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Jun
02

BOKO HARAM: UNRAVELLING AN ENIGMA by CAMERON DUODU

BOKO HARAM: UNRAVELLING AN ENIGMA WRAPPED INSIDE A PUZZLE

By CAMERON DUODU

 

Disintegration is the most important possibility that should be considered, when Nigeria’s future comes up for a prognosis.

And yet,  the rest of Africa cannot countenance that, as it  would be an extremely grave development for the continent.

A disintegrated Nigeria would be so weak internally that it would be forced to become totally inward-looking. Regional and continental concerns would no longer be its lookout.
It would be disastrous for Africa if Nigeria were to become weak for – it should be recalled – Liberia and Sierra Leone would be failed states today if, in the 1990s, Nigeria and her ECOMOG partners (including Ghana) had not deployed military forces to lift the two countries out of the atavistic politics that had imploded their polities.

More recently, Mali and the Ivory Coast also had Nigeria (and ECOWAS) to thank for their contribution – alongside that of France – in restoring peace to them.

Indeed, Nigerians have many African initiatives to be proud of, about which they have been admirably modest. These Nigerian achievements on the African scene stretch as far back as the 1970s; only a few years after Nigeria had, herself, emerged from a searing civil war – the Biafran war. Reeling though she was from that tragedy, Nigeria nevertheless made a singular contribution to the very existence, as sovereign states, of Angola (1975) and Zimbabwe (1980).

UPDATE: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2644920/Hostage-schoolgirl-EXCLUSIVE-Mail-Sunday-hears-tape-desperate-pleas-kidnapped-Nigerian-pupils-held-jungle-one-saying-I-never-expected-suffer-like-life.html

That is why Boko Haram, by puncturing the soft underbelly of Nigerian politics, has posited itself as the enemy of all Africa. The rest of Africa therefore has a responsibility to reach out to Nigeria in her hour of need and offer it moral support. This is especially expected of those Africans whose perspectives relate to the interests of our continent as a whole, among whom we Ghanaians, as the first Africans to be politically weaned on Pan-Africanist ideals, must stand out. We must encourage Nigerians – in case their forlorn state of the moment erodes their self-confidence – to rise above the current Boko Haram débâcle.
Indeed, the worst thing the rest of Africa could do would be to isolate and mock Nigeria, and push her irretrievably into the arms of the United States and its allies. Yes, Nigeria has no choice but to warmly welcome the offer of intelligence and technical assistance from the Western countries to rescue the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram.

Accepting technical assistance from anyone is not a disgrace. But Nigeria must retain full ownership of the military campaign for which such assistance has become necessary. For Nigeria must fiercely safeguard its position as the country with the greatest potential to win for Africa, a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Africa, as the second largest continent in the world, is owed such a seat. Otherwise the United Nations will continue to be a caricature of the organisation dedicated to the achievement of true world peace, that was envisaged by the UN’s founding fathers at the end of the bloodfest that was the Second World War. The truth is that the world has changed beyond recognition since 1945. Current problems need an African input if they are to be resolved peacefully. But Africans cannot be taken seriously if their richest and most populous representative at the UN is herself racked by self-inflicted wounds from which she must be rescued by those some of whose policies she would be opposing, if she held a permanent seat at the Security Council.

Some observers think, in fact, that the Boko Haram disaster has not been inflicted upon Nigeria by accident. There are external interests which object to Nigeria’s rising influence in West Africa, to be sure.

But the Jonathan regime also has powerful internal enemies. Perhas President Goodluck Jonathan bit more than he could chew when, after succeeding to the remainder of the term of the deceased President Umaru Yar ‘Adua in May 2010, he used his incumbency to bulldoze his way to win the People’s Democratic Party’s presidential nomination for the second Yar ‘Adua term as well, in the 2011 election. He won, but at what cost?

The electoral map of Nigeria in the 2011 polls tells the story. It loudly proclaims the disaffection that Jonathan earned for himself throughout Northern Nigeria, as almost the entire North rejected him. Northerners firmly showed that they thought Jonathan had short-changed them by unilaterally annulling the delicate “zoning” arrangement within the PDP, meant to ensure that its presidential candidacy rotated around all the regions of Nigeria. (Each region was supposed to be accorded two terms, according to the “zoning” scheme.)

By seeking re-election in 2011 and thus “stealing” the “North’s second term”, Jonathan inevitably offended many Northern political potentates with an eye on the top job themselves.

However, recalcitrant as their enmity was, Jonathan has added to it by allowing some of his followers to attack the man reputed to have to have steered Jonathan’s ship into political waters in the first place – ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The perception that emerges from such a scenario is that even if all these powerful potentates are not directly behind the terrorists grouped around Boko Haram, they will withhold information about the terrorists – if they have it. For one thing former heads of state and other high functionaries never lack is information.

That is why no-one in Nigeria seriously believes that the current embarrassing political atmosphere is to be laid solely at the door of Boko Haram and its rabble-rouser of a leader, Abubakar Shekau.

