By Mike Ozekhome, SAN
A time there was when former president Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan was the whipping child. Many Nigerians flogged him by the bare buttocks, with koboko or bulala, for allegedly allowing Boko Haram fester in the North East. They mocked him. One leading APC leader derisively described him as the “drunken Ijaw man”. He laughed all off, with smiles and affability. Occasionally with humour and guffaw.
THE TECHNICALITY OF A DEFEAT
This government had claimed since 2016, severally, that Boko Haram had been “technically defeated”; “badly degraded”. All that remained, prided the spokesperson, Lai Mohammed, was mere mop-up operations in the Sambisa forests. The government adulated itself; back-slapped one another and vilified Jonathan. They had mouthed lies and inanities that Boko Haram had taken over more than 7 LGAs in Borno state, planted their flags, and refused people passage. Pro-APC and those who bayed for Jonathan’s calm blood did not stop for a moment to consider the plausibility of this theory. Was it sensible?
THE FALSE CONSPIRACY THEORIES
They could not do simple logical analysis or reasoning, to wonder how the presidential election of February, 2015, could still take place in the North East, especially in Borno State, with “land-slide” and “moon-slide” victories for the then APC Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, if Boko Haram had indeed so ravaged the North East that it was unreachable. Reason vacated its seat. Vain gloriousness and falsehood sat on the chair of sanity. Imperiously. Like a proud peacock!
The propagandists were not interested in the truth. What mattered then was that president Jonathan must be hounded out of power at all cost- by hook or crook. What mattered was that Messiah Buhari was coming in, like the lamb of God who “taketh away the sins of the world” (John 1.29). Buhari had promised Nigerians during his electioneering campaigns that economy, corruption, and insecurity would be his principal tripodial concern. He would deal them a death blow. On insecurity, he promised to “lead from the front”. Of course, Nigerians believed him. Why would Nigerians not believe him? Afterall, he was a retired General who had fought during the 3 year bloody Nigerian-Biafran civil war. Why not, when a “bloody civilian”; like Jonathan, could not “tame” the Boko Haram menace that was scorching dear North. Did Nigerians who suffered historical amnesia remember that Buhari once bemoaned the killing of Boko Haram insurgents which he likened to killing “Northern Moslems”?
GOODLUCK JONATHAN: THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB
So, Nigerians were misled, deceived and hood-winked hypnotically, sumnabulistically, to literally kick out Jonathan from office. Jonathan became the sacrificial lamb on the altar of bacchanalian gods and goddesses.
The affable, easy-going “I-had-no-shoes-to-wear-at-the-age-of-10” President quietly conceded defeat even while the votes were still being counted to satiate their over bloated ego. He insisted that his “ambition was not worth the drop of any Nigerian’s blood”. He was ridicled, derided, spat on and even attacked in some parts of Northern States (like Bauchi), where he had gone to campaign. He simply smiled and left, without uttering one word. Here was the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria being stoned at campaign rallies. Not that he did not know. He did. He swallowed it
On December 30, 2014, President Jonathan had received a delegation of Traditional Rulers and leaders of thought from Bayelsa State. Led by the then State Governor, Seriake Dickson, Jonathan had prophetically warned Nigerians thus (premiumtimesng.comnews):
“When I leave office, you will all remember me for the total freedom you enjoyed during my government”.
Then in a picture he posted on August 24, 2017, more than 2 years after Nigerians had been subjected to the most harrowing and asphyxiating experience of grinding poverty, escalated insecurity and mounting corruption (recovered loots were being relooted), Jonathan weighed in again (www.legit.ng):
“I am the most abused and insulted president in the world, but when I leave office you will all remember me for the total freedom you enjoyed under my government”.
Though President Jonathan said he will continue to do his best in solving Nigeria’s challenges, he however said he did not expect praise while still in office; but that his then actions and achievements will only be justified and applauded after he had left office. Has Jonathan not been proved right? Have events not vindicated him? Where are the historical revisionists, bootlickers, grovelers and fawners in this government now, the Buharists and Buharideens. Compare the GEJ era with the PMB era, and tell Nigerians honestly, which is better. Can any Nigerian take up the Holy Bible, Holy Quran or iron, and swear by God, Allah or Ogun, that his life is better today than he was in 2014?
