AFTER he was sworn in on Friday, May 29, President Muhammadu Buhari acknowledged why he was hired for the job. Under the previous dispensation, the government had been unsuccessful in dealing with Boko Haram insurgency that has been ravaging the North-Eastern part of the country in the past five years. Not only that. The economy is bad and corruption is eating deep into the fabrics of the nation, thereby turning things upside down for a country that supposed to be virile and prosperous. It is an enormous task ahead. In any case, Buhari knows he has to act fast. The only available option to him was to declare a total war on Boko Haram insurgents because without peace there cannot be economic stability and foreign investment. Hence, in his inaugural address to the nation, Buhari gave his first order as the commander-in-chief of the Nigerian armed forces by ordering the relocation of the command centre to Maiduguri until the Boko Hram insurgence is totally subdued or eliminated.
Although some persons could not rationalise the importance of the relocation, as a retired general, Buhari knows better. For instance, in the 1980s Buhari was decisive in dealing with enemies of the Nigerian state, when the Chadian troops killed some Nigerian soldiers, during the regime of President Hissene Habré. As general officer commanding the Third Division Nigerian Army, a mechanised infantry, Buhari immediately moved his command to Maiduguri, Borno State, from where he pursued the Chadian military to their country to avenge the killing. “Unfortunately for him, (Habré) those Nigerian soldiers were under me,” Buhari joked about the exploit while giving a speech to a Lagos audience before the March 28 presidential election, which gave him the mandate.
He was no less decisive when he was military head of state. Then, the problem was Maitatsine, an Islamic group, causing unrest in the North. The leader of the group had been exiled by the late Ado Bayero, emir of Kano, but then the group resurrected in Adamawa. Buhari said: “I flew into Adamawa as head of state, and that was the last you heard of Maitatsine.” To end the Boko Haram insurgents, Buhari flew to Niger and Chad to meet with presidents of those nations on Wednesday and Thursday. He is expected to attend the G-7 summit in Germany in furtherance of his campaign to get help and cooperation towards dealing with the monstrous Boko Haram.
Against the backdrop of President Buhari’s urgent moves to find solution to the Boko Haram crisis, the Realnews editorial team decided to devote our cover story for this week’s edition of the magazine on Buhari’s Total War on Boko Haram. The story was anchored by Olu Ojewale, general editor.
— Jun 8, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT