Boko Haram: A Hand of Esau And The Voices Of Jacob By Adekoya Boladale

Most people who desire happiness and life of bliss in
Africa have over the years chosen Nigeria as a tourist
destination. The serene but bubbling atmosphere of
Lagos, the commercial capital gives a natural sense of
alertness and the feel of life with multitude passing you
by every minute heads positioned North moving in a
fast pace that suggest they are jog-walking, the hill top
of the ancient city of Abeokuta in Ogun state (a border
state to Lagos) where the historic mountain called
‘Olumo’ rock lies, the Ikogosi warm spring in Ekiti state
beneath which the mystery of the cold and hot water of
Mother Nature meets, the Argungu river in Kebbi state
which holds a muddy surface but houses some of the
biggest beasts of the river, the welcoming and
hospitable sense of freshness of the Obudu Cattle ranch
in Calabar, Cross River, the melodious rhythm of the
Vuvuzela flowing with the windy atmosphere of the
North, and Borno State, the adjoined home of hospitality
with a mother nature landscape posing with open arms
waiting to feel the subtle embrace of her child.
But all these are gone now, the joy and fun they have
taken away from us. The calm and peaceful country of
Nigeria formerly ranked the second happiest country in
the world, the notable home of peace to many have
suddenly become a den of bitterness and grief.
Nigeria is now a nation mapped in fear, a country so
large but yet so weak. Agony, pain and frustration have
suddenly taken over the beautiful smiling face which
was once our signature note for hospitality. Countrymen
and women living in absolute fear, minds buried in high
alertness and mistrust for each other, everyone is a
suspect. No one can tell, no one can predict when and
where the next bomb explosion will take place. So many
have been thrown into perpetual insanity as a result of
the continuous traumatization propelled by unending
massacre of friends and family. The race to dodge stray
bullets, the swift move to escape RPGs, the jump
against machetes and cutlass. These and many more
are the reoccurring decimal in the day to day lives of
men, women, boys and girls, old and young Nigerians in
the Northern part of the country.
Boko Haram, a small group of young men who were just
members of a community pressure group, never
attended defense academy in Sandhurst or Zaria have
suddenly metamorphosied into our Achilles heels.
So, how on earth did we get here? What changed? What
happened? What did we do? What did we not do?
Understanding the advent of terrorism in Nigeria is
understanding Nigeria itself, beneath the pretence of
happiness and joy lies a country soaked in disunity,
mistrust and hatred for one another. The South have
never trusted the North, Muslims have never loved
Christians. Just a group of individuals without any
social, cultural and economic connection forced to live
together and the fact that we made it this far together
is nothing short of miracle.
While I share the widely acknowledged opinion that the
Nigeria President, Goodluck Jonathan is weak and
clueless on ways to tackle or at least minimize the
activities of the insurgents, I totally believe that the
tales made by opposition politicians on the President’s
direct link to sponsoring this Frankenstein is fallacious,
callous, hateful and mere cheap political propaganda.
I understand that the opposition as the name sound is
to checkmate government activities and excesses with
the motive of exposing and discrediting them to winning
political sympathy and love of the electorate, however, it
is totally inhuman to divert such skill on issues such as
human lives not to talk of lives and properties of
country men and women. Till date the leading
opposition group is yet to give recommendations to
ending the activities of the sect but have in some ways
directed its Governors in the three prone states (Borno,
Yobe, Adamawa) to play the hostility card against
government activities through making unguarded
statements and pointing accusing fingers to the central
government on issues directly within their constituency
with a view of heating up the polity.
Many have advocated for a level-10 full scale combat in
Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. This is logical and
achievable but not in a country such as Nigeria ruled by
a Southern president. Ordering air and land
bombardment with high class sophisticated equipment
on these three Northern states will only flame up the
already mounting regional division within the country.
Northern leaders will not take this gesture lightly as
they will demand to know why same decision was not
meted out to the militants in the Niger Delta. Postures
to this was the call by the Northern leaders for the
suspension of the State of Emergency rule in the region
and clamour for the soldiers to leave the streets while
they continue to push for amnesty, the same treatment
the Southern militants got. In other words, the Northern
leaders see the terrorist activities as a means to liberate
the region from poverty and corner its own share of the
national cake through amnesty and not really focused
on ending terrorism.
Unfortunately President Jonathan with his bunch of yes-
men are not helping the situation. If there is one area
President Jonathan has failed, it is his nonchalant, `i
dont give a damn’ attitude towards the pains and grief
of affected Nigerians. His continuous political
campaigns across the country when his house is
supposedly on fire creates an image of a heartless,
ruthless and wicked individual who is less concerned
about the safety and security of Nigerians. This singular
act is unforgivable and should never be over looked.
The activities of Boko Haram in operation, strategy,
weaponry and implementation over the years have
pointed clearly that the group is under the guidance of a
superior power beyond the shores of Nigeria.
Al-Qaeda, the most deadly terrorist organization in the
world has been linked to directly sponsoring the
activities of Boko Haram. A report by wikileak exposed
the connection between these two groups and reported
a link to United States. Al-Qaeda before the September
11 attack was regarded as a US asset organization, in
fact Osama Bin Laden was said to have lived in Sudan
for a very long time. But how does Sudan, Osama, US
fits into the equation of Boko Haram?
The answer to that puzzle was provided by Ambassador
Bola Dada who served as a Nigerian diplomat in Sudan
when the relationship between Osama and United States
was still cordial. In an interview he granted Punch, a
local newspaper, the diplomat revealed how on several
