PDP Needs To Tell Nigerians All It Knows About Boko Haram.
In a country where the citizenry do not ask hard questions, one can commit blue murder and walk away with it. In some cases, he can be garlanded for bravery and lionized for heroism as we have become accustomed to seeing in Nigeria. But a land where citizens do not ask questions or raise posers and expect convincing answers is dead as heaps of riddles and jigsaw puzzles pile on each other for space. Such a country is bound to tolerate anything and live with any given situation no matter how demeaning. Perhaps, it is the reason why Nigerians are so adaptive, so tolerant and can manage the paradox of being the third poorest nation on earth with being the happiest people on earth.
Let us recall that as soon as Jonathan won the 2011 election and Boko Haram, either through inaction or tacit support of Nigerian officialdom, became more bolder and daring, the reigning song from Jonathan and PDP camp was that Boko Haram came into being because Jonathan, a Southerner won election and that some people vowed to make Nigeria ungovernable for Jonathan. It sounded so sweet to the ears of the rabid supporters of Jonathan and the PDP as it went viral. This was irrespective of the fact that Boko Haram predated the 2011 election and that it became so intertwined to a bloody war with the state after its leader was killed by Jonathan's predecessor who had a firm resolve to wipe out the sect. it did not even matter to Jonathan and PDP supporters that there had been fiercer radical groups in the North even under Northern rule like the Maitatsine and that the objectives of such groups are founded on radical employment of religion to sow dread and blood on others. But to them, it was all targeted at the PDP and this prevailed for a long time.
It was so pervasive that when the late National Security Adviser, General Patrick Azazi who was a kinsman to Jonathan released a security report that directly indicted PDP and its obnoxious politics for the prevalence of the Boko Haram crisis, no one listened. Hear Azazi in an address he presented at the South South Economic Summit in Asaba Delta State:
“In discussing the relationship between national security and development, let me say that one cannot do without the other,” the NSA said.“The issue of violence did not increase in Nigeria until when there was a declaration by the current president that he was going to contest. PDP got it wrong from the beginning. The party started by saying Mr. A can rule, and Mr. B cannot rule, according to PDP conventions, rules and regulations and not according to the constitution. That created the climate for what is happening or manifesting itself in country. Is it possible that somebody was thinking that only Mr. A could win, and if he did not win, he could cause a problem in the society.
It was as damning as it was and dealt a rude blow to the calculations of the PDP and the Jonathan government on Boko Haram. Because it was not pleasant to their ears, the report was played down and instead, Azazi was quickly removed and he was to die soon after in a mysterious helicopter crash in his native Bayelsa State.
Again, let us recall that a PDP senator, Ali Ndume was arrested in connection with support for Boko Haram when a senior member of the sect, Ali Sandar Umar Konduga revealed him as one of the sponsors of the sect. While Ndume admitted that he was on a telephone contact with the group. He swore to an affidavit at an Abuja High Court affirming that Vice President, Namadi Sambo was aware of his dealings with Boko Haram. The issue was watered down because it did not add some rose to the PDP's calculations on the Boko Haram issue.
PDP knew all these and glossed over them. A nation was to watch helplessly as Boko Harsm grew in reach and stature and overgrew its limited provincial domain to launch bizarre and daring attacks on choice targets all over the North. The Federal Capital was not spared as even the Police headquarters and the United Nations office in Abuja were successfully attacked in this era of madness. Curiously too, the state cowered away and waxed limp as Boko Haram increased the intensity of its attack.
As government flailed and the nation remained at the mercy of Boko Haram, PDP and the Jonathan government were busy composing songs of those that want to use Boko Haram to run them out of power. They blamed the opposition and the North for their failure to make any reasonable dent as the group grew more powerful and audacious and these formed the official reactions they made on the relentless raid of Boko Haram on defenseless citizens. Tolls mounted and casualties swelled but they remained satisfied with the feat they recorded passing the blame on their opponents.
When the APC emerged from a coalition of legacy parties and with the verve with which it launched, PDP and the Jonathan presidency found a pawn for the Boko Haram malady. Instead of marshalling full force to stop the insurgent's threat, it was more interested in labeling APC as a Boko Haram party fighting a Christian party (PDP) and a Christian government. Even as APC challenged Jonathan to move in and arrest its members found culpable in the Boko Haram brouhaha, the government simply grew numb and waited for the next attack to blame the APC.
