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Posts tagged ‘APC’

We are seeing hell – Borno Elders.


 

The Bornu Elders, Monday gave a graphic details of how life in Borno and the entire north east has been reduced to hell by the activities insurgents.

Addressing a gathering of Northern Elders Forum in Kano, Zanna Hassan Boguma who delivered a goodwill message on behalf of Borno Elders Forum declared that the entire region is now engaged in full time war from enemy within.

Boguma stated that “we have been seeing hell, our people are constantly decimated, our towns and villages razed, properties destroyed, schools and places of worship burnt, even innocent travelers were not spared” .

The elder stateman said that from the inceasant attack that the axis had witnessed in the last weeks was a confirmation of how vulnerable the entire region is.
He disclosed that the region has been turn in to a war zone with attendant humanitarian crisis, stressing that this is the time the whole country should mobilized to stop the carnage.

Boguma who doubted the intention of the perpetrators of this crime against humanity in the region was quick to add that “much as we know, the whole matter has nothing to do with claimed intention of a section imposing their will on the others, or issues of sharia or making the country ungovernable for the President or a religious war as they want to look at it”.

He however accused the Federal Government of lacking the political will to address the crisis, pointing out that Borno Elders is surprised at the grave yard silence of Government and its inability to implement several report on the insurgency turned in by expert engaged to do so by the same Government.

The Borno Elders noted that the solution to the crisis does not lie with the PDP or APC, maintaining that the situation at hand transcend politics and urged the entire Country to identify with them at the moment of need.

This catastrophe which has befallen us should be the concern of all Northerners irrespective of tribe, region, or creed. Those of you who are residing far away shold know that other citizens needed your sympathy and attention”.

Boguma posited that “until those who were namd as supporters, financiers, and alliesto the Boko Haram were brought to justice, until the political Boko Haram were apprehended and prosecuted, until the operations to contain this madness is sincerely handled, lives of our innocent villagers will continued to be sacrificed”.

By AbdulSalam Muhammad

Source: Radio Biafra.

Jonathan 2015 & The Parable Of The Prostitute By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo.


 

Columnist:

By Rudolph Okonkwo

You must have seen one of those must read stories. There is this one about a lady who was a prostitute. She did her job so well and for so long. It also meant that she had to undergo a lot of abortions. At one point she decided to undergo a full hysterectomy to avoid any need for further abortions. The doctors indulged her after getting her to sign the consent. One of the lines on the consent form said she agreed that she would never have a baby again.

Along the way, as these stories go, she got redeemed. She accepted Christ and became born again. Her new passion for Christ found favor in the heart of the dashing pastor of her new age church. In no time, the pastor proposed to her. She was reluctant to accept, for obvious reasons. The pastor insisted that God spoke to him to marry her. She asked the pastor to check again for he must have misunderstood what God said. After going back and forth with the pastor insisting that he heard God well, she told the pastor that her womb had been taken out.

“No problem,” the pastor said. “I’ll still marry you.”

They got married. Lo and behold, before you could say honeymoon over she became pregnant. And that was when the story became interesting.

She returned to the doctor that removed her womb and reported that she was pregnant. After a natural bout of dismissal and doubts, the doctor did a pregnancy test and as the story put it, “to his greatest surprisation” the pastor discovered that the woman was pregnant for real.

To crown it all, on the ninth month, she gave birth to a baby. Not just any baby- she gave birth to the gold standard baby- “a bouncing baby boy.”

I know. By now your heart has melted like a spoon of butter left in the sun. And that’s when the peddlers of this tale finally strike. They now say to you in upper case:

“IT WAS THE GRACE, FAVOUR AND MERCY OF GOD that the prostitute could have a child. Therefore, I decree upon your life that whatsoever that has or might have damaged in your life, in your body, in your skills, your career, your academics, your business, MAY THE FAVOUR, MERCY, GRACE AND MIRACLE OF GOD LOCATE YOU. YOU TYPE AMEN TO THIS PRAYER, IN JESUS MIGHTY NAME, AMEN. My brothers & sisters, God still does this kind of miracles, just write “Amen” and share this story to your friends, you will see GOD perform a Miracle in your life today!!!”

Immediately, thousands of our compatriots rush to type Amen. If it is the one that urges you to forward the tale to 60 friends in six minutes so that Bill Gates will drop an iPad under your pillow, thousands of us will do so.

