Is Federal Government not Boko Haram?
Had the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) had its way or had it been really easy a task to carry out - without having to answer for it, it would have ordered a public execution of former Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for
Progressive Change (CPC) in the 2011 general elections, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) for his warning on the 2015 elections and also for re-stating an earlier statement made by Professor Ango Abdullahi that there are three Boko Harams in the country of which the Federal Government is the biggest.
Various opinions have been expressed on Buhari's warning. By and large, public opinion seems highly in support of Buhari's warning that 'monkeys and baboons will soak in their blood' should the 2015 elections not be allowed to be free and fair. Let me also add here that it's only those who do not wish this country well - those who want this 'democracy' truncated by their refusal to abide by democratic tenets - that have been calling for Buhari's head based on that statement of truth. Of course like the saying goes 'truth is bitter'.
Since much has been said about Buhari's prediction against 2015, what particularly interests me is the statement by Prof. Ango Abdullahi which Buhari re-echoed - that 'the Federal Government is the biggest Boko Haram'. Is the present Federal Government Boko Haram really or is it a case of calling a dog a bad name so as to hang it?
It is germane at this juncture to look critically again at what Boko Haram stands for, to see whether there are similarities between its activities and that of the Federal Government. Then we will be able to determine the correctness or not of the statement. Today even a foetus knows that Boko Haram stands for something negative. It stands for darkness and destruction. Its activities are far from being progressive. Neither are they productive. And whatever that is not progressive is surely retrogressive, reactionary and counter-productive.
Going by the activities of the present Federal Government, we find that there is strong basis to compare her with Boko Haram. There are a lot of similarities between her and Boko Haram to justify that statement. For instance, Boko Haram gleefully kills people and destroy property openly while the Federal Government too also kills indirectly by making life difficult for the people. Five months into 2012, only God knows the number of Nigerians that have been sent to early graves through the draconian and anti-people policies of the Federal Government and her gross inefficiency.
One or two examples may suffice here to buttress the above position. First is the removal of fuel subsidy in January which led to the death of some people across the country. It led to increase in fuel price with its concomitant astronomical increase in the prices of other goods and services hence the high cost of living.
A lot of people have died because they can't afford the high cost of living. Life has become extremely difficult for the people such that even most people that are still alive are mere living dead. Three square meals can not be found on the table of the masses. Hunger is killing people in hundreds. Of course the Federal Government must be Boko Haram to have removed subsidy first without providing the necessary safety nets for the people. It must be Boko Haram to have deployed solders on the streets of Lagos to quash a peaceful subsidy protest in January. It must be Boko Haram to have reneged on its promise to use the money to be realised from subsidy removal to cushion the effect of that anti-people policy. Any government that approbates and reprobates at will - causing hardship that lead to people's death - must be Boko Haram.
We must get it clear that it isn't until you profess Boko Haram philosophy that you become a member of this sanguinary group. No, not at all. If people experience hardship through your actions to the extent that such actions lead to their death or dehumanise them then you automatically become Boko Haram. When a government rolls out draconian policies that strangle the citizens, then such a government has become Boko Haram. When a government is insensitive to the plight of the masses it has become Boko Haram. Failure and inability of any government to provide for the needs of the people especially welfare and security makes that government to be Boko Haram. Thus a fortiori, it's within this content that we should situate the statement; 'the Federal Government is the biggest Boko Haram'.
Further more, the Federal Government must be Boko Haram to have left the state of federal roads decrepit and dilapidated causing the death of thousands who travel on them everyday. How many people die on daily basis on 'Lagos/Ibadan death trap' that we call express road? And the same goes for other federal roads. How many people die on hourly basis in our hospitals that have for long become 'mere consulting clinics?
How many people die of hunger and lack of job? How many people die of generator fumes due to lack of power? We can go on and on. So is Buhari not justified to have re-echoed the assertion of Prof. Ango Abdullahi that 'Federal Government is the biggest Boko Haram?' Why do we have to send the elder statesman to the guillotine for calling a spade its name?
President Goodluck Jonathan did say last week that he inherited Nigeria's problems. Agreed! But he knew before he offered himself to lead. He may not be the cause of Nigeria's woes truly but he is definitely adding to it, and in no small way too because he is not being seen to be taking proactive steps towards finding solution to the problems confronting this nation. We need a president that can act - the one that can take radical steps towards solving our problems and not the one that revels in giving excuses.
Rather than engage in scurrilous name calling the Federal Government must listen to wise counsel. One of the main reasons why successive Nigerian governments have failed is turning a deaf ear to wise counsels. President Jonathan must listen to the voices of reason if he truly loves this country. To allow bootlickers and sycophants in his government to mislead him is for him to bite his fingers in the end. I wish him good luck as his name echoes.
By Kola Odepoju