THE CHANGING TIMES
An alleged mere blockade of the Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai passage in Zaria on December 12, 2015, by rallying Shites Islamic group, which led to a gridlock of his convoy, had promptly met with over 348 hundred in cold graves, laden with crimson blood of butchered unarmed and secretly buried Nigerians. Sheik Zakzaky and his wife were promptly arrested. They have been in detention since then, inspite of several court orders for their release. (en.m.wikipedia.org.www.cnn.com). History is good. It exhumes the ugly entrails of the past and splatters your face with them. Today, the story of Boko Haram is painfully worse. The historical revisionists have reached the end of their game of chicanery of mass propaganda that made Adolf Hitler’s Goebbel green with envy in his cold grave. The chicken has finally come home to roost.
The Pandora box has been broken. The dirty skeletons in the white sepulcher have been unearthed and thrown up.
Suddenly, the truth, always as slow as the tortoise and snail, has finally overtaken shear falsehood and multi-layered lies that always run as fast as Hussein Bolt and Ben Johnson combined.
Before Buhari’s government, Nigerians contended mostly with Boko Haram and kidnapping. Today, armed banditry, terrorizing AK-47 wielding herdsmen, rampaging kidnappers, blood-thirsty murderers and other demonic vampirious elements have since taken over the Nigerian space.
THE FINAL REVERSE
Now, the Federal Government has reversed itself. It wines, cringes, swallows now its vomit. Lai Mohammed has suddenly admitted that Nigeria is yet to defeat Boko Haram. (www.premiumtimesng.com). Reacting to the gruesome slaughter of 110 farmers by the terrorist group in Borno, Lai said that the federal government’s counter-terrorism efforts are being hamstrung by insufficient military hardware. Oh, really?
The Minister lamented that Nigeria’s entreaties to its foreign partners for assistance to upgrade its weaponry has not yielded results, hence the country may remain at the mercy of the dreaded jihadist group, which according to him, gets global funding: I thought elements of this same government once prevailed on the international community not to supply arms to the Jonathan government to fight the terrorists.
Lai lamented further:
“Nigeria has made an attempt to acquire a better and more effective platform to deal with terrorists but for one reason or the other we have been denied this platform — these weapons”.
He added: “Without adequate weapons or platforms, we remain at the mercy of terrorists.” But a former United States envoy to Nigeria, James Entwistle, had earlier disclosed that the U.S refused to sell arms to troubled Nigeria due to serious human rights infractions perpetrated by Nigerian troops, an allegation Lai has expectedly denied.
THE CHANGING TUNES
Now, those who shouted “hosanna” for Buhari, and “crucify Jonathan” to GEJ less than 6 years ago, are today singing a new song. The time for pretext is over. The time for historical revisionism is over. Now is the time for hard truth and soul-searching. Conscience, said Usman Dan Fodio, is “an open wound”; only truth can heal it”.
Yes! This was why the former two-term Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, prodded by the gruesome beheading tens of Borno citizens, finally spilled the beans, in a motion he moved at the Plenary Session of the senate on 1st December, 2020. He said over 40 thousand people had been killed in 10 years, with over 2.5 million displaced, by the Boko Haram insurgents. He faulted the Federal Governments position that Boko Haram had been defeated-or-degraded, whether “technically”, militarily, physically, spiritually, psychologically, or otherwise.
“Last weekend’s beheading happened about 20 kilometres away from Maiduguri. From the 1st of January to this day, we have had 2,800 attacks in Borno State, Boko Haram are virtually ruling all our rural areas. They kill and abduct people at will. They are targeting farmers in the North.
Government officials keep saying Boko Haram has been technically defeated. This cliam is not true. The primary responsibility of government is to protect lives and property of the people. Any government that has failed in doing this has lost the legitimacy of the people.
If we allow terrorists to take over North East, that is capable of metamorphosing into something larger Shettima said”
The Senator representing President Buhari’s constituency, Ahmed Baba Kaita, in his contribution, jabbed at his kinsman. He said actions of president Buhari have not produced any results so far. He said if something was not done, insurgents may overrun the country. Listen to him:
“The time of truth has come. The situation is no longer acceptable to any Nigerian. We can’t be mourning our citizens in and out every day. We can’t accept the explanation from those who should do the right thing whenever there is attack. If the statement from Garba Shehu is true (blaming the slain farmers for not getting clearance from troops before going to field), that’s very irresponsible.
“I believe that the situation is facing us eyeball to eyeball. We have to sit down and access the situation in the North East. Something is wrong here. If we allow this to go, we should be ready for another attack soon”. (To be continued). Next week, we shall see to how the Senate tackled this delicate issue.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“Every person in this country is suffering because of bad governance”. (Arvind Kejriwal).
– Dec. 14, 2020 @ 11:47 GMT |