Nobody pauses to ask simple questions. Like, where will a fertilized egg get implanted on when the uterus, the fallopian tubes, the ovaries and the cervix were taken out during hysterectomy? Even in a partial hysterectomy, if fertilized egg is not self-aborted before the woman knows she’s pregnant, it gets attached to the other organs of the abdomen or the walls of one of the fallopian tubes, immediately putting the life of the mother in danger. Gynecologists and obstetricians often remove such rare fetuses. Unless a didelphic uterus is involved, hysterectomy is as good as sterility.

Those are the questions we should be asking and not singing, Amen. But trust us, Nigerians! We long for signs and wonders in place of reason and proof.

President Goodluck Jonathan knows this. And that’s why his handlers have designed a strategy that will keep him in Aso Rock until 2019. That strategy is very simple: show the people their miserable lives and point to them the people to blame for it. That’s how elections are typically won. In the case of Jonathan, he has crafted the people to blame – others.

Even though the presidency just issued a book, “The Reforms that have transformed Nigeria (2010-2013),” they are not basing the upcoming campaign on highlighting the various achievements listed in the book which they claim has made the lives of Nigerians more meaningful. Instead, they want you to just write Amen.

The ethno-religious reality of Nigeria has made it very simple for the president. The safe zones of the president are the South-South and the South East, the Middle Belt and the Christian North. The only region at play in the 2015 election is the South West. The Jonathan-Sambo ticket’s only path into the South West is through the church. The president has to grab 40% of the votes in the South West to win the election.

The opposition party, the APC is placed in a difficult position by this reality. The party also needs the South West vote to win. To get a significant number of the South West vote, the party has to juggle some complex parameters.

First, on the biggest masquerade in APC- General Buhari. A good analogy of his political fortune can be deduced from that of Emeka Ojukwu when he returned from exile in 1982. On Ojukwu’s return, an analyst said that, “if Ojukwu joins NPN, NPN is finished and if he joins NPP, NPP is finished.” Looking at the 2015 elections, the feelers out there is that the fate of APC is to a large extent dependent on whether Buhari runs or not. If he runs, APC is finished and if he doesn’t run, APC is finished. This thinking is based on the calculation that no matter how much President Jonathan screws up, Buhari cannot overcome the fair or unfair negative perceptions of him in some parts of the south. Some potential northern candidates are using this argument to keep Buhari from contesting at all.

The APC can pick a South West candidate for president. To ensure that the candidate has a chance up north, he or she must be a Muslim. The other alternative is to pick a Northern candidate for president and then pick a South West candidate for vice president. In this permutation, the only viable candidate from the South West with the kind of crossover appeal is Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State. But the Northern candidate cannot be a Muslim, too. Otherwise that will play into the hands of Jonathan and his PDP group already tagging APC a Muslim party.

If Fashola is the presidential candidate, he could deliver the South West votes but will the North line up behind him in the numbers needed to deflate Jonathan’s inroad into the North via the Middlebelt and the Christian North? If Fashola is the vice-presidential candidate which northern candidate at the head of the ticket will inspire enough confidence in the South West to secure over 70% of the votes there? Buhari did not in 2011 and he will not do so in 2015.

That is why Jonathan’s only challenge in these permutations is to squeeze out 40% of the South West vote, irrespective of the candidate APC will come up with. And the only way to do so is to carry the bible and the cross until election time.

And once the bible and the cross come out, like in the story of the prostitute, it is miracle and grace that follows not logic and reason. Objectivity disappears. Empirical evidence becomes irrelevant. Amen stands upon other Amen until the ladder climbs up to heaven under the whirlwind of promises.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

You’ve no powers to stop Jonathan 2015, Jubril Aminu tells northern politicians.


 

Northern politicians opposed to the re‑election of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 have no power to stop him from running for a second term in office, former Petroleum Minister, a Professor Jubril Aminu, warned, yesterday.
The former petroleum minister said while it was proper for people to hold their views in a democratic setting, it was wrong for some elements to cause avoidable political rancour over a matter that did not warrant any protracted argument.

He pointed out that any Northerner who wanted to stop Jonathan from getting a second term should not try to stop him by stoking unnecessary debate, which the law court could settle, but should go to the poll to vote against him.

Aminu said: “I don’t support the argument that Jonathan has the right or not to contest in 2015. That is not the issue because you cannot stop him from exercising his political right.

