What Nigeria elders should tell Atiku
Sir: One should start by appreciating the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, for saying that he would persuade all Fulani herdsmen to embrace sedentary form of animal husbandry which is much more profitable than the ambulant type. But should Nigeria not end war against Boko Haram? Should Atiku think of probing Nigeria’s military officers, without probing General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB, the current President) who is the Chief Commander of the Armed Forces? Why must Nigeria rulers not make ending the war against Boko Haram the top priority, rather than how to defeat Boko Haram, which the former President, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan thought, in December 2011, that he could do in six months, but failed throughout his tenure, 2011-2015? When GMB came in 2015, he thought he would defeat Boko Haram in six weeks; here we are in 2019 with Boko Haram still a force to reckon with!
If Atiku is making another promise to deal ruthlessly with Boko Haram by equipping the Army, what that means is that Nigeria is not about to experience peace and progress but continued carnage and economic destruction, which dates back to 2009. The glory of any ruler is in provision of peace for progress and stability, which was what David did for ancient Israel and why the Israelites were praying for another anointed person (Messiah) like him. The Jesus Christ of the Christians was not a ruler like David, and so, could not have been the Jewish expected Messiah; neither did he restore the kingdom to Israel as expected. Indubitably, Jesus of Nazareth was a great messenger of God; a classical Prophet. But, as a political leader, what Nigeria requires of Atiku is to be Nigeria’s expected Messiah, if elected as Nigeria’s President. Jonathan and Buhari pursued the war option with the support of America, Britain and the rest of them; count the losses in human lives and economic resources, 2011 till date.
The Atiku’s promise to equip the Army implies squandering of money on warplanes and sophisticated weapons for continued carnage and little chance to build peace and develop a robust economy. The preoccupation should be peace-building strategies in which the former President, General Olusegun Obasanjo, is a genius. When he used the Army against Odi village that became invested with murderous miscreants, it was justified, decisive and brief. Obasanjo tactically doused the Sharia agitation in the north that was going to tear Nigeria into pieces. May God bless him to guide Nigeria on how to secure national peace? I know it is not possible without religious freedom. It is not possible under Christian and Islamic imperialisms.
The opponents of Boko Haram (abuse of Western literacy to misappropriate and embezzle funds, responsible for the gross underdevelopment of Nigeria and mass abject poverty) demonized as the Boko Haram and visited with governmental terrorism by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Jonathan and GMB, should be reviewed. Nigeria government started attacking Boko Haram that did not attack anybody; how else could the group have responded than through terrorism? Unfortunately, it would seem that too many Nigerians have lost conscientious thinking as the nation is dominated by might is right which led Yar’Adua to attack Boko Haram; Jonathan to take undue advantage of the death of Yar’Adua to truncate rotational presidency; and GMB to be warring against Boko Haram and be protecting the Fulani herdsmen terrorists. Nigeria needs a peace-maker, not another warrior. Atiku should shift paradigm from over-reliance on the Army to constructive peace-building efforts.
Prof. Oyeniran Abioje wrote from University of Ilorin.