PDP Needs To Tell Nigerians All It Knows About Boko Haram

In a country where the
citizenry do not ask hard
questions, one can commit blue
murder and walk away with it.
In some cases, he can be
garlanded for bravery and
lionized for heroism as we
have become accustomed to
seeing in Nigeria. But a land where citizens do not ask questions
or raise posers and expect convincing answers is dead as heaps
of riddles and jigsaw puzzles pile on each other for space. Such
a country is bound to tolerate anything and live with any given
situation no matter how demeaning. Perhaps, it is the reason
why Nigerians are so adaptive, so tolerant and can manage the
paradox of being the third poorest nation on earth with being
the happiest people on earth.
Let us recall that as soon as Jonathan won the 2011 election
and Boko Haram, either through inaction or tacit support of
Nigerian officialdom, became more bolder and daring, the
reigning song from Jonathan and PDP camp was that Boko
Haram came into being because Jonathan, a Southerner won
election and that some people vowed to make Nigeria
ungovernable for Jonathan. It sounded so sweet to the ears of
the rabid supporters of Jonathan and the PDP as it went viral.
This was irrespective of the fact that Boko Haram predated
the 2011 election and that it became so intertwined to a bloody
war with the state after its leader was killed by Jonathan’s
predecessor who had a firm resolve to wipe out the sect. it did
not even matter to Jonathan and PDP supporters that there
had been fiercer radical groups in the North even under
Northern rule like the Maitatsine and that the objectives of
such groups are founded on radical employment of religion to
sow dread and blood on others. But to them, it was all
targeted at the PDP and this prevailed for a long time.
It was so pervasive that when the late National Security
Adviser, General Patrick Azazi who was a kinsman to Jonathan
released a security report that directly indicted PDP and its
obnoxious politics for the prevalence of the Boko Haram crisis,
no one listened. Hear Azazi in an address he presented at the
South South Economic Summit in Asaba Delta State:
“In discussing the relationship between national security and
development, let me say that one cannot do without the other,”
the NSA said. “The issue of violence did not increase in Nigeria
until when there was a declaration by the current president
that he was going to contest. PDP got it wrong from the
beginning. The party startedhttps://cdncache1-
a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10×10.png by saying Mr.
A can rule, and Mr. B cannot rule, according to PDP
conventions, rules and regulations and not according to the
constitution. That created the climate for what is happening or
manifesting itself in country. Is it possible that somebody was
thinking that only Mr. A could win, and if he did not win, he
could cause a problem in the society?
It was as damning as it was and dealt a rude blow to the
calculations of the PDP and the Jonathan government on Boko
Haram. Because it was not pleasant to their ears, the report
was played down and instead, Azazi was quickly removed and he
was to die soon after in a mysterious helicopter crash in his
native Bayelsa State.
Again, let us recall that a PDP senator, Ali Ndume was arrested
in connection with support for Boko Haram when a senior
member of the sect, Ali Sandar Umar Konduga revealed him as
one of the sponsors of the sect. While Ndume admitted that he
was on a telephone contact with the group. He swore to an
affidavit at an Abuja High Court affirming that Vice
President, Namadi Sambo was aware of his dealings with Boko
Haram. The issue was watered down because it did not add
some rose to the PDP’s calculations on the Boko Haram issue.
PDP knew all these and glossed over them. A nation was to
watch helplessly as Boko Haram grew in reach and stature and
overgrew its limited provincial domain to launch bizarre and
daring attacks on choice targets all over the North. The
Federal Capital was not spared as even the Police
headquarters and the United Nations office in Abuja were
successfully attacked in this era of madness. Curiously too, the
state cowered away and waxed limp as Boko Haram increased
the intensity of its attack.
As government flailed and the nation remained at the mercy
of Boko Haram, PDP and the Jonathan government were busy
composing songs of those that want to use Boko Haram to run
them out of power. They blamed the opposition and the North
for their failure to make any reasonable dent as the group
grew more powerful and audacious and these formed the
official reactions they made on the relentless raid of Boko
Haram on defenseless citizens. Tolls mounted and casualties
swelled but they remained satisfied with the feat they
recorded passing the blame on their opponents.
When the APC emerged from a coalition of legacy parties and
with the verve with which it launched, PDP and the Jonathan
presidency found a pawn for the Boko Haram malady. Instead
of marshalling full force to stop the insurgent’s threat, it was
more interested in labeling APC as a Boko Haram party
fighting a Christian party (PDP) and a Christian government.
Even as APC challenged Jonathan to move in and arrest its
