NIGERIAN politicians like to turn every situation into a political game for selfish reasons. That is why the politics surrounding the Boko Haram insurgency is not surprising. In May last year when President Goodluck Jonathan was about to declare a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, in order to enable the federal government deal with a malignant sore that threatened corporate existence of Nigeria, the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, did everything to stop him and read political meanings into the proposed decision. Lai Mohammed, interim national publicity secretary of the party, insinuated that it was a grand plan by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to gain electoral advantage in Borno and Yobe States, controlled by the APC. The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, which is championing a return of the presidency to the north in 2015, also smelt a rat and furiously criticized President Jonathan’s decision. It said the decision of the president to kill a fly with a sledge hammer had some political undertones. Specifically, it saw the emergency rule as a smokescreen under which the president wanted to hide to get back to power at the expense of the north in 2015.
But today, it has dawned on critics of Jonathan’s action that Boko Haram is not a fly going by the sect’s mode of operation. Now, the same critics are accusing the president of not doing enough to curtail the activities of the Islamic fundamentalist sect which has declared total war on Nigeria and Nigerians. Among such virulent critics are the governors of the affected states. Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, has even carried the blame too far with his personal attack on President Jonathan. In his April 16, letter sent to the Northern Governors’ Forum, Nyako accused the Jonathan federal government of committing genocide against the North assuming that all the people killed by the insurgents are only northerners. He alleged that Jonathan, an Easterner, has continued from where his people, who eliminated some Northern elite on January 15, 1966 stopped. According to Governor Nyako, “ the Jonathan administration is bent on bringing about wars in the north between the Muslims and Christians and within them and between one ethnic group and another or others in various communities in the region.” The most ridiculous of the accusations is the inference that the kidnappers of school girls in the region must have had the backing of the federal government for them to be moving about freely with abducted children. Such wild allegations coming from a sitting governor is a manifestation of the loss of political relevance in his state. What he is trying to do is to be seen to be saying something in defence of his people.
Beyond politics, Nigerians are not happy that the Boko Haram insurgency has lasted this long despite the declaration of a state of emergency in the three north-eastern states to deal with the situation. Something must be wrong somewhere. It is either that the president has not mustered enough political will to carry the war to the court of the insurgents or that the security agencies are not confronting the insurgents with one mind. If our intelligence network is not efficient, what stops the president from seeking assistance from friendly countries to track down the sponsors of the insurgents, their sources of funding and arms supply? The sect cannot be defeated if it continues to enjoy steady flow of funds and arms from unidentified sponsors. On the other hand, is the war being fought with outdated weapons? How security conscious are Nigerians? What must the president do in order to bring the insurgents to their knees? These and many other issues are examined in our cover story this week entitled “Security Challenge: The Blame Game Politics” written by Olu Ojewale, the general editor. There is also a companion piece entitled “Direct Victims of Boko Haram Insurgency,” written by Anayo Ezukwe, our dependable reporter. We serve you a potpourri this week. Enjoy it.
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— May 5, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT