Jonathan rises above security challenge
Since the onslaught of the military against the insurgence by Boko Haram commenced, President Goodluck Jonathan has maintained an indefatigable commitment towards ridding the country of bloodshed associated with the activities of the sect. With a rising determination never seen before, the current administration has not only banned Boko Haram and other groups engaged in perpetrating violence against the nation, but also ensured that no effort is spared in tackling the current insurgence in the country.
The rescue of some towns in the states of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno has revealed the success of the military operations. Against the backdrop of the commitment of the government in ending Boko Haram scourge, various groups in the North have come out to condemn the current efforts geared towards resolving the problems associated with insecurity. First to throw stones at the federal government’s option of deploying military might after more than two years of attempts to drag the set to the negotiating table was the spokesman of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Mr Anthony Sani, who faulted the proscription of the group, saying it runs against the seed of hope which is premised on engaging the sect in dialogue in a bid to resolve the violence.
Even before the military option commenced, the sect, through its leader Imam Abubakar Shekau, had categorically declared that it was not willing to enter into dialogue with the federal government, insisting that it was the Jonathan-led administration that needed to be granted amnesty. The recent comments by the ACF spokesman on the need for the Jonathan administration to tread with caution in the handling of the Boko Haram imbroglio is a reflection of the double mind the forum has displayed towards bloodshed the group has become associated with.
It is unfortunate that instead of joining hands with the federal government to resolve the conundrum of violence brought about by the sect; certain Northern elements have described the current efforts of government as geared towards destroying the economy of the North-eastern states.
More worrisome are the recent comments of former Head of State General, Muhammadu Buhari, who castigated the Jonathan government for destroying suspected members of Boko Haram without displaying the carrot and stick option.
According to Buhari, it is only fair for the government to adopt the option of granting amnesty to suspected members of the sect and, thereafter, rehabilitate them. Those who have continued to follow this line of thinking are oblivious of the fact that the Boko Haram members are not the same with the Niger Delta militants.
Those conversant with the struggles of the Niger Delta militants since the days of Isaac Boro know that the militants have been engaged in the epic struggle of emancipating their people and environment from economic exploitation brought about by the many years of oil exploration. For them, the chicken that is laying the eggs has been made to suffer all forms of indignities.
This, according to the militants, is unacceptable and should be challenged. It is based on this fact that the federal government under President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua began efforts at resolving some of the issues that trailed the Niger Delta struggles. After several months of negotiation and agreement, the government then agreed to ensure that their demands were met by rehabilitating them and engaging them in positive fields of human endeavours.
With Boko Haram, it was clear from the beginning that they were set to islamise the country and challenge the secularity status of the country. The sect’s determination was demonstrated by its insistence of seizing certain areas and foisting their flags to poignantly signal the sect’s complete takeover of areas.
There is no doubt that since the Jonathan administration imposed a state of emergency on three of the states, a lot has been achieved under the government. Apart from bringing the rising spate of insecurity to the barest minimum, it is very clear that the government is on top of the situation. The successes achieved by the military in flushing out Boko Haram members from their strongholds in some of the states led to some youths in Maiduguri to rise up in unison to assist the military in its mandate to bring peace back to the troubled states.
Last Tuesday, it was reported that some youths in Borno State have resolved to assist the military in fighting the sect members who have since relocated to Chad to avoid arrest. This is cheering news taking into cognisance that members of the communities have previously being coerced into silence.
According to a leader of the youth groups that goes with the name, MK, they are resolved to assist the government in bringing peace to the state and rid such areas of the menace of violence. The essence of the resolve by the youths is that no peace can be achieved without the collaboration of the community.
Encouraged by the efforts deployed by the military since the imposition of emergency rule in the state, community leaders are becoming encouraged to join hands with the troops in combating the scourge of bloodshed and making peace to return to war-weary states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
In achieving this feat, the opposition parties in the country are not happy. They feel that the victory of the government over Boko Haram insurgence is a plus to the government. Instead of seeing Jonathan as a failed president, the opposition is increasingly been faced with the stark realities of an administration that has performed. With the 2015 sound beats coming closer, those opposed to the return of Jonathan in the next pools are jittery and plotting on how best to deal with the situation.
But Jonathan’s enemies seem to forget the profile of the Nigerian people who believe in equity and exercise patience towards the government. Having being impressed by the performance profile of the Jonathan in handling the security challenge that once ravaged some parts of the country, people have been impressed by the government and are willing to assist in broadening the frontiers of development for the country.
It is in this light that certain comments by some Northerners on the manner the government is handling the Boko Haram onslaught should be discountenanced. The North should note that the era of befuddling issues with sentiments is over. What is needed now is embarking on measures that can bring peace to the areas.
Considering the half-hearted measures of the Northern leadership in tackling the problem, the Jonathan government should be commended for its efforts. What is needed is collaborative measures to unite against the menace of Boko Haram and other groups warring against the sovereignty of the Nigerian state.
For too long, the North has remained dormant in rising up to the challenges posed by the sect’s insurgence. The North’s continued silence in the face of seeming fear is a clear signal of victory of fear over hope. Going by the number of deaths caused by Boko Haram, the federal government ought to be supported to resolve the problem.
Rufai, a public affairs commentator, writes from Abuja