THE POLITICS OF BOKO HARAM – How Jonathan Sacrificed 15,000 Lives For Re-Election Bid

By on March 4, 2015

Mst people understand that politicians will always find ways to get an edge over their rivals, particularly in a hotly contested environment like Nigeria. However, when the ‘politicking’ gets to a level where thousands of lives of the citizens are being sacrificed in a misguided effort to demonize opponents, then all right thinking people must step up and shout ‘foul!’

Sadly, it appears that the long drawn Boko haram insurgency that has claimed lives of many innocent people, is one of such criminal games that some of our political leaders, particularly the ruling PDP Party and our President, have been playing.

As the Presidency, and its military officers, ‘suddenly’ found the heroic energy to fight and decimate Boko Haram in less than 2 weeks, when they have previously been unable to stop the Boko Haram carnage in the North for over 4 years, the question begs itself: Why has our President waited this long? Why did he wait for over 15,000 people to die before taking the insurgency very serious? Why did it take the postponement of an election for our president to get his groove in the fight against this terrorist organization?

It is really very heartbreaking to watch President Jonathan wait over 4 years, and over 15,000 deaths later, before deciding to tackle the issue of Boko Haram.

To quote Nasir El-Rufai, a northern leader,  “We still have the same President. The same Government. The same Party (pdp). The same Nigerian Military. The same Boko Haram. The same Sambisa Forest. They are winning the same battle now within 2 weeks; now that Mr president and PDP need our votes at all cost. This is the same battle they were unable to win for over 5 years because they didn’t need anything from us. Over 15,000 people have been killed; Lots of dollars worth of properties destroyed; Several million people rendered homeless; Women were raped, children orphaned, over 200 Female school girls were kidnapped in Chibok and over 59 school boys slaughtered in FGC Buni Yadi. WE ARE NOT FOOLS”

It would be recalled that on October 1 2011 the first bomb ever went off in Abuja. A radical militant group based in the Niger Delta claimed responsibility. But President Jonathan without clearing from the security agencies went on air to deny the involvement of this same group that claimed responsibility. Then, the question on everyone’s lips was: how did Mr. President get to know that the group was not responsible for the act? Is Mr. President the leader of this organization to have known their plans? And whose authority was he speaking for the group?

Not long after that, Nigeria began to witness multiple cases of bombings that targeted civilian population. From here, a group known Boko Haram became a permanent feature of our national engagement.

Then all men and women of good conscience got involved in finding solution to this menace. All to no avail. Prompting questions from those who are experienced in handling such security matters. One such expert was quoted as saying that “if insurgency last beyond 24 hours government is involved”. He was making reference to a statement that has been credited to the late former Head of State Gen Sani Abacha.

In the raging confusion, the then National Security Adviser to President Jonathan, Late Owoye Azazi, Niger Delta origin and Ijaw man like Mr President said on national Television to the surprise of all, that the internal squabbles in PDP produced Boko Haram. Alluding to the fact that the ruling party of which President Jonathan is a critical stakeholder knows about Boko Haram.

Shortly after that revelation, the man was sacked. Not long after that, he died in a mysterious circumstance in a Helicopter crash along another perceived disobedient member of PDP, after attending the burial ceremony of the mother of one of the close associates of President Jonathan. That was how Nigeria lost one of its brightest citizens, Gen. Owoye Azazi.

While the nation was grappling with all that, Boko Haram began taking over territories in the North Eastern Nigeria. Between then and now, Nigeria has lost over 15,000 citizens to this blood thirsty terrorist groups. Many of them women and children.

Now the number of internally displaced persons has gone up to almost four million, with hundreds of thousands fleeing to nearby countries where they are now refugees.

This group who have acquired sophisticated weapons and machineries have gone on take territories, kidnapped school girls, close down schools and slithered children in their sleep while President Jonathan and his cronies where in their comfort zone dancing skelewu music.

Rather than take responsibility, President Jonathan has continued to play hide and seek. What is more baffling is that President Jonathan has been nonchalant about all this happenings, preferring to blame the opposition and every other persons except himself. At a time he blamed past leaders and lack of military hardware for the persistence of this crisis.

Meanwhile in the last four years close to 5 trillion was budgeted for security. Yet, President Jonathan refused to do something about the plight of our citizens of the North East.

Just a few weeks back, realizing that he is about to lose election on the account of his corruption , insecurity and incompetence, President Jonathan through the pleasure he mounted using his service chiefs forced INEC to postpone election, so that he can get six weeks to clear the mess that he created by himself.

