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State of Emergency: Enough of These Jonathan's Half-Measures

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By: Ifeanyi Izeze
“I pledge to Nigeria my country to be faithful, loyal and honest; to serve Nigeria with all my strength; to defend her unity; and uphold her honour and glory, so help me God.” This is our national pledge and all genuine Nigerians including President Goodluck Jonathan make this enchantment every now and then. If so be it, then there is no sitting on the fence concerning the current spate of senseless killings of innocent, harmless and defenseless Nigerian women, under-age  and school children, young men and those that could be called matured.

Let's even look at it: what would happen if Jonathan through due process declares and implements full state of emergency in the troubled northeast states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe where we are beginning to see signs that after all what we have been calling insurgency by Islamists may have been a creation of political leaders in these areas? My brother, nothing and I mean nothing would happen!

If as a nation we are serious with stopping these everyday senseless bloodsheds in our land especially in the northeast and now gradually in the north central, then we should be able to take drastic, honest and patriotic actions devoid of any partisan politics. Public pronouncements of some political leaders in these “troubled” areas clearly show they know more than they want us to believe for “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

The utterances of some political leaders in the northeast clearly confirm the insinuation in my last analysis of the state of insecurity in the northeast and north central sections of the country captioned: “State of the Nation and the Subterfuge Fulani Herdsmen.”

If the Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako despite his firm knowledge of the nation's present security challenges could openly accuse the President of embarking on ethnic cleansing of the Fulanis of the north, he ourightly confirms what I earlier said that using the brand name “Fulani Herdsmen to refer to merciless insurgents was a deliberate ploy by those involved to make the spate of senseless killings of our people especially in the northeast and north central look as ordinary as just a mere disagreement over grazing rights. The term “Fulani Herdsmen” was deliberately adopted so that those who packaged it could easily whip- up the ethnic cleansing sentiment to smear the federal government on what they would now be describing as the use of excessive force to target a particular ethnic group. The “Fulani Herdsmen” analysis (article) was just published barely two weeks ago and now a serving governor and former chief of Naval Staff has publicly confirmed it. Do we still need to ask further those actually behind the insurgency in those sections of our country?

If the Federal Government suspends all democratic institutions in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to allow the military have full control of the states until peace and order return what would happen? Nothing! And I mean nothing! Truth be told, if the troubled states are under full emergency rule, the callousness of these terrorists would have been tremendously contained, if not then, we can ask the military taskforce “how far.”

In our 1999 Constitution, is there anything like partial declaration of a state of emergency? Check out Section 305(c) of the 1999 Constitution, you will see the Constitution stipulates outright recourse to 'extraordinary measures to restore peace and security' where there is 'breakdown of public order and public safety' in the country. Is the current situation in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states not going even beyond a complete breakdown of safety and security of lives and property of Nigerians? So what are we saying?

Several self-acclaimed political leaders like Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State and Senator Zanna Ahmed from Borno State have devoted more malevolent energy to condemning the counter-terrorism military task forces than condemning the terrorists. They even had the effrontery to allege that the soldiers are the Boko Haram killers in disguise. Even the Borno state governor the other time told the whole world that the Boko Haram insurgents have overpowered the Nigerian military who are under-equiped and under-maintained in the field. Haba!

As said by a forthright analyst from the north in his comment on the issue, “Responsible and sensitive leaders should have no hesitation to condemn evil doers. But because the military are soft targets, thanks to the rules of engagement, they are on the receiving end of hostility from conspiracy theorists like Nyako and Zanna Ahmed. Undermining national security by politicians who seek comfort in shielding terrorists with the absurdities of conspiracy theories is disgraceful and such leaders are unfit to hold office. They have betrayed public trust by choosing to be on the side of barbarism at the expense of people's lives.”

How do you for instance reconcile the callous statements attributed to the Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako that the Jonathan administration is carrying out “genocide” against the North?

How can he as a leader (governor, former chief of Naval Staff and an elderstatesman) publicly accuse the President of encouraging and sponsoring genocide in the country?  As rightly asked by the former military administrator of Kaduna state, Col. Abubakar Umar, What is his (Nyako's) aim in accusing the President of encouraging and sponsoring genocide against the North, a section of the country he swore to ensure to defend its peace, safety and security of lives and property? Is it not to incite northerners to pick up arms against the federal government or against Jonathan and/or Nigerians from other sections of the country?

Does anybody need to remind the Adamawa state governor that his statement can throw Nigeria on fresh fire even while we are yet to fashion a single idea on how to quench the ragging one (insurgency)? Does it augur well for national stability and the unity of the country? Are these the kind of comments that should be coming from leaders who are genuinely concerned that their houses are on fire?

The same Adamawa state governor and some political leaders from sections of the northeast, as widely reported in the media few weeks ago, outrightly accused the military of complicity in the boko haram menace. Haba!

For the benefit of doubt, maybe the northeast Governors know what the ordinary Nigerians do not and if these governors feel because of the divide between the ruling Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC), they have become bigger than the President of the entire country and the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and thus cannot 'bring themselves down' to channel relevant information and/or grievances through the appropriate quarters to the President, then they should give way for the military to take full charge of the administration of the various states to properly execute the counter-insurgency operation in the three states at least let's see if we can achieve a different result. A state of emergency should be a full state of emergency not half measures of it.  It was done in Plateau and Ekiti states under this democratic dispensation and heaven did not fall so what would happen if it is done in the three states? Nothing!

(IFEANYI IZEZE is an Abuja-based Consultant and can be reached on: [email protected]; 234-8033043009)