MY CHEAP ADVICE TO NIGERIAN PRESIDENT
Being a citizen of this country is one thing I had always found delight in, but lately, given the level of insecurity in Nigeria, my heart constantly bleeds for Nigeria -my father land. I woke up from my slumber, jolted out of my reverie, and pondered on the inordinate activities of the treacherous Boko Haram sect and then, I came to realize that all is not well with Nigeria.
As a nation with military luminosity, Nigeria had helped African nations like Sierra-Leone, Mali, Angola, Somalia, and even South Africa. She was well-respected by virtually all nations in Africa, not excluding international organizations like African Union, European Union, NATO, and the UN.
Today, my country transacts in the bank of social injustice and insecurity, where citizens of the nation wallow in despair and grief on daily basis without any trust in the government and its agents on the mirage that one day, the troubles of this country will be memories.
The new Nigeria, which is absolutely different from what it used to be, terrorism, political brigandism, kidnapping, unruly zealotry, rituals, murder, armed robbery, open cultism, belligerent tribalism, ethnocentric bigotry, religious extremism, state imperiousness, hooliganism, and gangsterism are now some of the unlimited maladies facing the ex-Giant of Africa which may turn the Ant of Africa if care is not taken.
Nigeria was a great nation and her leaders were highly regarded. The popular saying “When Nigeria sneezes, the rest of other African nations catch a cold” is no longer relevant. It is now a painful reality that my country has become a nation of ridicule that small African nations would even offer to provide cough syrup and flu drugs whenever she sneezes.
This is not the first time that Nigeria will be fazed with insecurity quandary. However in the past, the leadership of the country always came up with holistic approach and for all these time, took concerted efforts that constantly kept the nation from trouble. In the interim, the peoples of Nigeria are bewildered, perturbed, and disconcerted not because of the advanced level of corruption but because of the horrendous, defenseless, weak, vulnerable, and susceptible state of a country that has the largest concentration of blacks in the world. The current leadership of the country has shown that Nigeria is such an unsafe place to live in.
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has only succeeded in maintaining the uninterrupted bloodshed by the deadly Islamic fundamentalists called Boko Haram. These extremists have been attacking churches, schools, police stations, foreign tourists and even members of Islamic groups for some years. Still our government, led by President Goodluck Jonathan has not been able to handle this noxious issue. The group has effectively murdered over 12, 000 people between 2002 and 2014. Even when the United States designated Boko Haram as a terrorist group, our government saw it as a cheap blackmail. Now, people are dying on a daily basis while those alive sleep every night with only one eye closed because nobody knows where those ungoldly people would strike again.
The 'experienced' people you appointed to give intelligent recommendations and counsel – Special Advisers, you called them - are paid regularly with the tax payers' money regardless of the wrong advice they render. To be laconic a bit, President Goodluck Jonathan may need to take my one Kobo (inexpensive, in fact, free) advice in order to rescue this nation from the abject and gloomy oubliette where the wicked and heartless extremists have banished the citizens of this nation to.
Mr. President Sir, I know you may see my advice as too cheap, or perhaps, your inept Special Advisers may counsel you not to take me serious, I'll still need to give it anyways so as to salvage this nation from the helpless situation your government has dragged it into.
Sir, if your Special Advisers are assuring you that the Nigerian military can single-handedly bear this cross, I need to urge you to turn your deaf ears to them because the activities of the insurgents are of a terrorist group and terrorism cannot be handled by one nation. Sir, you need to understand that one of the main tactics of terrorists is to scare the population into pressuring government toward a certain policy. My President Sir, I honestly enjoin you create time out of your ever-demanding schedule to read "Unrestricted Warfare," by Col. Qiao Liang and Col. Wang Xiangsui. This book scratches the surface of the War on Terrorism and the terrorist war against us.
