Time to say, No! to Nigeria
Over two hundred Christian girls are in captivity somewhere in Northeastern Nigeria and contiguous territories, abducted with impunity from Chibok, Borno State, and are now being forcibly converted to Islam (and who knows what unthinkable else) by Boko Haram. How many? How? Where did they go? How is that even possible? Several weeks have passed. There is nothing you can do about it. There is nothing anybody can do about it. There is nothing the Nigerian Military or Police can do about it. There is nothing the Nigerian government can do about it. There is nothing the international community can do about it. Face the facts, if only so that you can better feel the heartache…if only so you can feel the helplessness. There is nothing you can really do about Boko Haram.
Why? Boko Haram was started by and enjoys the full support and protection of powerful and influential Northerners, leaders and other sympathetic kinfolks. Even till today, despite crocodile tears, political grandstanding, the Pharisee-and-Scribes-like prayers, latter-day fake conversions, and speeches dripping with hypocrisy and dishonesty, such support and protection of Boko Haram is still there and stronger than ever. There—within the Northern populace; in the Nigeria Military; in the Nigeria Police; in the Nigerian political parties, in the Nigerian government. Even from foreign soils. After all, how can over 250 human beings be moved at once from one location without logistical planning and preparation, without leaving a trail or trace, all without involving local cooperation? That's why there is nothing anyone can do about Boko Haram and its destructiveness.
A little reminder… Who, not so long ago, successfully lobbied foreign governments—including the mighty USA—really hard, against declaring Boko Haram a terrorist organization even when it had already met all the criteria for such categorization? Do you understand how much it costs in terms of power, reach, pull, influence, money, resources and willfulness to accomplish that? Who pressured the Nigerian government initially (and even now) against arresting, trying and imprisoning Boko Haram members when they were caught? Are these parties and entities not with us today still? Think: Northerners, their foreign sponsors and sympathizers; UK, US, EU, the UN also—they are all complicit in one way or another. At one point, even the respected world Human Rights Organizations were exclusively concerned about the treatment of Boko Haram members, while being loudly silent on the victims' and surviving family members' rights. That's why there is nothing that you can do about Boko Haram.
Remember when they were singing the dirge of “poverty”: oh, if only the North wasn't stricken with so much poverty, as a result (obviously) of deliberate acts of the South in cahoots with the Nigerian government, to thoroughly subjugate the North and deprive the North of God-given air and water, there would be no Boko Haram? Remember that one? Who were behind this ruse? Northern leaders. Northern politicians. Northerners in government. The world, too. Pundits all over. And Northern people believed / believe that, showing preference for Boko Haram over the Nigerian government. They all bought into that one. And, still do. That's why you can't do anything about Boko Haram and its rampage.
Have you ever asked yourself how things got this way in Nigeria? Really, really? Of course, not. That's why peoples living in Nigeria have not asked themselves the question: will it always be this way with Nigeria? They are too busy ignoring every sign confirming the always worsening hellish existence known by the name, Nigeria; they are too busy being the “giant of Africa”, or celebrating Africa's “largest economy”; or citing Forbes magazine pick for the world's # 23 richest man. They are too busy getting ready for the next do-and-die elections, when, if a Northerner does not become the next President of Nigeria, Northerners will see to it that Nigeria continues to be ungovernable and will burn past ashes: you all will die. Or they are too busy being “optimistic”—meaning being really lazy about doing the correct thing to effectively solve the correct problem, yet expecting certain serious salvation from elsewhere. Or invoking their so-called “founding fathers” in a strange show of total ignorance: fact is, Zik, Awolowo and Bello each and all wanted to use Nigeria for their own individual ambitions; and in any case, colonial Luggard was Nigeria's founding father who was also using Nigeria to advance his own personal stature and career. They are too busy parroting that which does not make any sense at all—“the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable…” and mouthing the now all but silly mantra and oxymoron, “the indivisibility of Nigeria”, as if Nigeria was ever undivided. In a few more weeks, they will forget “our girls” as they lurch into another crisis, leaving heartbroken families to grieve alone and abandoning their children, our children, to their unenviable, unimaginable fate—alone—at the hands of sadistic Boko Haram. Yes, the rest of the world will move on too: the world suffers from “Sympathy-Fatigue syndrome”; sooner than later, Nigeria will be eclipsed on the world's radar, as the world's empathy and sympathy run out for peoples who do not want to rise up to defend and protect themselves.
Which all brings to focus the recent “Regional Summit on Security in Nigeria” held in Paris, sponsored by France, attended by Nigeria, Benin, Chad, Niger Republic, and Cameroon, as well as representatives and leaders from the US and other countries. In his address, President Jonathan who admitted that this was the second meeting on Africa security-related issues in France in one year, started with: “…It gives me great pleasure to attend this Special Summit to deliberate on the current security situation in Nigeria…”
“Great pleasure…” (—Jonathan)????? And then, President Jonathan follows that with obligatory, typical African-style, Nigerian-perfected sycophancy, before telling everyone what everyone already knew, and even knew more than he or Nigeria does. In effect, there was nothing really new in his speech; actually, nothing, period. As if to underscore this point, within hours after his speech, Boko Haram struck twice with the same impunity in the same areas with the same devastating effectiveness.
There is nothing Jonathan, even with the rest of the world “helping”, can do about Boko Haram. Experience and facts show that when terrorists are truly members of the same public of which a segment is being victimized, and when that public empathizes with, harbors, supports and protects the terrorists as family—whether in a regional, biological, sociological, cultural, political, ideological and or religious sense—the terrorists are there to stay. For that matter, despite the terrorism, that public regards their kin—the perpetrators—as anything but terrorists. For this reason, strong foreign help and intervention has yet to rid any nation of that nation's terrorists or terrorism when such is rooted as above. So, even with US, UK, EU, UN, China and whosever help, Nigeria is now doomed: Boko Haram is Nigeria's lot, etched in there and here to stay for all times.
