Boko Haram: Let Truth Be Told, By Raymond Oise-Oghaede
A lot has been said and done about the activities of the Boko Haram sect in the past but the menace continued unabated. The truth remains that the issue is not been handled rightly. I have said it severally that the only viable solution to the problem is through dialogue and negotiations. Several tactics have been employed and each has been matched with devastating consequences and more calamities. What this means is that the most viable option has not been embraced. Another troubling aspect is that our leaders and people have tended to look at the grave problem from wrong perspectives. That is, we have narrowed the menace to ethnic, political and religious perspectives. The leaders and the people are shying away from the main issue which is the fact that the perpetrators are aggrieved and disgruntled by the socio/political and economic situation in the country. As I wrote in my review titled, “Is Boko truly Haram?, what is most worrisome with the present trend is that more of these militant groups will spring up in the nearest future if the right steps are not taken at the right time because it is becoming clear that the majority of our youths will take up arms to fight for relevance and sustenance in the face of uncertain future. This should not have been the case if the government and people are perceived to be genuinely putting things in the right perspectives which will guarantee the assurance that they meant well for the future of the people.
Be that as it may, one would have expected all well-meaning Nigerians to come together and join hands with our leaders on the best way to tackle the menace and that is by way of peaceful resolutions.
The fact remains that we have not really done much to support the government of the day in resolving this problem. While religious leaders are trading blames and castigating one particular religion or belief for being the architect of the menace, politicians are accusing one another of being the sponsors of the sect. Some captains of industries are keeping mum because the activities of the sect are prominent in areas where their industries are not located. Traditional rulers in some parts of the country are also not coming forth with viable ways of resolving the problem because it is not happening in their domains. They are busy prostituting with politicians and depending mainly on the gains of rulership or what is generally known as ‘Isakole’ in the Yoruba parlance. A majority of the people are also trivialising the issue because it does not affect members of their immediate families. The media are not also to be spared from the blame because most of them prefer to publish articles written by well-known people regardless of whether the content readily addresses the substance of the problem at hand or not. Some are even jettisoning good reviews because the wordings are more than what is allowed by their outfits.
In as much as no man has the monopoly of knowledge, I am of the opinion that the government should adopt peaceful approach towards resolving the issue. When we talk of peaceful resolution, we mean resolutions guided by the principle of ‘No victor, no vanquished’. It means true reconciliation through dialogue and negotiations. In this situation, when you are calling for peaceful resolution of a crisis, you do not have to back it up with threats. i.e. ‘Drop your weapons now and embrace dialogue or the government would be forced to do this or that’. That is not a committed and sincere call for reconciliation in the true sense of it.
By now, one would have expected politicians and members of the opposition to be visiting the seat of power on a daily basis with the aim of finding lasting solutions to the problem instead of adopting the option of accusations and counter accusations. The fact remains that if the people in opposition take over governance in the country today, there is no guarantee that the activities of the sect will stop except of course, if they are truly the architects or sponsors of the sect.
In the same vein, the leadership of all religious beliefs and denominations are supposed to be meeting with one another at this point in time to fashion out ways of resolving the problem instead of accusing one another of complicity in the matter. If truly we believe that there is only one GOD, then we should not allow our religious inclinations to blind us from coming together to resolving a problem that affects us as human beings and as a nation. The same thing applies to traditional rulers from every part of the country. The question is, has the traditional rulers lost their relevance in today’s governance? (They should be in a better position to answer this puzzle).
It is only in this country that we talk of East, West, South and Northern parts of Nigeria. In the outside world, they see us as Nigerians and no one part of the country can isolate itself from the others.
The most painful aspect of the scenario is that Nigerians are easily carried away by worthless endeavours. Or how best can we describe a situation where taxpayers’ money is spent in organising and executing the ongoing National Conference in the face of insecurity? Personally, I had expected the members of the National Conference to foreclose every other discussion and concentrate on the state of insecurity in the country. That is the only way Nigerians would trust the sincerity of purpose. What is the essence of creating more states and resolving the issue of resources control or allocation when the rooftop is on fire? The people that are supposed to enjoy the outcome of the conference are presently under siege. If at all they get all other things right, how would it positively impact on the lives of the people that are living in fears? People whose lives and properties are not secured?
It needs be mentioned that the United States of America has spent millions of dollars and is still spending more in its involvement in the search for the missing Malaysian plane because of just about three Americans that were on board. That is how a government shows responsiveness and commitment to the plight of its citizens.
Just recently, over 200 girls were abducted by members of Boko Haram sect. Though some escaped by divine intervention, others are still in captivity. What else do you want to hear or be told about the capability of members of the sect? They have proved beyond reasonable doubt that they are fully on the ground. The best thing to do at this point in time is to call for peaceful resolution of the matter. The government should be sincere and show commitment to true reconciliation by appealing to members of the sect to sheath the sword and be prepared for true reconciliation through dialogue and negotiations.
•Oise-Oghaede wrote in from Lagos via firstname.lastname@example.org
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