If the former National Security Adviser, Late General Andrew Azazi were to be alive, I'm pretty sure that these insurgents would have either been ostracized from Nigeria or eliminated once and for all. In his resolute and dogged efforts to ensure that Nigeria was secured, late Azazi worked with other foreign governments to declare war on Boko Haram. While many countries, like Israel, France, and United States have offered to help Nigeria in the fight against this dreaded sect, the citizens still wonder why our President has not given these countries permission to enter Nigeria with their sophistication and expertise. Our president still awaits the time when a member of his cabinet would be directly or indirectly affected by the attack of these dare-devils amongst us.
Our uniformed officers are very brilliant but the insurgents have infiltrated the force too, hence the need for foreign assistance. You need to know that your intention to recruit more men wouldn't solve the problem. What is the essence of having millions of soldiers with sophisticated weapons below a thousand? I need to inform you, Sir, that terrorism cannot be combated with mere common guns such as AK-47. Our military force need missiles, grenades, jet fighters, and high technology equipment to battle these guys.
As a PhD holder, which should be your edge over these blood-thirsty illiterates cum insurgents, you should know that your action to close down schools and government establishments in order to welcome world leaders in Nigeria is an unhealthy motive. It is crystal clear that your government has no respect for school children and neither do you have their interest at heart. Now, you are confident that Abuja will not be attacked since schools have been closed down. It is apparent that you are aware of where these troubles are coming from and I must tell you that such action is affirmative and evident enough to ascertain that your government keeps in touch with these terrorists, who have assured you that Abuja will be attack-free during the summit if all schools are under locks and keys.
My dear president Sir, I need to urge you to stop listening to the advice given to you by the high-handed, maladroit, ham-fisted, and incompetent political vampires that you prefer to call your Special Advisers. They are very desperate like you, never wanting to do the right thing for the benefit of all, but they prefer to do the wrong thing for their egocentric ends. It is only a country like Nigeria, sorry, it's only a President like Goodluck Jonathan that will have condolence visits, bomb blast sight-seeing, and hospital stopovers fixed in his weekly schedules. The citizens of this country are tired of seeing you on the screen making the same comments everyday: “We condole with the families of those who lost their lives in the attack; we will make sure we bring those responsible to book”. Nigerians are also not happy to know that the distressed and traumatized countenances you constantly wear on your face whenever you hear of Boko Haram attacks are products of several facial-expression rehearsals you had taken: they are made up, fictitious, sham, bogus, and pretended. If your debauched advisers are yet to tell you the truth, I will Sir!
Mr. President, instead of fooling yourself and your chicken republicans that you care for the people of this nation, why not draw up another weekly schedule for yourself and ensure you jettison any pre-planned visit to 'Bokoharamic' victims. Instead, seek external assistance against these insurgents. In case you have misplaced the records, I need to remind you that Late Andrew Azazi met with CIA Director in 2010 in order to get full assistance from the United States. Instead of following his direction, your government preferred to get financial, not military, assistance from U.S. What has your government done with the financial aids so far?
A leader in trouble doesn't need to wait for his advisers, ambassadors, or ministers to resolve problems for him. That is why President Barack Obama, a president who is not even in big trouble as you obviously are, will consistently keep globe-trotting the world to save his country. Governments in the U.S. and around the world rely on a range of tactics to reduce the threat of terrorism. In case you don't know sir, these counter-terrorism methods include intelligence operations and heightened security measures. We need that in Nigeria please! Your government should have gathered and uncovered where these evil-doers get their supports from. It shows that the existing intelligence apparatus in Nigeria is based on a failed model, in which information is closely guarded and disseminated on a strict need-to-know basis. Such a model does not fit counter-terrorism intelligence, which requires a freer flow of information among federal, state, and local authorities. When methods of terrorist attacks and their targets become unpredictable, greater information sharing is necessary for effective anti-terrorism measures. Financial tracking of this group is also very important as communication intercept.
Moreover Sir, Israel has a long history of counter-terrorism activities from which the Nigeria can learn. Israel's methods against terrorism have included in-depth intelligence gathering, which has enabled Israeli officials to prevent some terrorist attacks and arrest suspected terrorists. Other Israeli techniques include targeted killings of terrorist group members and domestic security measures, such as placing sky marshals on airline flights.
