] Olaoye] Wole Time to roast the vulture
The vulture is the ultimate cheat. It feeds on everything but nothing and nobody feeds on it. Patiently it stalks the weary sojourner in the desert, waiting for that moment when the body can no longer hold the spirit prisoner - and then it circles round in a dance of death which attracts its kin before swooping down de-flesh this latest offering.
In many ways the terrorists ravaging the land are like the vulture. They trade in death; they’ll die if they must in the process of depopulating a targeted area. They kill at will. But the society has not yet reached that stage of depravity that would make us, the victims, behave like them. They are as patient as the vulture. They lie in wait for their target to soften up in a false sense of security and then detonate their instruments of death. Our grief is their joy. While we wail in inconsolable sorrow, they ululate and hi-five.
While the merchants of death conquered territory after territory and even sacked a military barrack, we resorted to the blame game, playing politics with human tragedy. While over 200 of our female students were abducted by these terror dispensers we started circulating all sorts of conspiracy theories, some indicting the Jonathan administration and others demonising prominent politicians from the northern part of the country. So, terror festered while we bickered.
I am not one to blame the victim. Every Nigerian outside the tiny terror caucus is a victim or a potential victim. If your family hasn’t been hit yet, it is because it is not yet your turn to harvest mangled bodies as programmed in the calendar of terror. You may be a Muslim or Christian or Hindu or Orisha worshipper; as long as you don’t subscribe to the philosophy of hate which propels the killers, you are fair target in their warped worldview.
Mercifully, we are beginning to grow up. It has dawned on the political elite that they may soon have no country to haggle over if the terrorists have their way. There is now a general realisation that this particular evil has nothing to do with Islam. Maybe I’m circulating in the wrong circles, but I am yet to meet a single Muslim who believes in the genocidal worldview of Boko Haram. It is therefore fitting and proper that true Muslims have been speaking up of recent.
More people need to speak up as canvassed by Leadership columnist Abba Mahmood: “No amount of money can be spent that would destroy the image, reputation, integrity and good name of Islam and Muslims like what is happening now, which is ascribed to the Boko Haram insurgency, is doing. No propaganda could tarnish the religion of Islam and all its believers worse than the terrorism that is being perpetrated in Nigeria, supposedly in the name of the religion. We know that this is not Islam. We know that only the disciples of Lucifer can do this… Why are the Islamic leaders keeping quiet and not openly countering this?”
Mahmood says it is time all hands were on deck. “Those of the insurgents who are Nigerians ought to be well known to their communities. Their family backgrounds and relatives must be known to the people of these areas. The traditional institutions are so organised that there is no way any stranger could come into any of these communities without being detected by the ward, village or district head. The state and local governments are also the closest to the people. Does it mean all these leaders who are closest to the people have failed?”
Mahmood has a soulmate in Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State who recently declared: “We must protest seriously against the sycophants who hide under religion to perpetrate evils in our land; it must be done nationwide. We reject everything that Boko Haram represents. Our religion rejects everything these evil characters project in the name of Islam. We must not be silent, because Boko Haram represents evil.”
Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, speaking at the book festival in Port Harcourt, did a methodical disquisition of Boko Haram and global terror. He is stunned that a military installation could lie prostrate before the terror machine of Boko Haram.
“An army that remains in the barracks even when assailed by enemy forces is clearly no army at all, but a sitting duck”, he says. “We cannot recommend that we all sign up and join the uniformed corps as they make their rescue sorties into caves and swamps in the forest, not only to destroy the enemy but now, primarily, to rescue our children who were violently abducted from their learning institutions to become – let’s not beat about the bush, let us face the ultimate horror that confronts us, so we know the evil that hangs over us as a people – to become sex slaves of any unwashed dog. Those children will need massive help whenever they are returned to their homes.”
“To remain in denial at this moment is to betray our own offspring and to consolidate the ongoing crimes against our humanity. There is no alternative: we must take the battle to the enemy. And this is no idle rhetoric – the battlefield stretches beyond the physical terrain. We are engaged in the battle for the mind – which is where it all begins, and where it will eventually be concluded. ”
The recent enlarged National Security Council meeting is but the beginning of what should be a new direction in the fight against terror in Nigeria. The old ways have failed. Let’s overhaul the security infrastructure in the land. There is already a cacophony of voices of self-styled security experts jabbing the airwaves Hollywoodstyle as if the subject under consideration is the Super Bowl. We should all back the president on this one. Boko Haram is our common enemy. We can play politics later. We can even ditch Jonathan when he presents himself for re-election in 2015. But right now, he deserves all the support we can give him because in this war his failure is our collective failure. Next week, I shall be looking at how we can overhaul our security apparatus. Send in your suggestions if you have any. Get kicking; it’s time when to roast the vulture.