Monday, 30 April 2012

Hard View (Who Benefits?)


So, the National Security Adviser, Owoye Azazi, thinks that the current offensive unleashed by the phantom menace, Boko Haram is a premeditated blueprint carefully coordinated by specific Northern elements slighted by President Jonathan’s ignominious decision to dishonour the gentleman agreement for power shift that the ruling party had by contesting the 2011 and possibly the 2015 elections? At least that’s what I think he meant last Friday when he addressed the South-South Economic Summit in Asaba by blaming PDP and its zoning formula for the current insecurity in the country.

If Mr Azazi’s explanation on this matter reminded you of the kind of statements that our First Lady would ordinarily make but with better diction, you are not alone. For several days since his statement, I was completely perplexed as to why the most senior security officer in the land would make such an exact declaration at the time and the place that he did. I mean, hear I was thinking that this kind of information was sort of sensitive, classified and not supposed to be revealed publicly until a solution had been reached. But, in all honesty, it really did seem as if the Chief security officer was genuinely frustrated at what seems to be his interpretation and indictment of Northern efforts to scuttle President Johnathan’s administration.

Apart from what looked like a rather contradictory and injurious homily, it was disappointing for a nation that houses 250 different ethnic tribes to be confronted with a chief security officer that appeared to reinforce the kind of bigoted fantasy and racial canard which he seemed so perturbed about in his speech. By making the statements that he did, in the location he did, at the occasion he did, Mr Azazi cut the same silhouette as the insensitive, dogmatist, provincial elements he accuses of hounding the president.

But that aside, the real issues with the NSA’s statement cuts far beyond the chimerical and capricious conspiracies tailored to fit ethnic validation and primordial interests. For starters, it is imperative at this point for Nigerians to demand a full clarification from the NSA. For the chief security officer of the land to give semi-cryptic messages at a time when Nigerians are being slaughtered about the very thing that is slaughtering them, just does not cut it. It is unacceptable for the NSA to play word games on who he thinks is responsible for the present massacres while at the same time our fathers, mothers, siblings, children, friends and neighbours are being targeted by this unspecified fiend. The statements he made suggest that the security services are well aware of those individuals who are the driving force behind Boko Haram. But if this is the case and if the NSA’s suspicions are authentic, then why are the people in Kaduna, the students in Kano, the children in Maiduguri, the parishioners in Taraba and the pastors in Adamawa living in fear of moving an inch lest they be the next victims? It really is mind boggling that in a country guided by a constitution which declares no one to be above the law, ‘supposed’ known terrorists and conspirators would be allowed to unleash their criminal might at will. Unless the NSA was merely playing guessing games and lending himself to the gallery of the regional machinations we have all heard, then he has a responsibility to expose the names of those he believes are pupating Boko Haram. Better still, he has a duty to arrest them.

Even if Northern political elements were somehow orchestrating the offensive in some warped design of gaining economic and political allowance, as the NSA seems to suggest, the truth of the matter is that the way in which the Boko Haram offensive is playing itself out has got to then be the worst plan ever devised. It would literally be giving a new meaning to the term, ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’. With the kind of acrimony targeted specifically towards the core north by virtue of the Boko Haram attacks, at this rate it is doubtful whether a northern Muslim could win a presidential election in Nigeria today if one were held. The bottom line is that the very fabric of the north is the main entity being destroyed by the offensive. It is the north, its people, its unity, its chances, its existence that is worst affected by Boko Haram. So in that respect, the idea is what? For the north to destroy itself in order to somehow punish President Jonathan? I may not be an expert in Suduko, but somehow that rationale just doesn’t seem to add up. It just doesn’t. If there were a northern force trying to ease out President Jonathan and if they were as powerful and determined as he National Security Adviser suggests, then would it not be easier for them to opt for the Military option? It’s not like they have not done so before.

With no apparent sense of irony, the NSA made these controversial statements about the president’s entry into the political race forming the catalyst that provoked Boko Haram’s current onslaught. He spoke about how the concept of the zoning formula of the PDP nurtured regional grievances. But he said nothing of the actions of the president himself in violating the very zoning formula that the PDP thought would keep peace and a sense of inclusion for the whole country. Mr Azazi spoke of how Boko Haram’s offensive disadvantages the Jonathan presidency, but said nothing of how the region worst hit is the most disadvantaged by the violence. Neither was there any acknowledgement that the violence creates the biggest crevice along religious lines that the northern entity has ever seen; the kind of fracture that can never be for the benefit of the north as one entity, the kind that is certainly not in the north’s interest.