members found culpable in the Boko Haram brouhaha, the
government simply grew numb and waited for the next attack
to blame the APC.
Let us recall that it was the involvement of former Borno
Governor, Modu Sherrif in the APC that gave PDP its major
prop to tag APC as Boko Haram and it seemed to work as it
lasted. The quintessential weather cock, Femi Fani Kayode,
running desperately from justice for his corrupt deeds while
serving as minister of Aviation, found it so comforting to
soften the ears of the mandarins in PDP and purchase for him
an acquittal from the clutches of justice, as is traditional with
PDP. It worked for him.
As soon as APC was formed, Modu Sherrif started waxing
conspiratorially uncomfortable about power sharing in the
party and immediately followed this up with the declaration of
intent to join PDP. A shocked nation was to observe that it took
this declaration of intent for the Jonathan government to open
a closed Maiduguri airport, which use was even denied pilgrims
from the state, for the sole use of Sherrif. If this was not
shocking enough, a distraught and aghast nation was to see
their president, who had sounded so sanctimonious about his
opponents’ use of Boko Haram to unseat him, include Sherrif in
his entourage to Chad. When the outcry against this immoral
politics went out, the presidency was to offer a most tepid and
infantile defence to the effect that Sherrif gate crashed into
the president\s meeting with the Chadian president because
he was in Chad when Jonathan came visiting! What a baloney!
But were Nigerians fooled? I doubt it gauging from their
reactions from this suggestive embrace for a man that should
be a social reject and an outlaw. These however merely served
as a precursor to the bombshell from an Australian priest and
a federal government negotiator with both the Niger Delta
militants and Boko Haram. He was to make a public revelation
that both Sherrif and the former Chief of Army Staff who is
now a chieftain of PDP, Ihejirika were behind sponsorship of
Boko Haram. This was not what PDP wanted to hear at that
time and his report was hushed.
These are the untidy puzzles the Jonathan government and the
PDP are battling to fix. With each passing day, these naturally
fall in place and reveal what is emerging as a frightful
scenario that PDP and the Jonathan government know more
than they are telling Nigerians on the Boko Haram issue. We
need full disclosure here. What more, from the very blues, we
are suddenly hearing of the possibility of the release of the
Chibok girls. We are suddenly being treated to happy scenarios
of the Boko Haram insurgents suddenly balking and throwing
up their arms in surrender, even without a fight. We are
suddenly being treated to definite timelines by both Jonathan
and the PDP as to the foreslur of the Boko Haram menace. As
laudable and heartwarming as these are, we wonder why the
coincidence between these sudden gush of relief the nation has
been denied for years with the foreclosure of the presidential
contest for PDP for 2015.
We wonder how this will help arrange the puzzle and give
Nigerians a clearer picture of what really happened. Who
sponsored Boko Haram and for what purpose, who did what and
what really is the game plan. How come, the Jonathan
government has suddenly discovered the Chibok girls to the
extent of making campaign promises of their release? We
remember that our soldiers were bolting with the speed of a
Ferrari at the mention of Boko Haram just some few weeks
ago. Many even fled to Camerouns and Boko Haram which
emerged as a club wielding band of ragamuffins suddenly
became a dreaded sect with such arms and ammunitions that
our military reported being under-equipped in contrast with
Boko Haram. The suddenness with which Boko Haram turned
pawpaw is too swift and mechanical to be credible. We need to
find out how the rouging of Boko Haram and the swiftness of
their surrender fits into PDP’s cold blooded calculations.
Don’t tell me how incredulous it is for PDP to fund and bolster
such groups for political and power retention advantages. It
even happened here some light years ago with the late Abacha
who was busy detonating bombs, killing his opponents and
causing insurrection and turning round to blame his victims for
such acts. If we decide to ignore all the relevant reports about
Boko Haram which almost all indicted the PDP one way or the
other, we will not ignore the fact that as of a sudden, the PDP
is now marshalling the defeat of Boko Haram and the release
of the Chibok girls as winning electoral strategies. I firmly
believe this tallies fully with the opposition’s position that PDP
has been sustaining and fuelling Boko Haram for political gains.
I believe time has come for the Jonathan regime and the PDP
to take up the opposition’s challenge for an international
inquest into Boko Haram. This will clear the air on the emerging
deadly political game that serves as the culmination of the
Boko Haram politics. Before PDP takes up this challenge, they
must tell the nation what they know about Boko Haram and
clear the mountain heaps of indictments trailing it on the Boko
Haram debacle.

Peter Claver Oparah
Ikeja, Lagos.

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