When Insurgency Is Not A War By Nasiru Suwaid
“We tend to notice when electoral cycle comes in, all these things heat up. What we are going through now is democracy in raw form, because people are fighting for power and they will use anything to get there…..and to win the election.”
-Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, in an interview with Reuters on Monday 28th April 2014.
Although many a Nigerian citizen and need I say critic, had often jeered and sneered at the present administration’s hierarchical order of arrangement for political offices, especially the duality of roles and the all encompassing functions of the finance minister, if it is observed from our historical root as a former British colony, the official custodian of the people’s treasury, has always been the second in command. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is not only the economic mind and might behind the government, even the proximity in residential abode used by the duo is a clear pointer, as such, while the Prime Minister of England stays in No. 10 Downing Street, the next house which is the No. 11 Downing Street shelters the Lord Treasury. In fact, it is said that despite the fact he answers to the Prime Minister as a subordinate, his lodging is far bigger that of his principal. Indeed, a scenario occurred during the tenure of Mr. Tony Blair as Prime Minister, when due to his larger household and proactive toddlers, they had to swap houses with the Chancellor of Exchequer, though still operating from and maintaining the No. 10 Downing Street as the official quarters.
Even though, Nigeria unlike the Great Britain operates a presidential system of governance and although not officially proclaimed but to all intent and purpose, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and the Minister of Finance acts into the role of Nigerian prime minister, thus it would be right to presume she is the intellectual brain behind the government and safe to assume whatever she says as the official Nigerian governmental position, putting it simplistically, what she says matters in comprehending how the administration thinks, reacts and sees the debilitating insurgency pestering the Nigerian nation. Thus, when such an important individual explain away clear subversive and seditious activities as mere politics, the world must sit up and listen to how grievous criminal acts could enjoys the grace of lawful adversarial disagreement. Of course, I am not imputing she has necessarily agreed with what they are doing, rather, she does not feel it has sufficiently breached the law, as it is just a game in which politicians play to gain power, despite the fact that lives are lost, multitude properties are destroyed and the nation is often threatened with senseless violence.
To put it in a much clearer context, the events of the past few weeks and months, which had provoked the interview and need I say Freudian slip, were not the usually violence associated with electoral campaigns and politics, because our model of political thuggery is always about the perennial clashes of showing superior strength, might and extent of support as a political force, rather, these are clear acts of taking of weapons against the state, throwing or setting up of bombs against innocent commuters and divisive effort to fritter the Nigerian union into destruction. In the past few days, over 70 persons have been killed in Nyanya Motor Park, which was followed by another bomb adjacent to the area of the first bomb blast that took away 19 lives and counting, in between the two acts of vile terror, school girls of the Government Girls Secondary School Chibok, were abducted and kidnapped by the insurgents of the Boko Haram sect. Now, if this is correlated with the daily happenings in the North Eastern part of the country, where deaths and destruction have almost become a daily occurrence, the question is could such a scenario be explained away from the angle of mere petulant opposition politics.
Nigeria as a nation is having many institutions and agencies solely established for securing the country, as well as ensuring that investigation of crimes, be it through defending the territorial integrity of the nation, which the military does with constitutional precision and flourish, the interrogation and interdiction of suspects as a route to curtailing unlawful acts through the criminal justice system, a part required to be played by the police as well as the courts. However, where leaders assume such roles, just like the way First Lady Patience Jonathan had acted, who illegally usurped the function of the Nigerian Police Force to investigative crimes, in the manner she had conducted open televised sessions on Chibok abductions, crimes can never be solved or in the other instances, where the Nigerian president as Commander in Chief of the Armed Force, told his troops that the insurgents are mere political opponents, who are only trying to gain an upper hand, rather than being subversive elements who must be crushed to preserve the federation, diligent prosecution of the war can never be achieved, besides, if you are a soldier, how can you be committed to fighting an insurgent force, when your president has already told you, they could be your next employers after the election.
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