Just within two weeks, the military have recovered over 30 communities from the insurgents. Again Mr President was able to visit many of these places that he refused to visit in times past; just because he wants to win election.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said the president bears a huge moral responsibility that would haunt him for a long time to come for deliberately allowing the Boko Haram insurgency to fester, leading to the deaths of over 15,000 Nigerians and the displacement of over three million others in the past six years.

On the military, APC said the string of victories recorded by the troops over the insurgents had confirmed its stand that the Nigerian military can hold its own anywhere and anytime, if provided with the necessary equipment and if the morale of the troops is not undermined.

It said by his own admission that he and his team “underrated the capacity of Boko Haram”, the president has finally owned up to his globally-acknowledged incompetence, a development which, in truly democratic societies, should be part of a statement of resignation by a leader whose terrible error of judgment has caused so many deaths and inflicted so much pain and sorrow on his compatriots.

APC said: “The truth is that Jonathan deliberately allowed the Boko Haram crisis to fester because he and his team saw it as their trump card for winning re-election in 2015 by currying local and global sectarian sympathy with a Muslim-group-killing-Christians narrative that totally distorts the fact that Boko Haram is a band of marauders who have no consideration for ethnicity, regionalism, religion or any other thing beyond their mad disposition to terror.”

It recalled that the APC had raised the alarm on many occasions, including during an appearance at the British Parliament in 2014 when the party’s spokesman had warned that the PDP and the president were using the Boko Haram crisis as a trump card to retain power in 2015.

“Is it not curious that the same president who has stood by while Boko Haram decimates a whole section of the country over the past six years has suddenly realised there is something he could do to crush the sect in six weeks?

“Is it not curious that a military that has been globally acknowledged for its successes in peacekeeping at regional and international levels has suddenly found itself unable to tackle a band of criminals?

“Is it not curious that the necessary fighting equipment that have not been made available to the military, despite the injection of over $32 billion into the defence and security sector since 2008, have suddenly become available?

“There are more questions to be asked: At what point did President Jonathan begin to have a clear idea that Boko Haram is a major threat to the very survival of our country? Was it after about 300 innocent girls were abducted from their school in Chibok or before?

“Was it after hundreds of boys were slaughtered in a secondary school in Buni Yadi or before? Or was it before or after the Nyanya bomb blast that led to the deaths of hundreds of people? Just when did our president wake up to his primary responsibility?

“The truth is that after their Boko Haram-as-a-trump-card strategy blew up in their face and their electoral fortunes plummeted, the PDP-led Jonathan administration came to the realisation that a stepped-up campaign against the insurgents is needed to revive their electoral fortunes, hence they then decided to pep up the military and rally regional troops – the same suggestions from the opposition that the administration has pointedly ignored over the years – to combat the terrorists.

“President Jonathan, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, must take responsibility for the monumental cost, whether of his incompetence or his political strategy-gone-awry or both, apologise to the nation and immediately back down from seeking re-election.

“The president must not be allowed to profit from an error of judgement that has cost 15,000 lives, forced over 3 million out of their homes and cost the taxpayers $32.88 billion.”

APC said while Nigerians would undoubtedly be happy and relieved to see the end of Boko Haram, they must be wondering what would have happened if the plummeting electoral fortunes of the president had not forced his administration to push for the six-week postponement of the general election.

“They must also be wondering what would have happened if the elections had been scheduled for 2016, instead of 2015,” it stated.

The party commended the long-suffering, gallant Nigerian soldiers and called on all Nigerians to continue to support them and the battle against insurgency.

About Dr. Ope Banwo

Dr. Ope Banwo is an Attorney; Pastor; Business Consultant; Author; Motivational Speaker, and Corporate Solutions Provider. He holds several degrees in Law including a Bachelors, Masters and a Ph.D. He was admitted to the Nigerian Bar (1986), New York Bar (1997) and Federal Court of Nebraska (1997) in the United States. Ope Banwo has written several published books on different topics over the years including bestsellers in Christianity; Lifestyle; and Business such as The Kingdompreneur, Overcoming The Gideon Complex, The Kingdom Citizen, The Return of The Prodigal; The Blessings of Adversity; African Internet Business Manifesto; Confessions Of A Guru-Wannabe; Social Media Marketing Genesis; Offline-Online Business Manifesto, Digital Marketing Without Tears For Company Executives etc. Deeply committed to public service and service to humanity, Dr Ope Banwo has also initiated several public initiatives including the Ghetto Dreamz Foundation to empower economically-disadvantaged Youths; The Omega Wealth Club to teach youths legitimate ways to employ themselves online; The Kingdompreneur Academy to impact Christians in Business and the Nigerian Market Ombudsman to ensure transparency, accountability and fairness in the market place.

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