Let us recall that it was the involvement of former Borno Governor, Modu Sherrif in the APC that gave PDP its major prop to tag APC as Boko Haram and it seemed to work as it lasted. The quintessential weather cock, Femi Fani Kayode, running desperately from justice for his corrupt deeds while serving as minister of Aviation, found it so comforting to soften the ears of the mandarins in PDP and purchase for him an acquittal from the clutches of justice, as is traditional with PDP. It worked for him.
As soon as APC was formed, Modu Sherrif started waxing conspiratorially uncomfortable about power sharing in the party and immediately followed this up with the declaration of intent to join PDP. A shocked nation was to observe that it took this declaration of intent for the Jonathan government to open a closed Maiduguri airport, which use was even denied pilgrims from the state, for the sole use of Sherrif. If this was not shocking enough, a distraught and aghast nation was to see their president, who had sounded so sanctimonious about his opponents use of Boko Haram to unseat him, include Sherrif in his entourage to Chad. When the outcry against this immoral politics went out, the presidency was to offer a most tepid and infantile defence to the effect that Sherrif gate crashed into the president\s meeting with the Chadian president because he was in Chad when Jonathan came visiting! What a baloney!
But were Nigerians fooled? I doubt it gauging from their reactions from this suggestive embrace for a man that should be a social reject and an outlaw. These however merely served as a precursor to the bombshell from an Australian priest and a federal government negotiator with both the Niger Delta militants and Boko Haram. He was to make a public revelation that both Sherrif and the former Chief of Army Staff who is now a chieftain of PDP, Ihejirika were behind sponsorship of Boko Haram. This was not what PDP wanted to hear at that time and his report was hushed.
These are the untidy puzzles the Jonathan government and the PDP are battling to fix. With each passing day, these naturally fall in place and reveal what is emerging as a frightful scenario that PDP and the Jonathan government know more than they are telling Nigerians on the Boko Haram issue. We need full disclosure here. What more, from the very blues, we are suddenly hearing of the possibility of the release of the Chibok girls. We are suddenly being treated to happy scenarios of the Boko Haram insurgents suddenly balking and throwing up their arms in surrender, even without a fight. We are suddenly being treated to definite timelines by both Jonathan and the PDP as to the foreslure of the Boko Haram menace. As laudable and heartwarming as these are, we wonder why the coincidence between these sudden gush of relief the nation has been denied for years with the foreclosure of the presidential contest for PDP for 2015. We wonder how this will help arrange the puzzle and give Nigerians a clearer picture of what really happened. Who sponsored Boko Haram and for what purpose, who did what and what really is the game plan. How come, the Jonathan government has suddenly discovered the Chibok girls to the extent of making campaign promises of their release? We remember that our soldiers were bolting with the speed of a Ferrari at the mention of Boko Haram just some few weeks ago. Many even fled to Camerouns and Boko Haram which emerged as a club wielding band of ragamuffins suddenly became a dreaded sect with such arms and ammunitions that our military reported being under-equipped in contrast with Boko Haram. The suddenness with which Boko Haram turned pawpaw is too swift and mechanical to be credible. We need to find out how the rouging of Boko Haram and the swiftness of their surrender fits into PDP's cold blooded calculations.
Don't tell me how incredulous it is for PDP to fund and bolster such groups for political and power retention advantages. It even happened here some light years ago with the late Abacha who was busy detonating bombs, killing his opponents and causing insurrection and turning round to blame his victims for such acts. If we decide to ignore all the relevant reports about Boko Haram which almost all indicted the PDP one way or the other, we will not ignore the fact that as of a sudden, the PDP is now marshalling the defeat of Boko Haram and the release of the Chibok girls as winning electoral strategies. I firmly believe this tallies fully with the opposition's position that PDP has been sustaining and fuelling Boko Haram for political gains. I believe time has come for the Jonathan regime and the PDP to take up the opposition's challenge for an international inquest into Boko Haram. This will clear the air on the emerging deadly political game that serves as the culmination of the Boko Haram politics. Before PDP takes up this challenge, they must tell the nation what they know about Boko Haram and clear the mountain heaps of indictments trailing it on the Boko Haram debacle.
Peter Claver Oparah.
E-mail: [email protected]
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