HAVE YOU HEARD?
Amid the din of multiple bomb explosions, it's very easy to miss 'oral explosions' particularly if they are happening very far away from home, as in, say, South Africa. As against real bombs that blow up real people to pieces every few hours, the political bombs that exploded last week were just as deadly, though without being bloody.
The first to detonate his verbal bomb is a familiar name. Apparently General Andrew Azazi, formerly of the Nigerian Army and lately President Goodluck Jonathan's National Security Adviser had been carrying his 'bomb' concealed somewhere in his chest for more than a year, searching for the best location to detonate it. He found the perfect place last Saturday in Asaba, the Delta State capital during a South-South Economic Summit that has now become a defining moment of truth for the government which Azazi serves.
What Mr. Azazi said, in summary, was that the violence in northern Nigeria, which is generally attributed to a religious group known as Jamaatus Ahlis Sunnah Lidda wati wal Jihad ( Boko Haram to the general public), is the response of northern politicians that lost power to Ijaw nation's Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 presidential elections.
There is of course nothing explosive in this well known ( conspiracy) theory because many people have either said so bluntly, implied so or think so. Even the president actually insinuated so when he said there are Boko Haram in his government. But what the president said didn't sound so outrageous partly because, well, the country has become used to the president's phenomenal gaffes.
What is explosive in this instance is because the NSA said so. Finally. Now all those that love to say that the government is 'clueless' about where the bombs were coming from and what to do about them should bury their faces in shame. Although it can be argued that it was clumsily presented, Azazi's submission was a premeditated analysis of the Boko Haram situation as he understands it. Whether the NSA is right or wrong in going public with his prognosis is academic. What is important is the practical implication of his confession; as the NSA, he will act, or in fact has been acting, according to his understanding of the situation. The real danger will be if it turns out the NSA is wrong, because then he would be chasing the wrong targets while the real threat grows from strength to strength.
And there are two very good reasons that say he is wrong. One is that there was a Boko Haram long before Jonathan dreamt of becoming president. From the time he became vice president, then acting president, and finally a contentious presidential candidate that won a disputed election, a Boko Haram was there all along, and it was as deadly then as it is now.
Secondly, at no time did the sect ever put forward a demand that the PDP's zoning formula should be observed in future elections. Their grouse has been that their leader and hundreds of their members had been brutally murdered while many others have been captured and thrown into a specially created dungeon that is the equivalent of hell on earth. Hundreds of them, according to some reports are right now languishing in that dudgeon while their spouses are routinely arrested and tortured. If Azazi doubts this, he should interrogate former Borno state governor, Ali Modu Sherrif, or even Isa Yugudu of Bauchi state.
Then while the NSA's verbal bomb was still reverberating and forcing the government into attempting a desperate, unconvincing damage control, another political bomb exploded in far away South Africa. Mr. Henry Okah, remember him? He is the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the umbrella body of all Niger Delta militant groups.
In what is the first of its kind for a sitting president on the African continent, Okah deposed to an affidavit at a South African court where he is undergoing trial and declared that President Goodluck Jonathan masterminded the two bomb blasts that occurred in Nigeria in May and October 2010. And why would Mr. Jonathan do that? According to Okah, the blasts were aimed at demonizing the North while generating sympathy for Jonathan's 2011 presidential bid. This might sound too exorbitant to believe, but it is still an affidavit. As of last Friday, the presidency is still struggling to find the appropriate response to this very damaging indictment.
Then the third bomb went off. The global corruption watch dog, Transparency International (TI), wrote a letter to the federal government and warned that the speed and scope of corruption in the country is 'Gargantuan' this year. Gargantuan is probably too mild, except that there is no harder word to describe what is happening in our country today. Everybody is stealing as if there will be no tomorrow and the government just keeps collecting the reports of the revelations and putting them aside. Instead of the government making any effort to recover some of these stolen monies, it is making plans to borrow $8bn (eight billion dollars) from foreign lenders; which will take the nations debt profile to about $12bn, roughly the amount the country parted with in an unprecedented ' gargantuan' debt repayment no nation ever tried to do and none would ever try to do.
Less strident than all these other explosions, was another explosive bomb that is reverberating through the polity. A friend mentioned that a very prominent Igbo leader called him and bitterly complained to him about the rising poverty level in the South East. Reason? Because the trading space in the North is shrinking. The Igbo leader said their people are relocating back to the East with their families and the place is becoming chucked up. 'So please do something', the fellow concluded. So help us God, it escaped the poor fellow's mind that as they flee, the Igbos are taking with them two vital ingredients for economic growth: entrepreneurship and capital, thereby leaving the North poorer as well.
Now connect all the dots and do the math . Can you hear the explosion? That's the real bomb. That's your country being blown up to pieces. A breathe of fresh air indeed.