Beyond financiers list, blame and wailing
It is a fact that Nigerians are usually made to endure a rocky relationship with the government, be it military or democratic rule.
The All Progressives Party, (APC) earnestly campaigned for change just to distinguish itself from past administrations and the opposition parties. The party and its faithful promised to do things (positively) different and bring Nigeria up to speed in development and good governance.
For this, Nigerians celebrated as the masses hoped for an end to suffering and a better life. But nearly seven years down the reign of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, Nigerians are in a grimmer mood as they see resentment, not problems solved, weakened institutions not improving them, a floating economy rather than stability, heighten insecurity instead of protecting lives and property among other failures of leadership.
However, in spite of killings, kidnappings and the relentless reporting of the atrocities in the media, the government continues in denial that things are going on well. If anything, insecurity has become even more febrile as the days progressed. Yet, at the heart of this troubling situation, was a sudden realisation by the government that some faceless Nigerians are sponsoring the killings. As always, to hide its face from shame, government officials speak from both sides of their mouths. First, it was disclosed that the bandits are foreigners, and now the so-called list of the financiers of insecurity are Nigerians. Of course, the claim of being in possession of the list did not go down well with many Nigerians who were quick to refer to such claims by the government in the past as a ploy to divert public attention and continue to subject Nigerians to distress as insecurity thrives. If indeed, the government had discovered those who have caused the nation severe pain, caused many families to suffer loss and anguish over the death of their loved ones.
What stops the government from prosecuting the terror sponsors than taking the option of media fanfare of what is best considered for now as a ‘ghost’ list. Why is the government dragging its foot to name and shame those unpatriotic citizens behind the destruction of the country? At the moment, the masses are caught at a crossroad of anxiety as insecurity continues to deteriorate the already worse situation in their lives. Indeed, the foregoing are only a few of the terrible things that are likely to happen to the masses if the government remains consistent in fighting the bandits with mere slogans and empty threats. It is said that government has not really come out clean about those responsible for the killings and kidnappings.
Sometime in the not too distant past, the government told Nigerians exactly what is playing out today: that it has the names of those sponsoring Boko Haram. But up till this moment, they are yet to release the names or prosecute those involved. Clearly, if the government has hitherto been sincere in dealing with insecurity, there would have been no need for its game of brinkmanship with the list. Such an attitude to governance is decidedly unhelpful to peaceful coexistence among the people and nations that make up the country. In the eyes of the public, the government is already reeling under a disappointing record when its effort in combating insecurity is measured. One wonders if the newly acquired Tucano jets are meant for the museum. It is high time the facility be put in use and take the battle to the insurgent’s hideouts in the forests and mountains. Again, opinions abound that, unless the government addresses the unemployment issue, kidnappings, cultism, insecurity among others would remain a consistent headache in the society.
With the rapidly developing cauldron of poor leadership, I wonder when Nigerians would be liberated from being victims of our political fallacy. Quite too often Nigerians mistake the noble ideas campaigned during elections as the actual programmes politicians would pursue when elected. Once in power, the programmes are decisively sordid. Yet, the government continues to blame its failure on previous administrations or try to create a false alarm. In this case, the so-called list of financiers of insecurity in the country. In whatever case, the inability to defeat the terrorists is not about the military being incapacitated but the lack of political will. More importantly, aside from their chain of supply and command, one major force behind the terrorists is the constant appraisal from government officials about their weaponry power, daring attitude and superiority. This unpatriotic appraisal must stop.
The other day, while speaking at the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team, Governor Babagana Zulum said “… I think this is the early warning signal. We should not allow ISWAP to grow. ISWAP are more sophisticated, more funded and they are more educated. And we shall do everything to defeat ISWAP, otherwise what Boko Haram did will be child’s play…”
Indeed, the above warning rained riots of questions in my head: first, is the Boko Haram idea and philosophy dead with the killing of Shekau? Is Governor Zulum giving us warning as he called it or rating ISWAP above our military? It is obvious that these lingering comments of terrorism poised to overrun the country have been intent on running down the clock towards achieving the desired victory over insecurity. Indeed, policymakers have to watch their utterances and weigh carefully the political and social implications of their statements. Is it not ironic that, the same government and its officials that underfund or deny the military access to sophisticated equipment like the Tucano jets now complain about our military being incapacitated.
How would the military defeat the insurgents without giving them morals and sophisticated equipment? Insecurity has rendered the majority of Nigerians to be worse off today than 10 years ago. Not only has income fallen but services have deteriorated. The nation has lost its glory on different fronts, education, health care and housing. People have lost hope. They no longer believe their struggle for survival will make a life for their children any better than it has been for them. Many among the masses have lost their ancestral lands and now live in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps. Those who still have home sleep with one eye open because of insecurity.