Borno, Yobe Elders: When Silence Is No Longer Golden By Abubakar Abba Sanusi
The recent meeting of political elders from Borno and Yobe states under the Borno, Yobe peoples forum is not only timely but commendable. The elders in those states have come out to break their silence and also raise alarm on the conspiracies going on in the region despite the state of emergency imposed by the federal government.This development will surely rattle the presidency especially at this moment when the president is gallivanting all over the country and trading blames with governors over who is actually responsible for the deterioration of the security situation in the North East.
It is apparent that the elders have exhausted all avenues to make the presidency see reason and change their approach to the war against terror. This must be really frustrating when you consider the passion that the elders from the two states have for their land. All of them have served their country in various capacities in the armed forces, civil service, politics and the foreign service meritoriously before retiring. Almost all their investments and sweat is domiciled in those cities under siege. Apart from protecting their investments, they also need the peace at least to enable them enjoy their retirement. This makes them the best group that the government must first run to in any effort to find lasting peace.
The federal government got it all wrong from the beginning by thinking that money can tackle the security challenge alone. A clear example is how the youths under the ‘Civilian JTF’ were able to restrict the activities of the insurgents to the outskirts of Maiduguri. The youths draw inspiration from the elders who guide and support them.
The elders had met severally with the president with no meaningful result. This might have necessitated the meeting where they asked the government so many questions which in saner climes would have made the president to resign. They wanted to know how a convoy of 20 to 30 vans can pass undetected in a city that is supposedly under a state of emergency. They went ahead to also ask the federal government to tell Nigerians why innocent school children were left without protection few hours to the attack on their school. It is obvious that the elders have all the answers they need but they want the government to answer other Nigerians on the true situation in the North East.
If President Jonathan wants to be taken seriously in Nigeria, he should immediately set up a committee that will look into the allegations by the elders forum, and also treat the report with the deserved seriousness. It will hardly be surprising if we wake up to a barrage of responses from the president’s parrots condemning the elders and accusing them of supporting the opposition.
Politicians in Nigeria should know that there are times in a life of a nation when you don’t play politics with issues. The crises in the North East has raged on for too long already with the resulting casualties. It is about time Nigerians ask their leaders for an explanation. It might be a crises in the North East now, but you cannot determine when it will come to your doorsteps.
The elders have broken their golden silence, the youths and other Nigerians should join them now in demanding an explanation
You can follow Sanusi on twitter @Elsanusy or aasanusy.blogspot.com
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