“But I want to say that instead of arguing whether Jonathan is qualified or not, let those opposed to him use the ballot box to vote him out during the election.

“If those opposed to him can muster enough votes to prevent him from winning, will the President not stand down?” he asked.

Aminu, who spoke exclusively to Vanguard in Abuja, claimed that most of those parading themselves as Northern politicians opposed to Jonathan’s re‑election, did not represent the voice of the northers, but their selfish interest.

BY SONI DANIEL, Regional Editor, North

Source: Radio Biafra.

Jonathan’s 2015 Onslaught By Charles Ofoji.


By Charles Ofoji

Only the naive would still be waiting for President Goodluck Jonathan to formally declare his intention to seek reelection in 2105. The body language of the president and his calculated speeches, inactions and actions leave no one in doubt that he will not only ask the Nigerian people to renew his mandate, but in fact he has started campaigning for reelection. The firing of his Chief of Staff and four ministers last week are unmistakable canons, kick starting a reelection bid.

At last, Jonathan, albeit reluctantly, sacked his controversial political ally, Stella Oduah. Undoubtedly, if not the fact that 2015 is dangerously too close, he would never have fired the woman, who not only played a pivotal role in his emerging as president in 2011, but also, despite her malfeasance, arguably did a good job in the aviation industry as minister. Jonathan was awfully disinclined to sacking Oduah for the two reasons I have mentioned. Her discharge is a loss to Jonathan personally and the Nigeria people. The Aviation Industry will miss the vision this ambitious woman had for it. She wanted to reform the rotten industry and she did well in this direction. I guess her greatest undoing was that she failed to realize that no matter how well you mean or how well you might be doing your job, public service has rules which are sacrosanct.

Oduah got carried away. In that way, she unwisely played into the hands of her enemies, who are predominantly the cabal holding aviation industry hostage – those who want business to remain as usual. At the end, she paid the price for not playing by the rules and her enemies rejoiced. Her greatest mistake was that you cannot be a reformer and live below board. Reforms hurt special interests. The owners of such interests would naturally fight back to retain the status-quo which guarantees their profit.

I was one of those who personally admired Oduah. I had wished she did well, being a woman. It would have gone a long way in bridging gender inequality in Nigeria. I also, on a personal note, wished her well, being a friend of her brother during my times in Cologne, Germany. Nevertheless, her misbehaviour was not tolerable, neither was it pardonable. You don’t bend the rules because people you like broke them.

Jonathan had tried to bend the rules for Oduah until he found out that the heat was unbearable. She had only become an agonizing political liability. This is why I refrain from congratulating this president for sacking those enmeshed in corruption, who dined with him. There is no sincerity in their sacking. They were not sacked because Jonathan was interested in ethics or in the fight against corruption. It was only onslaught towards 2015 – a selfish move aimed at winning back the trust of the Nigerian people.

It is useless to inquire if Jonathan would be successful in getting Nigerians to trust him again. Even if Nigerians would not trust him again, who would they? The so-called Alliance for Progressive Change (APC) has not presented Nigerians with a viable alternative. It takes only an extraordinary candidate to defeat an incumbent anywhere in the world, more so in Africa, where it rarely happens. The names I hear of in the APC do not come near to even being average candidates. In fact, they are worse than Jonathan.

Based on the covenant between Nigerians and Jonathan and his performance as president, he should not bother asking for another mandate. He failed to deliver on his promise – a breath of fresh air. The air got worse under his watch. For those who love Nigeria, it saddens to know that he would remain president beyond 2015. There is simply no credible challenger.

This cast a big question mark on Nigeria’s recruitment and reward system. The mere fact that all those within a touching distance of challenging Jonathan are people of questionable character simply goes to underline that something is terribly wrong with the country. No thanks to a dubious recruitment and reward system bequeathed on the Nation by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, those who are competent and those who genuinely love Nigeria and have something to contribute to her forward-march never get a chance to serve their fatherland. As a result of godfatherism, mostly unqualified people and charlatans ambled their way up Nigeria’s political ladder.

Recently, I listened once more to the brilliant speech of former Prime Minister, late Tafawa Balewa before the United Nations. Again I cried for Nigeria. You could only ask yourself, where did people like Balewa, Azikiwe and Awolowo go? Nigeria did not stop producing such people. The truth of the matter is that there is an abundance of people like them. The only thing is that the sycophants the military handed over power to, so that they could protect their interests, hijacked the country. And they would do all, including assassinating, to make sure that people like Balewa are prevented from coming close to power.

