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The President and Boko Haram State of the Mind

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By Nnamdi Okose
There are two theories making the round these days. Both of them have been

unsubstantiated but in these days of bombings, pillage and kidnapping of

young women for forced marriage; the gift of rumour is akin to that of

military intelligence. There is a truism in the saying that there is truth

in every rumour.
Both theories revolve around the complicities of our President in the

activities of Boko Haram. The first theory purports that the President,

with a hoard of his PDP brethren have been supplying arms, money and now

women to Boko Haram. The President knows all their intimate hideouts. He

is in constant touch with the feisty Boko Haram leader and even calls to

congratulate him each time the rebels score another devastating blow.

The second theory, linked to the first has its epistemological origins

from the qualities of good leadership. This theory avows that there are

two cardinal qualities of a good leader. First he must have an ability to

frown. How can one be president when he cannot frown? When he seems to be

smiling, when he is actually trying to look hideous? The ability to look

hideously gruesome as a survival technique is as old as the universe,

employed by animals to scare off predators. Surely a well-practiced

presidential frown should be a prerequisite for a good leader. This theory

is also linked to an ability to know that the dance steps of the crotch

pulling Michael Jackson are not presidential. It is certainly unpardonable

for a seating president to step to any rhythm while the country is

burning. And a Michael Jackson routine at that! There are more

presidential dance steps, which can be danced in times of sorrow, but a

list of these dances will come later.
These are crimes against Nigerians, which the President must answer for

immediately after his tenure. It is common knowledge that the fire raging

in Nigeria was ignited by the re-election ambition of the President. Well

meaning Nigerians have reminded him of his promise to serve for only one

term but he has reneged on this promise. The inferno threatening to

swallow this country could have been averted, if he had refused to seek

re-election. For harboring ambitions of further presidential grandeur, the

President has become responsible for the deaths of many. The carnage will

end if his ambitions end. For this, he must answer to the people.

It has been agreed that the weapon strength of the Boko Haram insurgents

highly surpass that of the Nigerian military. This is obviously an

educated conclusion after a careful weapons analysis from both sides. That

notwithstanding, we must blame some body for this failure to upgrade the

nation's weaponry. Who better to blame than the country's military quarter

master, the president. It is his duty to keep stock of military equipment

and ensure that they are upgraded in time. It is also his duty to evacuate

military equipment when the military are retreating from their barracks.

It is not enough for the President to be seen in military fatigues every

now and then. He must live up to the great title of Commander –in Chief of

the armed forces. How can one become the Commander-in-Chief of any

military without actual combat experience? What better time to gain

experience in the art of shooting and ducking than now? But the President

has failed to lead the assault into the Sambisa forest. He has failed to

become like the Rambo we had earlier envisaged, two guns in each hand, a

serrated knife sticking from his belt, ammunition belt slunk across his

shoulders and need I reiterate – no bullet proof vest.

The President must recover the kidnapped Chibok girls himself.  A senator,

I hear, has proffered information about their whereabouts scattered in the

islands off the coast of Chad Republic and Cameroon. This task is not one

for our military who must be saved for UN Peace Missions ahead. The

president is rather better trained in amphibious warfare. He ought to raid

Cameroon and Chad. He must sneak up on these islands and face the

insurgents himself. He cannot confess fears about his personal safety –

this is un presidential. Being President is like being the protagonist in

an action movie. Actor no dey die.
Being Boko Haram does not only entail the carrying of arms, the attacking

of un armed villagers, kidnapping women or torching people with bombs.

Being Boko Haram can also be a state of the mind. Though we cannot prove

that the President himself is a Boko Haram member, we must blame him for

the countless times we have been pathetic to their cause. These people

were our neigbours, our village champions, our urchins; we saw them kill

foreigners among us and we did nothing. We kept a strict code of silence

when they burnt churches with innocent people trapped inside. It was not

our duty to speak against them; it was the duty of our President. He must

come down himself to our homesteads and sit in front of our houses chewing

early morning stick. He must accost these strangers who have tortured our

existence sternly, “Why have you come here to plan evil?”

So being Boko Haram entails a level of complicitness of the mind. The

President has been complicit. It is his fault alone. We are all innocent

in the matter.