Could Boko Be Good?, By Sonubi Tobi Olatunde
Could boko haram denote good? Can it result in anything good for our nation? How can we bring out something good from all this?
The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad (Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, known by its Hausa name Boko Haram figuratively meaning “Western education is sin”, is a terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria. The group has officially adopted the name “the Congregation of the People of Tradition for are translations of Arabic Proselytism and Jihad”
In the town of Maiduguri, where the group was formed, the residents dubbed it Boko Haram. Pointing to the fact that initially the locals identified with it, and didn’t see it as an all-out evil even if some did view it as such. The term “Boko Haram” comes from the Hausa word boko, which is originally derived from a Hausa word with meanings such as “fraud” and “inauthenticity”, and the Arabic word haram figuratively meaning “sin” (literally, “forbidden”). Loosely translated, the name could mean “western education is sinful”, which would symbolize its strong opposition to anything Western, which it sees as corrupting Muslims. sovereignty to God’s law; a belief that they are the “Saved Sect” mentioned in the Prophetic Tradition of Islam; prohibiting studying in Western educational centers of learning because they consider them to be based on non-Islamic traditions and colonialism.
Can Boko indeed be Haram? Obvious taking the world by denotatively boko is haram. Claude ake has argued that development of Africa was never an agenda in the manner with which western education was introduce to Africa (in the pre-colonial and post-colonial era). In this sense every fraudulent education is a sin and still amounts ignorance it is for this this reason that boko is haram. Boko is haram not because technology which is a product of science is bad, or that speaking English is a sin but that because education lased with neocolonialist agenda is evil. Boko is haram when people due to the birth and circumstances beyond their control are indoctrinated for evil in the name of Arabic education or service to Allah. Boko ultimately becomes haram when the Nigerian masses begin to believe the false realities painted by the brain behind this insurgence. That religion, ethnicity and language is more important to Nigerians than their welfare, livelihood and continued existence.
Having said enough about the meaning of the phrase boko haram. Lets now consider the real issues that led to boko haram. As Boyede, in an unpublished work, argues that it would be fallacy to assume that book haram has no religious undertone, or that its chiefly a movement by the poor and dejected, or that it is an attempt by foreigners to undermine Nigeria’s sovereignty while trying to contextualize the insurgence, madness or what name you choose only to the Yaradua /Jonathan administration.
A quick rewind to the dawn of the 21st century, Nigeria was a nascent democracy after a period of 15 years of brutal military rule. The world stood still when she embraced democracy, had sympathizers from all over the globe who urged her on, in her effort to accomplish her manifest destiny i.e the leadership of the black people all over the world. Her population was a staggering 120 million and was battling with problems which were a fallout of a hydra facetted causes. There were questions of corruption, education, scarcity, paucity of social amenities, social tension related with ethnicity and religion, and a gamut of politicians under various gamps.
Fast forward 10 years and there was the birth of suicide bombers, proliferation of harms, lies churn out from everywhere that mattered (propaganda) and more importantly many more folds of the initial problems at the dawn of the millennium. We had government ministries who did less and spent more, citizenry who decided for inexplicable reasons to demand less and pay more and the international community who turned its blindside to the injustice, insalubrious rivalry and insanity that pervaded not just Nigeria but indeed the rest of the African continent.
The boko haram in its incessant attacks have explored varietal means, all to achieving no aim but terror; as such the justification of the name terrorist. However the discordant network of attacks isn’t explained in a form of systemic flow of command reminiscent of the erstwhile guerilla attacks, civil war, but rather in detached and uncoordinated havoc on the Nigerian people and the state as an institution. This has being explained by some as the franchise of boko haram.
The benignity of the terror and the opportunity in this siege can be summed up in our response to the insurgency and approach to the extremism.
First, the ghost of Udi and the victories of amnesty to militants have taught us that we can destroy our enemies by making them our friends. That we can achieve more by honest and sincere deliberations noting that honesty in this sense cannot be over-emphasized. It is with this view in mind that the Nigerian states must thus engage itself in a dialogue that stresses realities in a post boko-haram era. The realities that would inundate poverty, illiteracy, poor infrastructure, incapacity and many more symptoms of a failing state.
Second, the boko phenomenal can teach us as a people the value of being self-reliant. Going through catastrophes perpetrated by this sect it is glaring that it has invested a lot into training and acquisition of skills that has made it more efficient sending it members abroad to acquire skills relating to manufacturing of local ammunitions whose effect are point specific and far devastating in its collateral damage.
Nigeria and indeed the rest of Africa can learn from this, it is significant for any collectivity that has a goal to work towards such. Boko haram has a goal and it is working towards it. Nigeria also must have a goal, Work towards it in a coordinated manner and deliberate efforts must be made to achieving the training needed and also engage in the process of retraining others and practise knowledge gained. In a communal resolution the populace must be engaged in capacity building, this should not be translated to mean learn how to sew, use computer or bake. But rather speak to objects of greater relevance an industrial revolution indigenous to the African people, creating more value, and locally solving our problems within the overall frame work of goals set by visionary individuals. it is common parlance that we cannot solve a problem if we remain within the same level of thinking when the problem was created.
Again, Boko haram can feed its members, provide shelter and a sense of belonging, this the Nigerian powers must replicate on a larger scale; Feed Nigerians by being able to produce all sorts of goods demanded by the Nigerian citizens (don’t take up the defence of a global community just yet China, US, EU, Brazil, Russia and Japan all have the capacity to do this even in the face of competing external markets), house its citizens by creating the environment in which we can all be assured that at night no evil will befall them and that during the day our lives mean something. It is in doing this that a sense of belonging is forged such that religion and ethnicity would not allow any group to accentuate our differences for their own gains.
Boko haram obviously has exposed the lapses of the Nigerian state and its security apparatus. The resulting improvement would ultimately mean good for Nigeria and Africa. The fight against insurgence has seen Nigeria utilize sophisticated weapons and show more seriousness towards the questions of security within its borders and in the West African sub region. When the boko haram is obliterated Nigeria would be stronger and better for it. Its unity would no longer be in doubt as the Nigerian state would have only won this fight through a coercive approach advanced in unity of purpose and variety of methods.
Sonubi Tobi olatunde
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