When the former President Goodluck Jonathan was in the saddle in Aso Villa the Boko Haram (BH) armed rebellion cum terrorism was flourishing enough that the fugitive Abubakar Shekau and his misguided followers were taking towns and invading villages up north in Nigeria with reckless abandon nay, relative ease. The Nigerian military machine then was offering little or no resistance as Shekau bared his terrorist fangs basking in the bravado of invincibility. The Jonathanian presidential era, as muddling as it was, was an embattled one — what with mounting security challenges and ubiquitous social discontent across the federation.
Shekau knew that he was dealing with a weak President, one without balls or vision and one chiefly commanding no troops anywhere even though the federal constitution empowered him with limitless powers to ‘kill’ and destroy in order to preserve the territorial integrity of the Nigerian nation-state. But the truth is that GEJ never made any attempt at asserting his authority anywhere even when an Athenian tragedy was metaphorically unfolding without the majesty of the Greek drama. The Bayelsa-born man of extra-ordinary good luck was glad eating his cassava bread, drinking his fish pepper-soup and enjoying the Clintonian Monica in the good-lucky Diezani!
Faced with the BH audacious challenge Jonathan had little or no idea of how to deal with the daily national threat posed by the armed and dangerous Islamic elements. So, upon recommendation, perhaps, from knowledgeable quarters, GEJ went for a new National Security Adviser (NSA) in the person of the retired Col. Sambo Dasuki. Dasuki, a son of Sokoto royalty, upon his appointment, obviously had some novel ideas on how to tackle Shekau and his demented men and women.
But as Sambo was proposing a fresh idea on how to win the war on terror he was also making plans on how to steal as much as possible from the BH lucrative military ‘business’. As an old IBB boy, one of the remaining surviving disciples of Babangidaism Dasuki must have learnt a lesson or two from the ‘evil genius’ on how to swindle a nation. He knew all along the then President’s strenghts (if any) and weaknesses. And contemplated ways of exploiting them maximally for his personal aggrandizement.
Few years ago in 2015 GEJ was deservedly given a red card against the run of play by the ‘Naija’ people fed up with the presidential fumbling and wobbling of a man never destined for serious leadership position, least of all the presidency. And so he fell from grace to grass, soundly defeated by the organized opposition desperate to get rid of the old PDP order. Months after the electoral shellacking the NSA Dasuki was promptly arrested in his opulent Abuja home and detained by the DSS operatives. Since then Sambo has been in detention despite countless court rulings granting him provisional conditional bail but conveniently ignored by the powers that be.
Dasuki was found to have stolen billions of Dollars meant for the purchase of military equipments for the gallant soldiers battling BH in different war fronts. Instead of using the funds to procure the arms and ammunitions as directed Dasuki simply pocketed the money! And during the presidential polls featuring his deposed principal against the then opposition candidate and now President Buhari Dasuki threw the money around for the ill-fated GEJ re-election bid. Like a drunk over-fed Santa Claus on Yuletide revelry Sambo shared some of the largesse among the GEJ loyalists including Reuben Abati and Femi Fani-Kayode.
When you add the ‘Dasukigate’ to ‘Diezanigate’ (the latter involving the former omnipotent Petroleum Resources Minister said to have stolen billions of Dollars from the oil and gas sector) you are presented with a perfect picture of how corruption almost strangulated Nigeria under GEJ. Yet the ex-President was said not to have known how deep-rooted the problem was! While outright impunity reigned supreme he was aloof in a presidency best described as an embodiment of incompetence and mediocrity.
Today however, it is quite unfortunate that many Nigerians who voted out GEJ are now expressing certain nostalgic feelings about GEJism in an atmosphere of general disappointment with Buharism. The ‘messiah’ they thought had come has proven to be an executive non-miracle worker in terms of the transformation of lives hitherto envisaged. The Buhari magic, like in 1984/85, has not yet played itself out. Perhaps due to old age or lack of energy or whatever President Buhari may end up being a President that came, saw but never conquered like the rest before him.