Jonathan is the biggest beneficiary of a system that encourages mediocrity. He should never have been president in the first place. He was propped up by a dubious system. Unfortunately, as he said recently, he is still better than those calling him names.

*checkpointcharley@yahoo.de

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

As We Await Jega’s Imperfect Elections In 2015 – By Peter Claver Oparah.


By Peter Claver Oparah

I don’t know what was probably on the mind of Attahiru Jega, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recently when he warned Nigerians not to expect a perfect election from his INEC in 2015. I am yet to fathom what message he wanted to send by that apparent admittance of failure before he sets out to deliver what Nigerians have rightly termed a crucial election that will make or mar the fragile country. It is not as if most Nigerian expected a perfect election; not from INEC and most certainly, not from Jega’s INEC that delivered an untidy farce in 2011 and had been delivering more egregious parodies in states it had conducted elections since that sordid show in 2011. Perhaps the high point of Jega’s incapacity to conduct elections in Nigeria was the November 16, 2013 tragedy in Anambra State which merely worked from an answer to a pre-determined question. The nationwide condemnation trailing that anti-climactic election jolted Jega, first to admit the infractions that besmirched the so called election while curiously approving the outcome (as is traditional with his questionable objectivity) and now, to seek to prepare us for the worst in 2015.
Yes, Jega wants to lower the high expectations Nigerians have built for a credible election in 2015.  Yes, he wants to pre-offload the seeming massive umbrage that awaits him should he play a predictable script of mismanaging the 2015 election to favour those that tele-guide him on the job. Yes, Jega was creating a convenient alibi for the predicted failure his INEC plans to shock Nigerians with in 2015 but I don’t think we should allow him such a cheeky escape route. Come to think of it, when did Jega wake up to the reality that his INEC cannot deliver a perfect election after he reveled in the syndicated applause that attended his abhorrent conduct in 2011? When did he wake up to realize that indeed, his INEC, with its present composition and carriage cannot be trusted to deliver an election that will even compete within the regional standard obtainable in West Africa? I ask the last question because Nigerians, I know, will certainly hail Jega and swathe him in flamboyant allure should he deliver an election that nears the standard obtainable in Ghana or even Benin Republic.

After his appointment, Jega was to embark on an expensive voter registration exercise that involved the capturing of the personal data of eligible Nigerian voters. From its face value, that looked a sure bet towards dealing with the virus of multiple thumb printing, which riles the country’s electoral process. It also stood to verify the authenticity of declared results for whenever the thumb printed votes come in contact with the captured data of voters, there is bound to be a scientific filtering to separate the actual votes from the fake votes. What should shock Nigerians was the first observation from curious Nigerians that there was no central server to store the cumulative data captured all over the country. That meant there was no base for the expensive data Jega captured at every polling booth in Nigeria. Also the deliberate manipulation of the voters’ register, as seen in the elections in Ondo, Anambra and Delta Central Senatorial constituency points to the fact that the data that were collated has been seriously compromised and cannot be trusted to form the cornerstone of credible election in Nigeria. Again, there was no known relationship between the data captured and the votes cast. On election day, one needs to present merely his temporary voters card for possible identification and nothing more. What really was the essence of the thumb print that was central to the voters’ registration? With this lacuna, desperate politicians were to corner all the ballot papers and in some cases, one person thumb printed as much as twenty booklets and all were accounted as real votes in the 2011 sham of an election. This was the magic behind the history-breaking 90 to 99 per cent votes the PDP appropriated in the South East and South South States in 2011.

Jega is being clearly mischievous by his latest warning to Nigerians not to expect a perfect election in 2015 and every Nigerian must tell him in unmistakable terms that we expect nothing more than a perfect election from him. If he cannot deliver, let him quit in time for the country to have for herself an election umpire that is ready to claim responsibility for his actions. Yes, let it be clear and candid that we will not accept any more of Jega’s farces again. I can attest that Jega’s INEC cannot conduct a credible election because Jega is too indebted to those that appointed him than disappoint their schemes to corner every election in Nigeria by hook or crook.

