the zoos.
Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year
Dedicate to- The victims, survivals, displaced persons, and families of all the northern Nigerian terrorist attacks.