In de­fence of Nyako

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

Ad­mi­ral Mur­tala Nyako, gov­er­nor of Adamawa State, has for the sec­ond time ac­cused the Fed­eral Govern­ment of spon­sor­ing the Boko Haram cri­sis. The first time he did so was at a se­cu­rity sem­i­nar in Wash­ing­ton, DC a month ago. This time, in a memo to the North­ern Gov­er­nors’ Fo­rum, Nyako said the govern­ment was re­spon­si­ble for the vi­o­lence sweep­ing the North East, with its killers “em­bed­ded in our le­git­i­mate and tra­di­tional de­fence and se­cu­rity or­gan­i­sa­tions,” who tram­ple upon and take peo­ple’s lives, prop­erty and rights with the hope of ig­nit­ing a war be­tween Mus­lims and Chris­tians in the North. “Cases of mass mur­der by its bloody-minded killers and cut­throats are well-known but it at­trib­uted the killings to the so-called Boko Haram.”

A few have crit­i­cised him but many oth­ers are happy that he has spo­ken their minds. But the re­al­ity is that Nyako has only come out to say in pub­lic what all oth­ers, in­clud­ing many of his crit­ics, have been say­ing in pri­vate for at least the past two years. And for as long, there has been this to­tal re­luc­tance of the govern­ment to in­ves­ti­gate or even ac­knowl­edge the in­cred­i­ble anom­alies wit­nessed es­pe­cially at the time church bomb­ings and wan­ton ar­son. Even now, there is this in­ex­pli­ca­ble non­cha­lance in re­spond­ing to re­ported threats like the one de­vel­op­ing around the Darazo-Basirka bush on the bor­der of Bauchi and Ji­gawa states, even af­ter ab­duc­tions, kid­nap­pings and killings had taken place.

Anony­mous se­cu­rity el­e­ments have ac­cused him of spon­sor­ing the cri­sis, but they should do more than throw back Nyako’s charge at him; for, do­ing that is be­ing disin­gen­u­ous for a num­ber of rea­sons. One, if they have all along had rea­sons to sus­pect Nyako, they have never said so un­til af­ter he has made his charge against the govern­ment; there­fore, no­body will be­lieve them now. Two, why, in all this time, they have not made any moves to ar­rest or even just in­ter­ro­gate him? Three, if they are up to the task of in­ter­ro­gat­ing or re­ally look­ing for causes, why have they never cared nor at­tempted to con­sider all the charges against or in­ter­ro­gate a for­mer state gov­er­nor close to the Jonathan col­lec­tive who is uni­ver­sally ac­cused of var­i­ously set­ting Boko Haram up, arm­ing them, fi­nanc­ing them, us­ing them against his po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents and then run­ning away from them? Four, what does his be­ing un­touch­able and close­ness to the pres­i­dent tell the na­tion?

At any event, what Nyako said wasn’t new, and be­fore the se­cu­rity asked Nyako to bring his ev­i­dence, which in fact he should be asked to bring, they should wait un­til the govern­ment asked Obasanjo to bring his ev­i­dence for the hit squad he said it was train­ing to hit at its en­emy list. Nyako only said the govern­ment was hid­ing be­hind Boko Haram to kill peo­ple. He didn’t say, like the ma­jor­ity of the peo­ple in the North are say­ing to­day, that the govern­ment was re­spon­si­ble for the ini­tial spon­sor­ship, not sub­se­quent in­fil­tra­tion, of the orig­i­nal Boko Haram. Obasanjo said Jonathan was train­ing his own strike force, his own Govern­ment-Haram, so to speak.

But the mere fact that there is a group that has come out to say that it is re­spon­si­ble for what has been hap­pen­ing and they are North­ern­ers doesn’t prove it is its agenda that is be­ing pur­sued or achieved. For in­stance, fol­low­ing the col­lapse of the So­viet Union, with neo­con­ser­va­tive cold war­riors em­bed­ded in US cor­ri­dors of power, the Amer­i­cans were des­per­ately look­ing for a new cold war ad­ver­sary. They found one, cour­tesy of Dr Omar Ab­del Rah­man, the blind Egyp­tian preacher, who gave a fatwa that the World Trade Cen­ter and other pub­lic mon­u­ments in New York be brought down. That was be­fore Osama bin Laden. But it was only af­ter the trial and con­vic­tion of Ab­del Rah­man that ev­i­dence came to light show­ing U.S. govern­ment com­plic­ity in the Fe­bru­ary 26, 1993 bomb­ing of the World Trade Cen­tre in New York City, us­ing Emad Salem, a re­tired Egyp­tian army of­fi­cer and FBI in­former, who was made to in­fil­trate the preacher’s cir­cle and be­come his per­sonal as­sis­tant and body­guard, as the agent provo­ca­teur, who pushed him to is­sue the fatwa.

On the other side are those who, with even less ev­i­dence, re­peat the ir­ri­tat­ing re­frain that North­ern lead­ers cre­ated Boko Haram as a North­ern en­ter­prise to make Nige­ria un­govern­able for Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan. Be­sides the ir­ri­ta­tion, this must rank as the height of ab­sur­dity.

First, Jonathan has not been gov­ern­ing be­fore Boko Haram, and so there is no need for Boko Haram to make the coun­try un­govern­able for him. Nige­ria has been un­governed not be­cause any­one is mak­ing it un­govern­able but be­cause its ef­fec­tive gov­er­nance is be­yond the ken of Jonathan and his team.