It has been the mantra of those that support the entrenchment of fraudulent elections in Nigeria to argue that there can no prefect election. Again, they freely charge that election losers in Nigeria can never accept defeat. These positions have been proven false by the conduct, outcome and reactions that trailed the June 12 1993 presidential election. Truth is Nigerians know a credible election when they see one and whenever it occurs, even losers will accept the outcome. Perfectness is a relative word and that elections are deemed perfect does not mean it is free from error. Nigerians know this and when they demand a perfect election, they want an election with minimal errors and not one that is deliberately schemed as a farce. A bigger truth is that apart from the 1993 presidential election, all other elections held in Nigeria have been mere concoctions put in place to dupe the electorates and further the ends of corruption and bad governance.

As it is now, Jega’s INEC is fully packed with leading PDP members. The rest are mere nominees of the PDP and President Jonathan. One wonders how a credible election can happen with the upper deck of INEC populated by members of a political party that had sworn to retain power till eternity through every available means. The process and procedures of elections are mere malleable tools at the hands of the PDP to arrive at pre-ordained ends. No foundation for credible election is built on such partial foundation and that is one of the burdens Jega carries and why Nigerian elections remain perpetually shambled with deliberately erected bulwarks stalking it at every end.

But this country has a well thought out report on electoral reform, as recommended by the Justice Mohammed Uwais Electoral Reform Panel. The panel is comprehensive enough as to remove most of the bulwarks that stand between Nigerians and credible election in its report. For understandable reasons, the ruling PDP sabotaged the report because while it stands to guarantee a free, independent and credible electoral organ and process, it threatens the plot by the PDP for perpetual fiefdom. The party rather prefers a system where we wobble through highly manipulated elections, executed according to its wills and by people of questionable integrity and party mercenaries. It rather prefers a situation where it enters the game both as a player and referee. It is within this pliable template that we locate Jega, his shoddy conducts so far and his frustration that gave vent to the recent warning. The question every Nigerian, especially the opposition must ask is whether we must continue to endure the process that threw up Jega and makes room for all his failures and still threaten us with future failures?

Methinks every Nigerian must rise up and tell Jega that we expect him to conduct a credible election in 2015 or find the exit door, if he feels he cannot guarantee that. We have collectively borne the brunt of fraudulent elections far too long that we cannot put up with another deliberately fabricated ruse in 2015. In fact, he should muster the courage and tact to steer off the way so as to enable the country address its electoral woes by strictly applying the Uwais Electoral Reform Panel Report. This must be made clear to Jega and the opposition should ensure that Jega is perpetually kept on his toes so as not to once again, dump another electoral charade on the country’s doorstep in 2015.

Peter Claver Oparah
Ikeja, Lagos.

E-mail: peterclaver2000@yahoo.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Help Wanted: Nigerian President For 2015 – By Bayo Oluwasanmi.


By Bayo Oluwasanmi

The race for the presidency is shaping up. In the right-place-right-time theory of politics, the moment matters. It’s scary to visualize what the political landscape will look like in 2015. For sure, there will be events that will try our souls between now and then.

With the disappearing act of President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigerians are looking for the next strongest leader to take over. Nigerians are fed up with the leadership of Mr. Jonathan. In the absence of a leader, Nigerians are like sheep without a shepherd and we yearn for a leader. Like any other group of people, we focus on our immediate needs, we struggle with delayed gratification, we feel insecure and begin to worry without abundant signs of hope, and we always ask: what has the leader done for us lately?

Leadership, like life, is the sum total of the decisions we make. Every decision has consequences. The president decides how he’ll respond to issues, decides on the size of the budget, decides on whom to hire, and decides what values and priorities are worth fighting for, and most importantly, decides what will be his legacy.

It is evident that the three-year presidency of Mr. Jonathan portrays him as a leader who lacks commitment, suffers from a scattered focus, looks for excuses, forgets the big picture, go public with private thoughts, behaves inconsistently, creates poor relationships, and avoids change.

For 2015, we want a leader who will separate himself regularly from the crowd. A leader who will pursue truth over popularity, a leader who is willing to take risks, who is ready to be watched by the public even though it feels intimidating to be watched and scrutinized.

We want a leader with character, a leadership with competence – ability to get the job done and leadership that produces results. We want a leadership with conviction – a leadership that has backbone, someone who will always stand for what is right. Tomorrow’s production begins with today’s preparation. We need a leader that will solve problems because the fastest way to gain leadership is to solve problems.

The cost and expectations of leadership are high and expensive. The failure of a leadership usually results in consequences far more greater than the fall of a non-leader. We want a leader that will live at a standard higher than others. A leader that cares for the interest of the poor, who lives with integrity and keeps his word. We want a leader that manages time and the nation’s resources well.