occasion the then Governor of Zamfara state, Alhaji
Sanni Yerima paid the Al-Qaeda camp visits and even
sponsor young men from the Northern region to train in
the camp. The simple logic then is that since United
States was as at that time still controlling Al-Qaeda
then Boko Haram must have been a pet project of
Langley.
Why Nigeria?
The answer is simple. Africa was becoming the
investment destination of choice, the likes of China and
other countries in Asia are raking in billions of dollars
yearly through trade and Nigeria, the giant of Africa
divinely blessed with abundant natural resources was in
control of its own democratic government with little or
no influence. The truth is that there is a mad scramble
for control of African countries by the super powers to
sustain their downtrodden economy. In the list of Africa
oil producing countries Nigeria is the only nation yet to
be under control. Algeria, the second largest oil
producing country with similar situation as Nigeria had
its supposed revolution cut short when the government
in power threw in the towel and agreed to be a puppet
to France in other to remain in power, Angola the third
largest is under the control of USA, so is Libya, Sudan
and Egypt. It is just like the slave trade all over again!
Why the North?
Looking at Nigeria geographical formation and
development, the Northern part of the country seems
backward, a large population of mostly youth,
uneducated and living in abject poverty. While the
central government should be blamed for this inequality
majority of the problems in the North were caused by
Northern elites. Due to the traditional system of
government still much in place and the misinterpretation
of western education as a competitor against Islamic
knowledge, it was impossible for Northern masses to
demand full accountability from their leaders as the
doctrines of democracy; the rules of Democratic process
together with social responsibilities and civil rights are
not emphatic in the holy books. They see the state
government as a privilege and Governors as sort of
demigods who should not be questioned but rather
praised.
Therefore to create an impactful terror group the
religious, regional and ethnic factors must be tailored
around a group that seems to represent the traditional
ideology of the North, portray a radical understanding of
Islam and is capable of winning the sentiment of
average northern youth. A pointer to this was the
welcoming gesture Boko Haram received from
Northerners at the beginning of their campaign before
they started turning the trigger to helpless individuals.
In fact Boko Haram was seen as a liberation movement
against Southerners in the North and due to the rate of
poverty and the class difference that exist between the
Northern masses and their elites, it was easy to get
manpower provided cash incentives was available. So
majority of the youth who joined Boko Haram believed
they are killing two birds with a stone; fighting Jihad for
Allah and at the same time having income to make ends
meets.
What does US stand to gain?
Like the colonial era, the main cause of colonization is
for economy power. United States is engulfed in fiscal
deficit with high rising debt to China but Africa and
especially Nigeria has more than enough wealth and
majorly untapped resources with immense riches in the
hands of the rulers that lack knowledge of how to spend
it. This is what United States needs. The mission is
simple; create a terror force that will force the
government to its knees, ignite the tension in the
country with cruel activities against humanity. Like the
Arab spring prototype, render the government inactive
therefore creating room for civil unrest and mass
protests, this will continue till the election period which
result will favour the government and against what is
believed to be the will of the people. Then after months
of uprising the United States comes in to negotiate a
new democratic election, one that will enable them put
a puppet in place.
Curbing Boko Haram is not going to be a tea party; the
wake of insurgency in Nigeria has been a source of
profit to lots of individuals and elements within and
outside the Nigeria public service. The Governors of the
affected states have tapped into the rave by becoming
relatively inactive. While budgets are periodically been
passed and funds released those funds have not
translated to physical projects, in layman terms;
corruption is encouraged. Before the advent of Boko
Haram security occupies a lesser priority on the budget
list but within the last three years the security budget
has risen up to 25% of total budget allocation.
This means more money to the potbelly security chiefs
and more attention to the armed forces; now tell me
who will pass over that? Insurgency has also created an
ample market for arms dealers within and outside
Nigeria, with increase in demand for Armored Personnel
Carriers (APC), RPGs, Anti-aircraft missiles not to talk
of tonnes of AK47 rifles. Will these warlords suddenly let
go of this new found sector?
Who then do we turn to for help? The Nigeria military is
compromised. Our men in camouflage have simply
joined the beast with reports of military men arrested
offering training and support to Boko haram. Should we
turn to the west again, where aids and assistances are
never given out freely on a platter of gold?
Nigeria is in turmoil and those who can save it are
Nigerians and African countries. While the government
must work out frame work to minimize poverty and
unemployment especially in the North, the African Union
(AU) must as a matter of urgency move both economic
and military power to help Nigeria. China and other
countries of the world benefitting from this government
should offer unconditioned assistance.
Finally, President Jonathan at this perilous time requires
the trust and support of the people; unfortunately he is
not a man that merits such. The president is far from
the people he leads. You can’t support corrupt officials,
cook up defence for crooks, grant pardon to convicted
godfathers, lie to the people and expect public opinion
to rally round you. The first element of public office is
trust and when you lose that then there is really nothing
to lead for.

Adekoya Boladale wrote via adekoyaboladale@
gmail.com . Twitter is @adekoyabee

Adekoya Boladale is a political scientist and scholar on
good governance, a social commentator and consultant
on political and intra governmental affairs. He is the
Convener, Advocacy for Better Leadership (ABEL),
Nigeria.

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