Monday, 21 September 2015

Buhari and Boko Haram: Who is fooling who?

Buhari and Boko Haram: Who is fooling who?Buhari and Boko Haram: Who is fooling who?

It has dominated national tabloids and online feeds that Boko Haram were willing to negotiate with the federal government over the release of over 200 Chibok school girls and the condition given to the terrorist sect was amnesty. An eye popping offer for the group one would say and it is also funny on the other side to believe what has actually been making the rounds in the national polity. This would rather be a short piece x-raying the obvious mind games played by the General and his fellow Northerners with regards to terrorism in the country. 

Before the elections in Nigeria or in every other country, campaign strategies play a pivotal part in a party’s chance of either wrestling or retaining power in a given strata. Boko Haram, corruption and lack of internal democracy were the glaring deficiencies in the former President Jonathan’s administration which the president didn’t see it as a danger that will prove costly. 

And just like everyone else would do, the then opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) exploited these loopholes and commenced intense propaganda against the Goodluck administration. The then president paid dearly and for the first time in our democracy, an opposing party took the helm of affairs at the centre. Not only did he lose his seat, series of fallouts erupted within the ranks of PDP which made founding fathers of the party like Olusegun Obasanjo to denounce himself from the once great party and even predicting Buhari’s victory at the presidential poll. 

Yes all these came to pass and Nigerians including myself watched with enthusiasm and anticipation for the ‘change’ mantra to materialise. We preferred change over transformation and change we have today. This he has done by fighting corruption and probing corrupt officials and ministries and even the president of the Senate isn’t left behind by the long arm of justice and transparency by the General. 

During his campaign rallies, General Buhari reiterated his promise and ability to flush insurgencies within his first two months in office. This wasn’t the case as the first couple of months saw the most deadly attacks the Islamic sect recorded as close to 150 Nigerians perished in the North. He came out in the wake of these attacks to say that Boko Haram’s days are numbered which prompted criticisms from scholars like Femi Fani-Kayode. Months later, the president made series of travelling to neighbouring countries for security aids and advice which his predecessor also did without a much yielding results. The general made bold steps, first by moving the military headquarters to Borno State, the focal point of the terrorists, and appointing a new Chief of Army Staff in Tukur Buratai as well as other sensitive appointments which would boost the fight against terrorism. 

Months later, it is all happening like a soap opera. The military seem to be tilting towards recapturing the north east from the Islamic sect. Series of funny arrests and interceptions are being made such as the arrest of Boko Haram’s food supplier, ammunitions supplier and National Identity Card producer all within a twinkle of an eye. Lost grounds and territories are being taken over by the military and the Islamic militants have been surrendering in their numbers even prompting them to beg for negotiations with the federal government. Bravo to the federal government. This is what we’ve been praying for and nothing would bring much joy for Nigerians than seeing the Chibok girls released which is already in the works and quite commendable.

If you ask me, I smell conspiracy as this has all happened so rapidly. It appears everything had been scripted and roles were given to each actor to perform diligently. The first question I raised was where were all the intelligence experts who are claiming to be the moving force behind the crippling of Boko Haram? Since the appointments so far made by the Buhari administration favoured the North, Boko Haram came to a standstill rapidly and I refuse to be carried away by this. 

This is a president who on several occasions spoke in favour of the insurgents and on one occasion warned president Jonathan against the killing of terrorists since he didn’t do same to the Niger Delta Militants. A comment which sparked disapproval from well meaning Nigerians but it is rather ironic that this same man is in power today and what else do we expect from him than bias towards the terrorist sect. He condemned negotiations with Boko Haram and now he is already negotiating with them for the release of Chibok girls, the same girls he used as a strong tool in opposing President Jonathan through sponsored rallies and campaigns. 

Since he took over power, the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign went dormant and here we are today on the verge of their release in exchange for amnesty. Amnesty I repeat for who? A terrorist sect whose ‘modus operandi’ is violence inspired and their aim is to Islamize the country. I wonder in awe how the so called amnesty can materialise considering the danger this sect can pose to the country. Their willpower cannot be under estimated but with Buhari nothing is impossible. 

The state of the nation in terms of combating terrorism is dicey and funny to say the least. This drama acted by Buhari and the Northerners will surely pay severe damaging consequences in the long term as the ethnic biases are too obvious to downplay. The northerners, it must be agreed, played politics with Boko Haram and yes they won their way into power and I won’t be surprised if the insurgents in the creeks of the Niger Delta make a case for themselves once again. As for me and the recent decline in Boko Haram’s activities, I refuse to be fooled. I rest my case.

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