From Ejike Chinedu, Abuja
The National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, a retired army colonel, in proposing the postponement of the general elections, was emphatic that six weeks was what is needed to bring insurgency to the barest minimum. This election was technically fixed four years ago when the last election was concluded. Realistically, INEC made available a timetable for the conduct of the election before November last year. Throughout that period, it didn’t seem to be so important to wage a full scale war against the insurgents. Blame game and accusations were priority. Excuses upon excuses was pleasing to authorities.
When I heard about the bombardment of the “dreaded Sambisa Forest” by the army, I was nostalgic for me. After the kidnap of the school girls from Chibok, the Army claimed that they were held in the forest. Over 300 days after, the forest has been raided and cleared. I am waiting for the number of girls rescued in the operation.
Now, with one week to an election that the whole country and indeed the world at large have waited for, Col. Dasuki, speaking for the Federal Government or so it seemed, will not allow the election to hold because 14 out of 774 local government areas in the country are under seige.
As much as all Nigerians will want to see an end to the reign of terror in the country, a few may be wondering how six weeks will be enough to do what have been impossible to achieve in not less than two years.
From 2011 when the activities of Boko Haram took a different dimension, many Nigerians went around with a belief that some individuals were behind the heinous crimes of looting, mass killings, abductions, total destruction of people’s lives being carried out by the insurgents. General Muhammadu Buhari was singled out for the title of the KING OF BOKO HARAM. He was accused of promising to make the country ungovernable because he lost the 2011 Presidential election. Those who know better are aware that the statement of making the country ungovernable was part of the tussle for the PDP ticket during the last election.
Many other northern politicians at one time or another shared in that suspicion of sponsoring Boko Haram. In fact, the allegation that some politicians are funding and guiding the terrorists became an easy channel of excusing away responsibility.
In May, 2013, President Jonathan relying on section 305 Subsection 1 of the Constitution, which empowers him as the chief security officer of the country to declare a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. Though at that time, many close watchers of government activities wondered why Plateau state was not included in the list. Plateau had witnessed an equal share of deaths in attacks by yet to be identified gunmen. They were generically referred to as “Fulani herdmen”.
On two occasions, President Jonathan sought and got six months renewal of the state of emergency. So by November 2014, The Military had been in absolute control of security in the three states worst hit by the activities of insurgents for one and a half years.
Within this period, few items were constant on the report card of the operation: Mass killings, mass abductions, sacking of communities, dislodging of army operational base by the insurgents, dismissal of police training base, establishment of “Islamic state”. About 14 local government areas were taken over by the terrorists.
Right now, the Nigerian army have found a new energy and spirit to end insurgency. The Federal Government is talking tough, making clear-cut pronouncements on when Boko Haram activities will end. The questions many will want to ask is Who has really been using Boko Haram for political gains? Who are those benefitting from the “sharing of blood” of the helpless and poor people of the region? Who has planned and orchestrated the right time to begin and end terrorism in Nigeria? Who has controlled the forces of human science in ensuring that the embers of bitterness in fanned to deepen the divide among the peoples of the country? Who sacrificed thousands of citizens, those who died and others whose livelihood have been completely destroy just to be seen as a super hero?
After the elections, Nigeria will remain.