Nigerians want a leader who is ready to listen to the people, who practices patience of silence and submission. He must be faithful and committed as a trustworthy partner of the people. We want a leader with charisma, a man who enjoys a sense of giftedness.

Example is the most important tool a leader possesses. People do what people see. We need a leader that will set example. “Example is not the main thing influencing others,” says Albert Schweitzer, “it is the only thing.”

I remember an incident of leadership by example that took place when I was in high school. Our principal – a strict disciplinarian – had warned us several times to stop dumping refuse at a particular spot near the hostel. We refused to use the new pit dug for that purpose because it was a bit far from the hostel. Over time, the refuse pit had become a dunghill. Well, one day after the morning assembly, in his characteristic style of leadership by example, our principal gave the marching order: “Follow me.” We all lined up behind him. He headed straight to the dunghill. Without a word, he bent down and with his two hands grabbed his own piece of the dirt. Without any hesitation, mumbling, or grumbling, we all snatched our share of the mess. Within few minutes, the whole mess was gone. End of story!

By now, Nigerians are sick of scheming leaders who will do anything for the sake of power. Our political history shows that our leadership revolves around Machiavellian leadership style based on amorality, deception, power, ego, and personal advantage. By contrast, the leadership style required for 2015 should be based on morality, truthfulness, servanthood, humility, and meeting the needs of our people. It should be a leadership based on self-giving and not self-preservation.

We need a leader who projects confidence, strength, hope, optimism, and sincerity who can always inspire Nigerians through personal power in seemingly hopeless situations. In the darkest days of the Second World War in 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed the parliament: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat,” he said. “We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and suffering,” he assured the Brits.

Despite Churchill’s depressing words, it was the realistic assessment of the crisis faced by Britain. Indeed, as it turned out, those words lifted the morale and ignited the fighting spirit of the British people. With defiant courage, Churchill declared: “You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.” This is the type of president Nigeria needs. We don’t need a skilled manipulator with superficial charm without the experience, ability, values, and character that make an authentic leader as president.

In a nutshell, the next president of Nigeria must be a leader with a sense of “I am eager” meaning a sense of passion and urgency about reaching Nigerians and meeting their needs, a sense of “I am obligated” that is, a feeling that he cannot do anything else vocationally, and a sense of “I am not ashamed” by way of conviction to do what others may think illogical.

So, let the race begin!

byolu@aol.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Boko Haram: Military Leadership Underserves President And Junior Soldiers.


By Abiodun Ladepo

“Gunmen from Islamist sect Boko Haram killed 51 people in an attack on a town in northeast Nigeria…in a region where President Goodluck Jonathan’s troops are struggling to contain its insurgency.  Dozens of Boko Haram fighters speeding along in trucks painted in military colours and armed with automatic weapons and explosives stormed Konduga local government area in Borno state at around 4 p.m. on…burning houses and shooting fleeing villagers…The insurgents also took 20 young girls from a local college hostage…The military confirmed the attack took place but said it was still assessing the number of casualties.”

The above was the lead paragraph in a Reuters’s story published a couple of days ago.  The story’s screaming headline was: “Nigeria’s Boko Haram kill 51 in northeast attack.”   Before this headline, there had been many such screaming headlines published by different media: “Gunmen kill 22 in Nigeria church attack: Witnesses”; “Attacks by extremists kill about 75 Nigerians”; “Nigerian gunmen attack toll reaches 85”; “Nigerian Muslim Cleric Opposed to Boko Haram Shot Dead.”  And we can go on and on quoting screaming headlines that have assailed our ears since gunmen first laid siege to northern Nigeria.  Does anybody even pay any attention to these headlines anymore?  Anybody…the Federal government, the military, and the rest of us not directly affected by the carnage…do we pay any attention to these headlines anymore?  Could it be that we don’t pay attention to these headlines because they have apparently screamed themselves hoarse?  Or have we all just become inured to (and inoculated against) their potency?

