Boko Haram: Go tell it to Mr. President
When the Niger Delta region was teetering towards the brink of great turmoil, it appeared as though this Nigeria, because of her stark dependence on the region's 'black gold' to run the engine of governance, was heading towards the much-dreaded
secession of component units.
Put commonly, it appeared as if the much-theorised dream of this Nigeria, as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign entity, was about to be subjected to the pounding of the pestle in the waiting mortar. But this was not the original intent of those insurgents during those heyday of ceaseless, yet needful agitations for a secured future. As it was evident in their display of doggedness tempered by great resolve and strength of purpose.
Those Niger Delta insurgents, it has to be said, exhibited courage and tactfulness in the struggle for improvement in the dwindling fortunes of their lives and their fast degraded region.
They, to use the catchwords of the highly perspicacious Professor of English, Agwonorobo Eruvbetine, in his Intellectualized Emotions and the Art of James Joyce, at the very most, understand that their cause must be 'rationally controlled' and 'non-impulsive'.
They never a time butchered innocent citizens, neither did they flagrantly damaged public utilities, or punctured the safety of citizenry, but approached, systematically, their demands with a high sense of human self-enlightenment. To articulate these, they cursively scripted their needs, often too neglected by successive governments of this Nigeria, which, in clear terms, spelt out their grouses.
Most famous are the Ogoni Bill of Rights of 1990 and the Kaiama Declaration of 1998 which asserted the will of the people to political self-determination. These essential documents, I so suppose, formally provided a lead to the way forward by the government and brought to the foreground the piteous conditions of the region to the international community. In a manner, these documents acted as a speaking voice in their agitation for fiscal federalism and real rule of law.
I do not intend to complicate the already terrifying and obviously blood-curdling scenarios that have, in recent times, haunted the citizens of this Nigeria by engaging in rhetoric which focus on the origin of these extremists who have dubbed themselves Boko Haram, and have remained leech-like enigma to Nigerians. This 'invincible' sect has not only inflicted emotional and psychological pains on Nigerians, but has vivified the human capacity in a manner akin to the voice of emotion rather than reason.
By their repulsive endeavours, they have turned into societal asphyxiants by asphyxiating the Nigerian government's intent and will. Yet, I do very well think that they have their demands, yet to be known, when, if subjected to the furnace of constructive dialogue, portends good, not only to them, but our Nigeria.
Up till this moment, everyone seems lost as to the purpose of the Boko Haram which continues to hover in thin air, yet appears to be cavassing the same ideology as other known international terrorist outfits around the world which always keep their activities clandestine.
The only message we can gather from this non-mainstream group is that, they, with other enemies of the state and of the people, have sworn to make this country 'ungovernable' for the reigning administration of Goodluck Jonathan. Evidences of this vow are mindless killings of innocent citizens in an orgy of bombings, destruction of hitherto flourishing public and private utilities as well as institutions, thus leading to a forced disruption of the public peace. These acts of terror are premised on purely mistaken belief of love for Allah.
But they may be oblivious of the fact that no free being has ever defied the laws of creation by wantonly destroying in order to create.
That no agitation, however necessary, remains known when it only thrives in the hiding; perhaps, that they may well know that the triumph of evil over good, following the logic of existence, can only, but be temporary.
Boko Haram, may also consider that the sacrosanct declaration: 'Allah is Great', which they consistently use to reinforce their conviction for their bestial acts, is in tandem with long lasting positive fulfilments. Out of self-conviction, these misguided fellows have continued to brand their ill-actions as great. But in what ways have members of the Boko Haram sect exhibited greatness? At the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech in Oslo, Norway, President Barack Obama very well painted the true picture of greatness. To him: 'Greatness is never a gift, it must be earned'.
Concretely, I will greatly be remiss if I condemn the nefarious activities of this sect. For one of the logics of existence, 'live and let's live', has done so; neither do I want to appeal to their impenitent conscience; but I do know that taking concerted steps tailored towards opening up their demands to a listening president like Goodluck Jonathan who has so far reticently matched commitment to principles with a concern for civility', will go a long way in engendering a gradual and progressive change in the country.
This will, in no small measure, heal the wounds of failed dreams of some ambitious individuals and reposition the country to a secured path, rather than engaging in unjustified war against innocent citizens. Unclench your fist, go tell it to Mr. President!
If otherwise, they cleave to their terroristic turves, I leave them to ponder over the cautionary words of President Obama, on his inauguration address on January 20, 2009, thus: 'To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's woes on the West: know that your people will judge you on what you build, not what you destroy'.
Mr. LEXZY OCHIBEJIVWIE, a doctoral student of UNILAG, wrote from Lagos.