Some say the real manipulators of the situation are playing a game of – “Catch me if you can!” with President Goodluck Jonathan. And there is a whole year of that to come — before the next election.

 

 

 

 

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BOKO HARAM: UNRAVELLING AN ENIGMA WRAPPED

INSIDE A PUZZLE

By CAMERON DUODU

Disintegration is the most important possibility that should be

considered, when Nigeria’s future comes up for a prognosis.
And yet, for the rest of Africa, that would be an extremely grave development. A disintegrated Nigeria would be so weak internally that it would be forced to become totally inward-looking. Regional and continental concerns would no longer be its concern.
It would be disastrous for Africa if Nigeria were to become weak for – it should be recalled – Liberia and Sierra Leone would be failed states today if, in the 1990s, Nigeria and her ECOMOG partners (including Ghana) had not deployed military forces to lift the two countries out of the atavistic politics that had imploded their polities.

More recently, Mali and the Ivory Coast also had Nigeria (and ECOWAS) to thank for their contribution – alongside that of France – in restoring peace to them.

Indeed, Nigerians have many African initiatives to be proud of, about which they have been admirably modest. These Nigerian achievements on the African scene stretch as far back as the 1970s; only a few years after Nigeria had, herself, emerged from a searing civil war – the Biafran war. Reeling though she was from that tragedy, Nigeria nevertheless made a singular contribution to the very existence, as sovereign states, of Angola (1975) and Zimbabwe (1980).

Martha Mark holds up a photograph of her daughter Monica who is one of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram

That is why Boko Haram, by puncturing the soft underbelly of Nigerian politics, has posited itself as the enemy of all Africa. The rest of Africa therefore has a responsibility to reach out to Nigeria in her hour of need and offer it moral support. This is especially expected of those Africans whose perspectives relate to the interests of our continent as a whole, among whom we Ghanaians, as the first Africans to be politically weaned on Pan-Africanist ideals, must stand out. We must encourage Nigerians – in case their forlorn state of the moment erodes their self-confidence – to rise above the current Boko Haram débâcle.
Indeed, the worst thing the rest of Africa could do would be to isolate and mock Nigeria, and push her irretrievably into the arms of the United States and its allies. Yes, Nigeria has no choice but to warmly welcome the offer of intelligence and technical assistance from the Western countries to rescue the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram.

Accepting technical assistance from anyone is not a disgrace. But Nigeria must retain full ownership of the military campaign for which such assistance has become necessary. For Nigeria must fiercely safeguard its position as the country with the greatest potential to win for Africa, a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Africa, as the second largest continent in the world, is owed such a seat. Otherwise the United Nations will continue to be a caricature of the organisation dedicated to the achievement of true world peace, that was envisaged by the UN’s founding fathers at the end of the bloodfest that was the Second World War. The truth is that the world has changed beyond recognition since 1945. Current problems need an African input if they are to be resolved peacefully. But Africans cannot be taken seriously if their richest and most populous representative at the UN is herself racked by self-inflicted wounds from which she must be rescued by those some of whose policies she would be opposing, if she held a permanent seat at the Security Council.

Some observers think, in fact, that the Boko Haram disaster has not been inflicted upon Nigeria by accident. There are external interests which object to Nigeria’s rising influence in West Africa, to be sure.

But the Jonathan regime also has powerful internal enemies. Perhas President Goodluck Jonathan bit more than he could chew when, after succeeding to the remainder of the term of the deceased President Umaru Yar ‘Adua in May 2010, he used his incumbency to bulldoze his way to win the People’s Democratic Party’s presidential nomination for the second Yar ‘Adua term as well, in the 2011 election. He won, but at what cost?

The electoral map of Nigeria in the 2011 polls tells the story. It loudly proclaims the disaffection that Jonathan earned for himself throughout Northern Nigeria, as almost the entire North rejected him. Northerners firmly showed that they thought Jonathan had short-changed them by unilaterally annulling the delicate “zoning” arrangement within the PDP, meant to ensure that its presidential candidacy rotated around all the regions of Nigeria. (Each region was supposed to be accorded two terms, according to the “zoning” scheme.)

By seeking re-election in 2011 and thus “stealing” the “North’s second term”, Jonathan inevitably offended many Northern political potentates with an eye on the top job themselves.

However, recalcitrant as their enmity was, Jonathan has added to it by allowing some of his followers to attack the man reputed to have to have steered Jonathan’s ship into political waters in the first place – ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The perception that emerges from such a scenario is that even if all these powerful potentates are not directly behind the terrorists grouped around Boko Haram, they will withhold information about the terrorists – if they have it. For one thing former heads of state and other high functionaries never lack is information.

That is why no-one in Nigeria seriously believes that the current embarrassing political atmosphere is to be laid solely at the door of Boko Haram and its rabble-rouser of a leader, Abubakar Shekau.

Some say the real manipulators of the situation are playing a game of – “Catch me if you can!” with President Goodluck Jonathan. And there is a whole year of that to come — before the next election.

 

 

 

 

Click here to Reply or Forward

 

 

 

 

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