But, don't think that this comes as a surprise to the world. Years ago, the world experts and intelligence on terrorism already predicted that Nigeria was ripe for a takeover by Al Qaeda even as Al Qaeda itself was plotting, scheming and planning on it. Nor was the outcome a secret to Nigeria's leaders. Back in September 2011, when he was still alive, General Azazi who was later killed by what must be a non-accidental mid-air explosion of the helicopter he was travelling in, declared: “Terrorism has come to stay [in Nigeria]”, after admitting that “the [Nigerian] nation's security outfits were caught unawares by the new dimension introduced by Boko Haram sect”. (See: http://elombah.com/index.php/articles-mainmenu/8157-per-azazi-nigeria-now-embracing-the-somali-path-is-south-sudan-option-still-possible--v15-8157 ). That was 3 years ago. They all knew. And, there is nothing they could or can do about Boko Haram.
So, expect Nigeria to be like Somali, except unbelievably worse. Expect Nigeria to be like Pakistan, except weirdly worse. Expect Nigeria to be like Afghanistan, except mind-bogglingly worse. Like Iraq, but unfathomable worse. Like Yemen, but impossibly worse. Nigeria is already worse than any other known nationally or internationally-based terrorism hotbed, what with this recent mass abduction of young girls and children in one fell swoop, with such impunity and arrogance on the part of the terrorists and with such powerlessness by the government, such resignation by the so-called Nigerian peoples and such helplessness and hopelessness by the victim's families.
Here's the big question: Do you really want to be part of this Nigeria whose ugly, horrific picture is getting clearer by the day, by the hour? In the past, you have deluded yourself and made yourself a laughingstock by this “indivisibility of Nigeria” mirage. Are you that blind not to see the obvious divisions, and how such disunion is being exploited by the same authors of that false statement and by everyone else, for that matter? You have been confused, indoctrinated and made a fool of with the “Nigeria is non-negotiable” rhetoric, especially as used by Northern leaders, when in fact Nigeria is being negotiated: Nigeria is being given away to Boko Haram, by Northern Nigerian leadership; you sit there pretending oblivion even as it is happening under your very nose. For that matter, when Northern leaders say Nigeria is non-negotiable, they actually mean that they have always been in possession of Nigeria, and there is nothing you can do about that, or do about what they want to do with Nigeria. You have no say as to where they are taking Nigeria: not before (didn't Babangida register Nigeria as a member of OIC—Organization of Islamic Conference; what have you done about it?); not now (Boko Haram gains and reigns: what are you doing about that?); and not in the future (completely Shariarized, Islamized Nigeria).
Today, say, No! to Nigeria, the terrorist hotbed. Say, Yes! to your own nation, your own country, where you can deal with terrorism should such alien evil notion creep into your civilized national space. Say, No! to Nigeria where evil thrives because of certain vested interests and support, and because what is truly universally evil is accepted, condoned and celebrated by a segment as right. Say, Yes! to your own country and your own nation where such inhumane thought and acts as Boko Haram's would never even cross the collective mind.
Do not for one moment believe or agree with the foreign pundits and or their leaders who want to support one-Nigeria—who say that they are here to help shore up one-Nigeria against terrorism. One-Nigeria does not work. If the foreigners sustain one-Nigeria, they are only making it possible for terrorism to overrun the entire area; in the end, there is nothing they can do about that, but you, yes, you and your families and peoples will suffer the consequences. The same foreigners caused the root problem of Nigeria by amalgamating the South and the North and forcing the South into perpetual servitude to the North by that arrangement, with the resultant constant friction today, in the first place. Today, references are being made about Biafra, the consequence of the non-workability of one Nigeria; the same foreigners saw to it then that that only hope for this geospace growing and progressing, each nation along its own trajectory and at its own pace, was snuffed out by their supporting one-Nigeria to kill off Biafra. It's only in rare moments of honesty that you will hear them or even Nigerians admit this, even though no one can avoid or escape the paralyzing and stunting effects of such a pyrrhic victory in Nigeria today. So, no matter how many security summits Africans or Nigerians attend in Paris, as long as the pledge is to shore up one-Nigeria, no one can stop Boko Haram. As long as one-Nigeria exists, terrorism has not only already won but has also become entrenched in the entire geospace. These foreigners already foresaw Al Qaeda coming to Nigeria and could not stop it, assuming they did something about it at all. When these foreigners enforce one-Nigeria, they are making it easy and inevitable for terrorism to occupy and own the entire “one-Nigeria” territory: they will not be able to stop that development—assuming they will even do something at all. If one-Nigeria continues to exist, you might as well count on it all being Al Qaeda's own country, an all-Al Qaeda territory.
It is up to you. Don't think that Boko Haram cannot reach into your own community, even as we speak, and cart off your own children with impunity, no matter where you reside as long as it is one-Nigeria. And as long as it is one-Nigeria, don't think that there is anything you or the government or the peoples or the world can do about such a dastardly act by Boko Haram. The sure antidote to Boko Haram is No-Nigeria. The only way to stop Al Qaeda or Terrorism owning you and Nigeria is to get your nation and people out of Nigeria. Do something meaningful and effective: say, No! to one-Nigeria. Actualize your own country and be in charge of and responsible for it and your own people.
Oguchi Nkwocha, MD
A Biafran Citizen