When he came to power in a blaze of glory some years ago he dutifully declared war on BH courageously as any other patriotic retired General would. And the war was going very well until the sudden arrival of military ‘businessmen’ or their cronies who saw a huge opportunity worth exploiting to boost their economic well-being. Nigerians are generally smart whenever or whereever they smell money! Yes, it is in our national character!
The recent mass abduction of over a hundred girls from Dapchi town in Yobe state by the BH violent sect had led to some insinuations in certain quarters about how the Buhari regime had demonstrated some complacency in the opprobrious episode that instantly evoked the sad memories of Chibok and how Shekau had deviced an unbeatable strategy of using such kidnappings to rake in millions of Dollars. In this lucrative venture of terrorism it is no retreat no surrender as filthy lucre remains the major reason of involvement.
The breaking news online had it that the kidnapped Dapchi school girls have been released by the BH Islamic sect in exchange for the liberation of some detained BH combatants and millions of Euros paid as ransom! The Buhari regime was alleged to have shelled out some millions of Dollars to ice the ‘cake’ of the negotiations that finally led to the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls. And now we are being told that millions more were given to the terrorists before reaching an agreement that led to freedom for the Dapchi girls. Aside from giving them back some of their henchmen being held.
Pray, how could Nigerians (especially parents of the ‘raptured’ damsels) be made to understand the reports online that hours before the BH invasion some security operatives posted to the affected town were withdrawn inexplicably? Who ordered their withdrawal and why? Was it true that valid information went out to the security forces prior to the abduction happening without anything being done to counter the effort of the terrorists? Or does it then mean that the weaker sex among us (women, girls, especially students) are not safe any longer in their campuses or colleges? Whither education? Boko Haram, if this scenario is real, must have won the ‘war’ against Western education, something they are up against!
While it gladdens our hearts that the Dapchi girls have regained their freedom we must interrogate the system that made it possible for them to be bundled out of their dormitory in the first place. Like Chibok Dapchi had left the federal government exposed to founded or unfounded accusations that inside the military or para-military establishments there are spies or informants working in cahoot with Shekau and his brain-washed commanders. That Shekau has thus far evaded capture (despite the dangled paltry 3 million Naira reward for any information leading to his arrest) has shown that he must have had some active or passive collaborators inside the Buhari regime or the military hierarchy.
Evans, the arrested and detained billionaire kidnapping kingpin, succeeded for many years in his nefarious obscene business, even while living opulently in Lagos, because he had some paid agents within the police and military forces. Some of them had been apprehended and some others are still at large! Yet Evans could be considered a lesser criminal compared with Abubakar Shekau — a mass murderer, arsonist, rapist and abductor. If Evans could be caught despite his well-oiled security network (and now being tried for his numerous crimes) then Shekau must be found, fixed and finished. If the FBI and the CIA in the United States could diligently track the late Osama Bin Laden of the Al Queda 9/11 fame for almost a decade and brutally eliminating him in a decisive commando dawn raid in far-away Pakistan then Shekau, unless he is a ghost, must be made to face the justice system. It is not enough for us to be told that he now disguises himself as a woman wearing hijab!
When the late Lawrence Anini, the executed terrible armed robber in Benin city, was terrorizing the ‘Bendelites’ he was able to beat the security network trailing him because the late George Iyamu, a high_ranking cop, was aiding and abetting the Anini/Osunbor gang — supplying them with classified information and arms and ammunitions. When Anini was standing trial he shocked the world by telling Iyamu that he was a blatant liar as the latter was struggling to save his head having been found to be an accomplice of the notorious bloody robber.
The Boko Haram insurgency has endured for years because there are unpatriotic elements, fifth columnists et al, working hard to sabotage the government’s valiant efforts at tackling the national menace posed by BH. The sooner the government looks inwards for those within the administration sympathetic to the BH cause and making money out of our collective grief the better for our collective security. It is about time we end the Boko Haram ‘business’ for us to concentrate on national development.