See­ing clearly now

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

Three events that might look un­re­lated took place within the last few weeks. They looked so dif­fer­ent but they were prob­a­bly one. First let’s com­mend Mus­lims: they have re­fused to be rail­roaded by the de­lib­er­ately-cre­ated lop­sid­ed­ness of the Na­tional Con­fer­ence del­e­gates’ list into a pre­cip­i­tate de­nun­ci­a­tion of Chris­tian­ity, or at least the pres­i­dent’s feigned pref­er­ence for it, which would have been ex­actly what he was hop­ing for. With 2015 around the cor­ner, all it needed to get sym­pa­thetic, mas­sive Chris­tian sup­port for him was for Mus­lims en masse to be seen op­posed to him—and vice versa. And had they done so, they would also have un­wit­tingly pushed Chris­tians into blindly sup­port­ing him and buy­ing into a sus­pected con­fer­ence agenda, the ex­is­tence of which he has now so elo­quently de­nied, de­spite the bill he is push­ing for pow­ers to pro­pose a new con­sti­tu­tion.

But it was still good that Mus­lims didn’t shout, though this was not ex­actly like say­ing that Mus­lims’ si­lence was in­dica­tive of some new, so­phis­ti­cated un-ex­ploitable po­lit­i­cal ma­tu­rity. Some­one may have in ad­vance spo­ken to and pre­vailed upon the lead­er­ship of the more vo­cal Mus­lim groups, ca­jol­ing them into do­ing what is right in the cir­cum­stance, not be­cause of its right­ness but be­cause of its cir­cum­stan­tial con­ve­nience to the hid­den per­suader. And so, it was all quiet on the Mus­lim front, even as there are in­di­ca­tions that the list re­leased may not have cor­re­sponded ex­actly with what the pres­i­dent signed, or that he so ab­di­cated the power to scru­ti­nise and en­sure that it re­spected and re­flected the na­tion’s re­li­gious, sec­tional and federal char­ac­ters, or that he didn’t in fact re­alise that re­flect­ing all that was of such para­mount im­por­tance.

But, fi­nally, more than three weeks af­ter the re­lease of the con­fer­ence list and af­ter the con­fer­ence had al­ready kicked off, a Mus­lim del­e­ga­tion­had­gone­toseethep­res­i­dent­to­ex­press its grievances. It was ob­vi­ously a hur­riedly put up and per­haps re­luc­tant rep­re­sen­ta­tion in view of the fact that it was known that the Sul­tan, who led the del­e­ga­tion, had dis­al­lowed one of the leading Mus­limor­gan­i­sa­tions­from­reg­is­terin­git­sprompt dis­plea­sure pub­licly.

At the end of its visit, and with­out shar­ing with the Ummah the ex­pla­na­tion given to it by the pres­i­dent, or di­vulging the grounds on which the govern­ment based its faulty arith­metic; or by al­lud­ing to the ex­cuses given, even though ex post facto the del­e­ga­tion said it was happy and sat­is­fied. Mus­lims didn’t feel rep­re­sented at all. If they could be pre­vailed upon or begged to drop their ob­jec­tions, why in God’s Name did they de­cide to go and com­plain in the first place? It was even claimed that the pres­i­dent was sorry. If the pres­i­dent was re­ally shocked at, or sorry for, what he had him­self signed, the thing to make was amend—and then di­rect jus­ti­fied anger at par­ti­san sec­tion­al­ist staff who made him do it. He didn’t but the Mus­lim del­e­ga­tion came out and told the world that it was sat­is­fied. The ques­tion is: ‘With what?’ the del­e­ga­tion didn’t say, and nor did the Mus­lims ask.

It also looked like the pres­i­dent must have been at his help­less and blun­der­ing best; and with the buck stop­ping at his desk, he had no choice but to ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity the un­fair and in­ex­cus­able work of schem­ing sub­or­di­nates—but, even that, not be­fore he had in an­other breath, and with such art­less in­sen­si­tiv­ity, tried to jus­tify the lop­sid­ed­ness by an in­con­gru­ous re­course to some Mus­lim North­ern gov­er­nors’ at­ti­tude to spon­sor­ship of Chris­tian pil­grim­ages!

But for those who can­not or will not even be forced to speak, si­lence in the tem­ple of in­jus­tice is not golden—it is a con­vic­tion: ev­ery point of ev­i­dence ad­duced in pre­sent­ing the brief for the prose­cu­tion is an un­favourable ver­dict for a de­fence that has not been put up. When the medium is the mes­sage, pro­pa­ganda is the name of the game, and the first step is to blame the vic­tim be­fore he com­plains. In such a sit­u­a­tion, the best strat­egy is to blow your own trum­pet loud and clear be­cause no­body will blow it for you. If you have no trum­pet to blow, do the next best thing—break your op­po­nent’s trum­pet. If you can­not raise yourself up, see to it that at least you are not run down—or blamed for what you haven’t done.

And for good mea­sure, in this coun­try of dou­ble stan­dards, none of those cur­rently kick­ing against the pos­si­bil­ity of the op­po­si­tion pre­sent­ing a Mus­lim-Mus­lim pres­i­den­tial ticket that will last only four years saw any­thing wrong with a 61%-39% Chris­tian-Mus­lim del­e­gate rep­re­sen­ta­tion in a com­mit­tee that will per­ma­nently de­ter­mine the fate of this coun­try for­ever.

