The N1trillion ‘Campaign’ Budget By Rabiu Usman
Gone are the days where heavy presence of military personnel depicts brazen security. Not even when they’re carrying Mikhail Kalashnikov’s 1947 invented AK47assault rifle. In fact, officers abode are more prone to attack than bloody civilian’s. The reason is not because our soldiers are not gallant men and women but because they are a congregation of lions being led by a lost sheep. They have + or – zero morale at the moment. Their bank of motivation has gone bankrupt. Their artillery is looted systematically by their hostile. Insurgents don’t wait for counter-attacks anymore, they take the fight to the military’s territory in a ferocious and crude fashion. I’ve grown up to admire Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri as one fortress but the effrontery with which it was bundled despite the presence of the Army chief, Lt-General Kenneth Tobias Minimah, left me bewildered if it was the extension of Scofield’s play in Nigeria. The war-lords didn’t stop there, they’ve been the tormentor in-chief of Maimalari Barracks and Buni Yadi Gujba, Yobe State in recent time. Killing tens of our soldiers and some handful of police officers with of course civilian casualties.
Our military is discombobulated due to the vagueness, confusion and fuzzy-mindedness of the political class. The defence budget has witnessed low capital implementation amid huge allocation.
In the past, we had security budgets with little or negligible unrest. In the present, almost a half of the nation’s budget is judiciously dedicated on security to fight terror. But the continued lamentation of soldiers over the plight of poor armaments and under-funding is a pointer to the fact that security budget has been a conduit pipe into campaign ministry. A sector (campaign ministry) that has been working round the clock and probably the most efficient of all ministries in the present dispensation after ‘common thieving’. From NTA’s Transformation Agenda Network(TAN), to Kano’s Shekarau grand reception to the temple of God (PDP) as Doyin Okupe would put it, en route Alaafin of Oyo birthday bash. This huge sum is such that if it was to be dipped in Atlantic ocean, the money won’t drown unnoticed.
The debilitating Boko Haram scourge that has masquerade us for the period of four years now has vindicated the government and the Defence Ministry of its gross misappropriation of security funds for personal aggrandizement. Many brilliant officers have had their dreams cut short due to these ‘common stealing’. Some 60 gallant mobile police officers were slain by Ombatse militia in Nassarawa State a couple of months back. What was done? Was the Nigerian flag hoisted at half mast? What is the fate of their bereaved family? Nobody gave a hoot. Even one of their own, the minister of information, Labaran Maku, a one time supervising minister for defence said the president is performing miracle amid this turmoil. Indeed such miracle occurs exclusively in our clime. The extinction of security personnel en-mass despite huge funding is a miracle.
Major Akinola Olalekan, Lt-colonel Nwaeze, Lt-colonel Salisu and Lieutenant Odushina Oluwafemi were all ambushed and killed in a separate mission in Borno State. With Nwaeze and Odushina losing their lives trying to #BringBackOurGirls . Yet David Bonaventure Achelenu Mark, a dual citizen of Tahiria (Tahiti and Nigeria) is still sandwiched in delusion that Boko haram should not try the might of the military, when in reality they’ve set the ball rolling and call every shot with an extended threat to attack his kit and kins in a Benue school. What litmus paper test is more than these tragic loss of armoury and personnels with yet to be freed Chibok college girls after more than 40days in captivity?
This is my kobo recommendation as a concerned citizen: As a matter of urgency, the government should begin to consider an alternative of recruiting civilian JTF en-mass into full combatants. These are brave men and women willing to assist in mitigating insurgents. In doing so, the government will be hunting down two birds with a single stone: 1. Winning the war on terror and 2. Invariably create jobs for the unemployed youths that are one of the bane of our woes.
The government can despise free launch but they can’t afford to despise free advice at this moment of our cross-roads. This is not 48laws of power. This is 48laws of success. We stand with the president and the military in this trying times. We pray for the repose of the souls of men and women that have lost their lives abruptly in this battle. Victory is from God alone. God bless Nigeria!
Rabiu Usman is a freelance-writer/teacher based in Lagos.
He can be engaged directly via @rabiusm
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