Monday 11 May 2015

Boko Haram: Jonathan’s finest hour

BOKO HARAM, interpreted to mean “Western
education is evil”, did not begin with President
Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
It did not even
come into existence with late President Shehu

Yar’Adua (Jonathan’s predecessor) tenure. It was
the creation of Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration
– 1999 to 2007 – when one of the governors then,
Ahmodu Sheriff of Bornu State, rode to power
through the formation and financial sustenance of
this religious sect, which was to become deadly.
Lieutenant General Jeremiah Useni, a one-time
Chairman of the defunct All Nigerian People Party
(the political party that produced Ahmodu Sheriff as
governor of Bornu State] attested to the  fact that
“Ahmodu Sheriff created Boko Haram”.
It is however a statement of fact that this
organisation [Boko Haram] was to grow beyond
measure of control during the life of the present
administration for many reasons. Some of the
reasons, if properly evaluated, are internal while
some are external. It may be prudent, if only for
purposes of historical documentation, to put the
reasons in perspective, as doing so will help in
identifying areas of blames whenever the need
would arise in the future.
First and major was the incident that preceded
Jonathan’s coming to office as President during the
“eve”, so to say of Yar’Adua’s tenure, when the
leader of the sect; Abubakar, was arrested by the
Military in Maiduguri and properly handed him over
to the Police for diligent investigation and
prosecution but the Police turned around to do one
of the things they know how to do best – extra-
judicial killing, as the man was summarily executed
without approaching the judiciary. It came to pass,
for that reason, that even before the death of
President Yar’Adua, and before the assumption of
Goodluck Jonathan to office, through the “doctrine
of necessity”, the Boko Haram sect had declare war
against the Nigerian State.
This was followed by religious factor as the sect
quickly found a more dangerous ally in the most
dreaded Al’ Qaeda movement, strongly rooted in the
Middle East with its stupendous financial empire.
The Nigerian Government under President Jonathan,
was either ignorant or entirely naïve, to
acknowledge and understand the enormity of the
enemy. This was to become its great undoing for
the government and people of Nigeria.
The events of 2011 general elections did not help
matters as far as Boko Haram was concerned.
Some people believed, with measure of religious
and tribal emotion though, that the presidency must
“return to the North, at least to complete Yar’Adua’s
tenure”. For this group of people, Goodluck
Jonathan “dare not compete” and “if he did and
wins”, this group warned, “We shall make Nigeria
ungovernable for him”. Of course, Boko Haram
“operational base” was strengthened by this
declaration of “making Nigerian ungovernable”,
more so when Boko Haram is viewed from its
Islamic religious background.
Jonathan made it to
the presidency of course, but not without paying the
price of the threat quoted above, which partly helped
the escalation of the insurgency with its total siege
over three States of North/East Nigeria: Adamawa,
Bornu and Yobe. The rest is now history.
The war began when Boko Haram hoisted its flag
and set up administrative and governmental
headquarter units around that part of the country
and re-named it a Caliphate of sort. It was glaring at
the beginning that the Nigerian Military was not
ready for the “rule of operational engagement” as
our Armed Forces was losing ground, men and
equipment to the insurgents daily . People could not
comprehend why the Nigerian Armed Forces they
expected much from had become such a rag- tag
before Boko Haram until some appalling facts began
to emerge.
One, the Nigerian Military, unknown to many, has
outlived its operational efficiency in material
equipment of modern warfare. It was to be proved
later that more than 35 years before  Jonathan’s
arrival to the Presidency, successive Nigerian
leaders [either Military or civilian] refused to equip
the military with modern weapons of war. So, the
Armed Forces President Jonathan inherited from his
predecessors, was a bunch of professionals without
professional equipment.
And President Jonathan
himself did not understand this dangerously
intricate situation on time until, as Commander-in-
Chief, he presided over deployment of his troops for
slaughter by the more equipped Boko Haram
This lack of modern fighting equipment was again
compounded by lack of professionalism in means
and ways of deploying field commanders to the
battle fields. How on earth the President’s Service
Chiefs would deploy, sometimes “relation of the
enemy” [as reflected in deploying core Northerners
and die-hard Muslims as General officers
Commanding – GOC] to the warfronts shall remain
a big puzzle for students of combat warfare.
this is just one of the many blunders that bordered
on deployment of troops. What about the great
sabotage of some key service personnel which of
course resulted into the multitude of deserters and
those for Military Court Marshals, where conviction
for death and imprisonment became easily
secured? With all these calamities the conclusion
drawn by majority around the globe was that “a
clueless President Goodluck Jonathan” could not
defeat Boko Haram as he could not PENETRATE
SAMBISA FOREST, the fortress and symbol of
hostility.President Jonathan, at his exit point, is
dancing a victorious dance in sambisa forest.
We salute you on your way out as we welcome
Muhammadu Buhari to continue from where you
*Mr. Etakibuebu, a commentator on current affairs ,
wrote from Lagos.

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