Or are they wait­ing for Obasanjo again? And a lot could now be said on the uses of let­ter­writ­ing. Have you ob­served that since for­mer Pres­i­dent Oluse­gun Obasanjo wrote his let­ter, a salu­tary hush had fallen on the na­tional scene: no longer did you hear those in­di­gestible eth­nic in­sults or fire-spit­ting pro­nounce­ments by the spir­i­tual arm of the Jonathan ad­min­is­tra­tion? How much more ran­corous the na­tional con­fer­ence would now have been with­out that let­ter!

And now for what may be the most un­likely cock-and-bull story, which, for its ef­fem­i­nate dim-wit­ted­ness, should re­ally have been the hen-and-cow story, of the year; and which, in the cir­cum­stance, is an in­sult to our col­lec­tive un­in­tel­li­gence: be­cause no people with a mod­icum of in­tel­li­gence should have ac­cepted, or be deemed cred­u­lous enough, or even be re­garded amenable to be­ing told such a tale. They said—and with a very straight face too— that a de­tainee, sup­pos­edly in an un­der­ground bunker in a heav­ily for­ti­fied fortress, used his hand­cuffs to dis­arm a se­cu­rity guard and start a bloody jail­break.

But it worked, didn’t it? Judg­ing from its op­er­a­tional ef­fec­tive­ness, the new tac­tic should hence­forth be adopted by the se­cu­rity forces as stan­dard pro­ce­dure. When next they are go­ing out for an oper­a­tion against Boko Haram or any op­po­nent that has bet­ter arms or higher mo­ti­va­tion, they should all be made to drop their guns and be duly hand­cuffed be­fore they are de­ployed. If ev­ery one of them used his hand­cuffs as ef­fec­tively as this dare­devil Abuja de­tainee, why, they should be able to dis­arm Boko Haram all over the North­east and suc­cess­fully lib­er­ate all the women de­tainees in no time.

But even if, go­ing by the ac­counts of people liv­ing in the neigh­bour­hood of the State Se­cu­rity Ser­vice, SSS head­quar­ters, the in­ci­dent looked, sounded and lasted more like an as­sault launched from out­side, you must doff and take off your kpube to the men and of­fi­cers of the SSS. I never knew they were this alive and valiant. How bravely they must have fought! Go­ing by the gen­eral lax­ity in the coun­try, if all the duty of the SSS is only to de­fend its head­quar­ters against at­tack from out­side or a quell jail­break from in­side you must still give it to them. Our soldiers and po­lice have a lot to learn from them: if only they can learn to seal check­points as ef­fec­tively as the SSS seals its gates against flee­ing de­tainees, the na­tion may at se­cure at last.

Ap­par­ently, Mah­mud Jega wasn’t look­ing at­ten­tively enough these days. Other­wise, he would have seen that it was not blame of which there was enough to go round: it was flame! With hov­er­ing he­li­copters drop­ping sup­plies in Gwoza for­est, land­ing in and tak­ing off from the bushes of Birnin Gwari and Darazo, who is talk­ing of blame? The blame game is over and ob­so­lete; it is now how­itzer on the ground, gun­ship in the air and in­credulity in be­tween.

And Nyako’s charge, which even ac­cord­ing to Mah­mud Jega, had only strength­ened a widely shared and long held sus­pi­cion in much of the North, was of a dif­fer­ent or­der from Jonathan’s re­sponse, which was clearly a notwell-thought-through po­lit­i­cal re­sponse.

If, ac­cord­ing to the pres­i­dent’s care­fully con­sid­ered, pre­pared-ad­dress de­liv­ered ver­dict, Gover­nor Mur­tala Nyako was now one of them—or one of their spon­sors, fa­cil­i­ta­tors or cat­a­lysts—he could only have been one as a mem­ber of the pres­i­dent’s party, con­sid­er­ing the fact that Nyako was in the PDP when Boko Haram emerged. And who is more likely to have ac­cess to a he­li­copter? An al­ma­jiri or the govern­ment? By the way, when last did you see an alaramma or­gan­is­ing the an­nual mi­gra­tion with an Apache or his al­ma­ji­rai go­ing a-beg­ging in a Chi­nook?

Ear­lier on, Jonathan had told the na­tion that mem­bers of the Boko Haram had in­fil­trated his govern­ment; and now he is telling us that it is the al­ma­ji­rai cre­ated by the in­ep­ti­tude of North-east­ern gov­er­nors’ ed­u­ca­tion poli­cies that is Boko Haram. But the only gover­nor to have been pub­licly ac­cused is some­one in his own en­tourage. But isn’t it about time we gave al­ma­ji­rai just a lit­tle respite and spare them dis­hon­ourable men­tion any time some­one didn’t know ex­actly what to do or say?

And talk­ing of he­li­copters, haven’t you no­ticed that as the fin­ger-point­ing started to come nearer home, the Cameroo­ni­ans, in a move to es­cape pos­si­ble blame for com­plic­ity, have for the past time said they had in­ter­cepted Boko Haram arms? Well done, Paul Biya, but where has your gen­darmerie, bor­der pa­trol, cus­toms and im­mi­gra­tion been tak­ing their well-learned and well-earned slum­ber all this time? No need to an­swer, sir. Aha! I can see clearly now; and, along with, ahem, Jimmy Cliff and the North­east Groovers, so can you, too, now if you look care­fully.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.