He indicated the notion that after the 2011 elections, aggrieved northern politicians funded, trained and armed the sect in order to hold on to a power that they deem belongs to them. That may possibly be so, but not once did he point towards the likes of the Chief Edwin Clarks, the Tony Aneneihs, whose appetite for remaining in the corridors of power at every cost is probably more palpable than the appetite of those he accuses. The apparent need for such forces to remain in power is no different to the elements that the National Security Adviser says have lost out. And if it’s no different, then that yearn for power that the NSA accuses the north of must be a Nigerian avarice or probably just an African avarice. We bare witness to it everyday when African leaders refuse to vacate office. President Jonathan being a classic example himself!

But in perhaps the grossest pronouncement of condescending, the NSA hinted that the president was a target because of where he comes from and that all those who opposed him do so because of his qualification as a South-South son ruling the country. As a northern Katsina woman who publicly spoke against my own States’ people when the likes of Turai Yaradua and Tanimu Yakubu were acting like cannibals at a buffet of raw meat, that notion is an insult. The majority of Nigerians today oppose President Jonathan, not because he is from the South-South or because he is from Bayelsa state, but because they feel disenfranchised by his government since the fuel subsidy debacle. Nigerians are angry with him because after electing him to power, he has not shown the zeal to protect and unify the nation. He has shown little initiative in bringing to book those that have pillaged this country dry. He shows little interest in guiding us and being the strong leader Nigeria needs.

There is little doubt that there is more than meets the eye in the whole Boko Haram affair. An unknown force with the might and desperation to unleash the most lethal form of destruction must definitely be fuelled from somewhere. But as we get closer to the day when those who are really behind Boko Haram will be exposed, we must be cautious with the accusations and declarations we make.

The one thing I have learnt from this very heartbreaking Boko Haram affair is that no theory is a valid theory because every time one forms reasoning, the next bomb comes and dispels the rationale of it. But the one thing I know for certain, and I know this purely from basic logic, is that whoever is sponsoring Boko Haram is sponsoring them in order to benefit from their actions. So maybe the question we should really be asking ourselves in determining the true face of Boko Haram is not, “Who are those behind Boko Haram?” but instead, “Who benefits from the actions of Boko Haram?” Maybe the National Security Adviser should think about that!

Article Written By Hannatu Musawa
Twitter- @hanneymusawa


  1. The North should accept the fact that the deep differences with the South South and SouthEast of the country can never ever allow peaceful cohabitation again.The North should also face reality that the people of this zones will not willingly allow the North free access to their resources as innthier past, the North should get back to basic education, agriculture and solid minerals and stop looking for how to continue attaching themselves to others or how to save a moribund country. the DISENTEGRATION of Nigeria is in the long term interest of the North and all

    1. Thanks for your comment Mr Michael Ijere. While I fully believe in a united Nigeria and a one Nigeria, if it is to be that the country splits, then so be it Sir.
      Believe me, Nobody is doing anybody a favour by staying as one country. I think if we all get off our high horses and get over the fact that only one region is benefitting at the detriment of the others, we would each be able to see things from a clearer objective.
      I hope it doesnt, but if the DISENTEGRATION of Nigeria is our destiny, then we shall all welcome it with open arms. Thankyou

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  3. Aminu Shuaibu6 May 2012 at 08:31

    @ Michael, it semm you are explicit in your statement regarding disintegration and claimimg of resources. However, as a northerner, I agree with you that north should face basic education, agriculture and co, but dont you think you alone and your resources cannot survive and you have to do exchange for that resources to survive. where were you when the north was feeding the nation with its resources before the oil boom and have you forgotten that the so called resources that the people of SS/SE are claming is now found everywhere including Niger and Chad and in large quantity?
    I suggest we should all accept the blame wen pointed out and put Nigeria first by submitting our personal interest to collective interest.

    1. Thanks for your comment Mallam Aminu Shuaibu.
      I believe in the Nigerian project and for the nation to remain as one, but honestly if we must break up as a country, then so be it.
      What baffles me is the belief people have that the North is somehow scared of the disentegration of the country. If the country breaks up, every region will suffer but each will survive. Thanks