My last advice to you may sound very offensive but that won't deter me from giving it anyways. I have come to conclude that the current tension in this country is caused by your ingrained, deep-rooted, selfish, desperate, and entrenched desire to hold on to power. Your leadership qualities are not commendable and you have successfully failed those who misguidedly voted you into power. You have transmogrified the mandate given to you to something else and all you could do to appreciate the electorates was to make them more insecure than you met them. It will be unambiguous and unmistakable to conclude that the major problem of this country is you. Majority of us are tired of your brinkmanship style of leadership, your nonchalant attitudes, the selfish interest of your subjects who are playing politics with the lives of our people, your government's eschewal of tough but effective decisions, the softness of your policies on combating this menace, the slow pace at which you are running the race for this country and your egocentric, venal, and overtly greedy interest in the next general elections.
Boko Haram is a menace that should be boldly confronted like George Bush did in the U.S when he declared total war on terrorism shortly after the September 11, 2001 bomb blast; he even bombarded Afghanistan. You need to take the bull by the horn Sir. Your government needs to send a genuine and intrepid signal to these insurgents and assure your citizens that you are on top of the game. Partying after your country was thrown into disarray, hysteria and total confusion is an indication that you enjoyed the Nyanya attack; you postponed the Federal Executive Council meeting when Vice President, Namadi Sambo lost 'just' one brother. Nyanya attack claimed many lives and hundreds of our school girls are still missing. Until you are ready to deploy all means to combat this insurgency, Boko Haram members will continue to be euphoric every time they want to. You will also need to thwart your political ambition and candidly face terrorism because your physiognomy does not show you are more concerned with the present state of quagmire and morass our country found itself.
Is Sambisa village not in Nigeria? Mr. President Sir, our military force needs RPG launchers, fighter jets, increase in standard force and domestic intelligence. It is true that nothing is offered for free, especially in international relations but notwithstanding, the United States, Israel, France, and NATO etc can still assist with effective hardwares, if only you are ready to swallow your pride and consider the lives of your citizens. The facilities we presently have cannot end this menace.
It's also good to draw your attention to the fact that military action can only disturb Boko Haram's operations temporarily, it definitely won't end the threat completely. Repression by the military in itself, if it is not accompanied by other measures, will lead to short term victories, but tend to be unsuccessful in the long run.
For the abducted school girls, the committee you set up is just to deceive your Bayelsa State people, not Nigerians. How on earth would you want the parents of these girls to be patient? The move by your wife to lead the #BringBackOurGirls campaign is seriously commendable but I doubt the number of metres she would be able to walk. These girls have been turned to 'sex machines', according to a claim made by an excapee who also said some of them had been killed.
Being an unsettled leader and president of Africa's most troubled nation, I know, is not your choice but your timidity has turned Nigeria to “only God knows”. The Nigeria you met was gradually ripe to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council but the present day Nigeria, under your 'un-able' leadership is basking in the sun of trouble where unknown individuals freely attack your citizens.
Finally, if only you could be humble, I'll advise you to resign and emulate the South-Korean Prime Minister who relinquished his position because he felt his government failed the citizens. If your advisers are urging you to keep the 2015 dream alive, I must enjoin you to honourably reject such advice because taking it may mean you are progressively cruising the deep ocean of turning Nigeria into a nation like Afghanistan. You may also want to have the total elimination of Boko Haram as your major achievement, I urge you not to think it beyond this term. George. W. Bush started war on terrorism but it was Barack Obama who killed Osama Bin Laden. So, my president Sir, do not see yourself as the person that must end Boko Haram; if you don't, the next president would.
For some people who think you should remain the president of this nation, I strongly say their convictions are drawn from the fact that no attack has been made within their ambience. How would they feel if their sister is one of the abducted girls? How would they react if their relative was involved in the Nyanya attack?
I'm pretty sure that this nation will know peace once you leave that office.
Please do not consider paying me for this advice, it's free after all.
Edited by Femi Ogunjobi, Adeyemi Ayodeji, and Ojekunle Aderemi.