Winning The Boko War: Peace And A Path Of Fresh Handshake Across The Niger, By Jimi Bickersteth
On a trip on this wet day from Lagos enroute Abaji,a locale of the IPOB,thoughts about the Boko Haram,another of the nation’s distress rocket and a rollicking good family film,produced by insurgents and idle politicians,directed by op Lafiya dole in the savannah and sambisa forest,the all conquering op Python Dance II in the South East and the placating by palliatives in the Niger Delta region all of which bore seemingly but striking contrast, even though direct offshoot of intractable national questions which the struggles so to speak set out to correct, leadership problems,economic independence or resource control if you like and religious independence, forget that they almost ruined the nation by their neo fundamental stances.
The agitations in the Northeast axis, Niger Delta, MEND,IPOB,MASSOB, and the rest of such distraction were the best the six geopolitical booby-trap presented the nation, which also like an algae, has engendered,and thus, creating more local agitation for independence and secession.
But beyond that, this struggles had structures that could not muscle or isolate the truth and the reality about the Nigerian Dreams,as the questions of all the different nationalities in the federation, of full representation,has been answered by the nation’s return to civil rule in a participatory democracy,and that is the only panacea that could fast track development and unity in a multi national Nigeria.
The conquests and winning the battle of Sambisa, Oraifite after so long a time and loss of lives, property, history and in some cases even identity, couldn’t have come at a better time, as it infused new life into the debates and running commentaries, about credible and or failure of leadership, basically, because of the nation’s leaders poor response and below par attempts at tackling the challenges of ethnic domination,religious bigotry and intolerance.
If the nation care to do a case study, the Boko Haram war, the ND insurgencies,and the Biafra agitations, and what have you, could have been nipped in the bud, if we had applied:
i.the correct test under the rule and
ii.measures congruent with the seriousness of the situation,using dialogue as a major weapon at the table of democracy.
National development,democracy and insurgencies are mutually exclusive and of the trio, democracy is believed to be a rehash of constitutional imperatives. But where is the rallying point and where are the leaders to:
a.) facilitate the handshake across the Niger:
b.) determine who governs the people through fair and free elections;
c.) work on a collective attempt to drastically reduce all corrupting influences in the society through legislation;
d.) give workers right to full and gainful employment and right to decent living by legislation.
All of the above are salutary reminder of the positive correlation between the quality of life of the people,good governance and democracy. All of which are antithecal to the ploy inherent in the six geopolitical expression – a mere ploy by the strong nations to bully the weaker ones.
It is amazing how far the pompous bureaucracy and leaders Nigeria is laden with will go to make systemic change,rather than making an exception that would easily fix the problem. And the similarity is like the difference between puffy spring rain clouds and the clouds that precede a tornado, one is temporary and normal, the other is chronic and accumulate aggression.
The reported defeats on the Sambisa,and the south east strongholds of the insurgents is winning the war, on one hand, and a call for government on the other,on why it must also win the peace; and for that to be successfully done, the government has to be truthful and honest to itself.
Once government is committed to being honest, daemons, fear in and around them that encourages insurgents and or rebellion will scamper for safety and disappear.The issue should no longer be about what went wrong, not anymore. It should be about what we are putting right.It is easy and possible.
However, the nation’s leaders and Representatives must desist from the Bonaparte style,who, at his coronation as France king, said, “Dieu me la donne,qure á qui la touche”-God has given it to me,let him beware who shall touch it . Ati tòjé bolóòsaà lówó,óku baba eni tí ó boo.Because it can make them more vulnerable.
Once the leaders,have learnt to focus on understanding the people and in the process, be open,authentic, so that the people can understand them, the leaders folly and the nation’s failure is on the way of been conquered, secrecy spawns isolation, not success.
In spite of daunting and overwhelming security issues, power and energy crisis, dwindling oil revenue, there is a flicker of hope that we shall soon leave our dry seasons behind,but that is if we can confront our national problems with keen intelligence and less cocksureness.
One thing is relevant and germane here though, and that is,while Nigerians do not expect the leaders to rub our feet while feeding us grapes, we are heavy hearted and exhausted with their greed and lack of care.
But life has taught us that because we are late we should not turn back. We should still believe in our country. We can show the leaders how we want to be led and if they choose to remain stubborn and self-absorbed, we have a way of taking the bull out of the China shop, and as a clever maitre d’hotel serves up as a specially choice delicacy a piece of meat that no one who had seen it in the kitchen would have cared to eat.
The insurgents,and seccession and other agitations,thought the nation a great lesson, and the lesson is that the insurgents thrive in a remoteness afforded by a vast grassland and natural creeks which had hitherto made for uneven control of resources. Added to this was the character of life itself in a land of seemingly unending reach.
In such a situation natural conditions promoted a tough individualism, as people became used to making their own decisions far away from the FCT in Abuja, and allow conditions of anarchy often prevail. It is incumbent upon the leaders to provide answers to the myriads of national question. As I tried to figure it out, I saw a situation where all instincts and good conscience tell our leaders to move forward,but to get moving,they must have to shift the weight back.
To gloss over it, or paper the cracks,or plunge into decisive action. As I contemplate the possibilities of each,my sense of control transforms into a feeling of falling helplessly down a giant hourglass, I feel Nigeria expect the deep cadence of PMB’s speech and leadership skills to steer our senses and our hearts. But right now, he is not saying much and he is not inviting much to be said either. Can there be recession in words and deeds.
Meanwhile, PMB should exert such soft political power his office guaranteed him to douse some of the tension in the land, as he wittingly, should propose a constitutional amendments, where all the states in the federation, are considered as commonwealth of states, having a loose association with Abuja;in one way or the other,the present state of,exclusive rule as if we are running a unitary system, would wither away and proper fiscal federalism and an even more complete self government would take the front burner.
Another alternative is to propose what is called the, ” Mayflower Compact”, where we can combine states together into a civil body politics for a better ordering and preservation,enact and frame just and equal laws as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the people. Otherwise,the nation risks the fear of insurgencies succeeding and becoming self-governing, simply by asserting that they were beyond any governmental authority and then setting up their own political systems outside of the current inefficient political party structure and system that lacked cohesion, and who left the people largely to their own devices. #