Sec­ond, proof that the cri­sis hasn’t proved such a bother as will ren­der the polity un­govern­able for Jonathan in the man­ner they mean is best seen in the fact that these peo­ple are even able to dance with so much fan­fare and mer­ri­ment right af­ter one of the deadliest ter­ror at­tacks.

Third, if Boko Haram is cre­ated to make the coun­try un­govern­able for Jonathan, its pri­mary tar­get will have been Abuja, the seat of gov­er­nance or La­gos, the seat of cor­po­rate gov­er­nance.

Fourth, since it is sup­posed to be a North­ern plot against a South­ern pres­i­dent, its tar­get should have been in the South; and in­stead of Borno, they should have hit Bayelsa, to take it home to him.

But it may have been a Bun­bury for some; and out­siders have good rea­sons not to be left out of the ac­tion. Be­cause of the Mid­dle East cri­sis, which, by the way, is an Is­lamic and not Arab prob­lem, there is no Mus­lim land that is not anti-Amer­i­can; but the anti-Amer­i­can­ism in North­ern Nige­ria comes in its spe­cial vir­u­lent class. The mag­ni­tude of their em­pa­thy and the mus­cu­lar­ity of their in­volve­ment owe a lot to the fact that Nige­rian Mus­lims are among the least sec­u­larised in the Mus­lim World. And be­cause of some pop­u­lar mis­con­cep­tions of Mus­lim pop­u­lar cul­ture as­pects of the an­tiAmer­i­can­ism, and much of the mode of their re­ac­tion to the in­ter­na­tional con­di­tion, may not be en­tirely jus­ti­fied or even ap­pro­pri­ate.

But, all the same, this, cou­pled with the fact Borno and much of this so­ci­ety has stub­bornly re­fused to em­brace the jean cul­ture and dump the flow­ing bab­bar riga, that is more than enough to cause real con­cern in some quar­ters. The choice of Borno is in fact, not an ac­ci­dent, or a hap­haz­ard act-nor is it the first time that it will be cho­sen. If Borno’s over­land Hajj route and writ­ing of lo­cal lan­guages in the Ara­bic script were not ac­cept­able to early twen­ti­eth cen­tury im­pe­ri­al­ism, this mea­sure of Is­lamic in­ter­na­tion­al­ism, es­pe­cially its be­ing the world’s Qur’anic cap­i­tal, so to speak, will be even less ac­cept­able to the glob­al­ism of the twenty first. And if hearts and minds can­not be won, they can be weaned, or can they?

Mean­while, the so­lu­tion to this cri­sis will not be found un­less North­ern lead­ers take their roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties se­ri­ously enough, in­clud­ing that of telling truth to power. Many peo­ple, who ini­tially crit­i­cised the con­fer­ence out­burst of His High­ness Al­haji Barkindo Aliyu Mustapha, Lamido Adamawa, not for not be­ing true but for al­low­ing his ut­ter­ance to sur­prise those ex­pect­ing the tra­di­tional North­ern royal stiff up­per lip to be main­tained at all times, have now come round to agree­ing with his style.

If North­ern politi­cians who have made a ca­reer out of ly­ing in the name of the peo­ple have de­cided to keep a stud­ied, fright­ened and fear­ful si­lence as their peo­ple are daily killed in their hun­dreds, this shouldn’t e sur­pris­ing. If re­tired North­ern mil­i­tary lead­ers have kept mute and failed to of­fer lead­er­ship, that will be dis­ap­point­ing. The ques­tion is: will the tra­di­tional in­sti­tu­tion also al­low it­self to fail? If it does, to whom then should the peo­ple in their hour of an­guish turn?

The Lamido had shown that with a lit­tle courage and in­de­pen­dence, ef­fec­tive lead­er­ship could be given. And if he could per­suade ten of the lead­ing Emirs and Chiefs to meet and de­lib­er­ate on the cry of their peo­ple and their sus­pi­cion that their govern­ment had a hand in what was hap­pen­ing to them; or that their govern­ment had adopted such a laid­back ap­proach to gov­er­nance that rene­gade el­e­ments and for­eign forces had taken con­trol of se­cu­rity and tar­geted the North East for starters. If they could do this, some­thing would be done by the govern­ment whether the plot was hatched in Tel Aviv, the DGSE or at Lan­g­ley.

But, what ex­actly has been hap­pen­ing? If govern­ment is not the spon­sor, at least has it been re­ally se­ri­ous about the fight to un­cover those be­hind it and stop the killings, some­thing it will be re­luc­tant to do if it is the spon­sor? So far, for five years, se­cu­rity forces have been un­able to crush Boko Haram or block their sup­ply route. With­out any un­solved lo­gis­ti­cal prob­lems, they seem to be get­ting all they ask for. Who is fi­nanc­ing them— and why? Who is arm­ing them with all those heavy ar­ma­ments—and how? And in spite of all the fuel scarcity in the coun­try, who is fill­ing the tanks of their many con­voys, with 30-50odd ve­hi­cles in a sin­gle con­voy? And how can such a large at­tack force move with­out de­tec­tion, co­or­di­nate its ma­noeu­vres with­out dif­fi­culty, launch at­tack with­out let or hin­drance, evac­u­ate with­out any prob­lems, and re­turn to base with­out be­ing ap­pre­hended—all this with­out tele­phone con­tact and un­der emer­gency? The Ad­mi­ral has a point.

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