But probably the one headline that should have bothered Nigerians the most was this from ThisDay newspaper: “Five Aircraft Razed as Boko Haram Attacks Maiduguri.”  The paper reported on 03 December 2013 that the president was so perturbed by the brazen and gory nature of the attack that he called an emergency meeting of the Security Council.  Erstwhile Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubike Ihejirika and Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Alex Badeh, (now CDS) along with National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) were in attendance.  Soon after that meeting, the Air Force launched a few air sorties in the area, dropping a few bombs on what it thought were the enemies.  Many of the bombs were so erratic they missed their targets by kilometers.  Some hit “friendly forces” while others landed in open fields.  The attacking insurgents disappeared into thin air almost effortlessly and our military retreated back to their barracks claiming what later amounted to nothing but Pyrrhic victory – the fact that it successfully drove the attackers away.

Drove the attackers away?  That was part of the bragging statements issued by the Army as it went on a shameless victory lap around the mangled corpses of Nigerian Soldiers and the bloods of civilians, including those of innocent women and children, now mostly Muslims.  It used to be that these attackers targeted Christians and their churches; and because of that, we attributed their attacks to part of Boko Haram’s quest to Islamize the whole of Nigeria.  For a considerable length of time now, these attacks have been launched against Nigerians irrespective of religion, sect, age, ethnicity and gender.  Commonsense should, by now, inform the collective wisdom of our highest military echelon to consider the possibility that these are probably no longer the original Boko Haram adherents we were fighting.

Our military “drove the attackers away”, turned around and came back home?  And we are satisfied with that?  What is wrong in following the attackers to whatever hole from where they came – Cameroon, Chad, or Niger – and finishing them off there?  What is wrong in following the attackers, capturing those we can capture and bringing them back to our bases for interrogation?  Believe me, if we subject these Prisoners of Wars (POWs) to internationally sanctioned interrogation techniques – those authorized by relevant Geneva Conventions articles and guaranteed to preserve the rights and dignity of the POWs – we will obtain actionable intelligence from them that would aid in our execution of this war.  Instead, we allowed the attackers to retreat and re-group so they can fight us another day.  We tucked our tails between our legs, scampered back to our bases and declared victory.  And a few weeks later, the commander whose Air Force Base was so ravaged – Alex Badeh; the one whose subordinate personnel’s wives were carted away by the enemies in that bold attack, was rewarded with promotion to Chief of Defense Staff.

None of the senators who screened Badeh for the appointment had the good conscience to ask him where he was when the attack on the base occurred; what policies he had in place, as then Chief of Air Staff, to forestall the breach of his bases, and what policies he had since put in place to prevent another such attack.  If the senators (led by David Mark, himself a former senior military officer) had had the gumption to ask the tough questions, they would have learned, for instance, that the Nigerian military is languishing in archaic war fighting equipment and doctrine.  They would have learned that our Air Force did not have something as simple as up-to-date maps of our own country – maps which would have come in handy when trying to locate the enemy’s possible fortresses; maps showing all of our man-made and natural terrains that the enemies and our forces could use for cover, concealment and mobility.  The senators would have found out that our Air Force had very limited serviceable and air-worthy fighter aircraft.  They would have learned that because of the paucity of aircraft, only very few of our fighter pilots are well-trained in their jobs.  And those who have the training may not even retain much of these perishable flying-and-fighting skills due to lack of regular sustainment training.  Our senators would have learned that our Army still carries around moribund and often malfunctioning personal and crew-served weapons; that they move around in dilapidated Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs); that our Soldiers regularly run out of ammunition, petrol, food and other essential items in the middle of firefights.  Our senators would have found out to their utter chagrins the nauseating fact that we are sometimes late in paying our Soldiers’ combat and deployment allowances; and that when they die in combat, we take forever in paying their gratuities to their families, thereby keeping morale at the lowest ebb.

Our senators might also have learned that our senior military officers do not understand the difference between conventional war (country vs. country) and Counter-Insurgencies (COIN) (country vs. insurgency) war.  And what they do not know, they could not teach to their subordinates or supervise.  The senators would have learned that we have probably been fighting an armed insurrection or an armed unconventional invasion (assuming these attackers are from neighboring Cameroon, Chad, or Niger) with the tools needed to fight a conventional war.  Had our senators done their due diligence, they would have learned that our military and our intelligence agencies, especially the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), lack the technical knowhow to emplace and employ ground/aerial, static/mobile, human/electronic intelligence collection capabilities that would greatly complement the efforts of our gallant Soldiers.  (For example, we acquired for surveillance a couple of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), otherwise known as Drones.  But with what and whom are we coordinating the images we receive from these Drones?)  Gallantry without effective fighting weaponry is nothing but suicide.  Only when our Soldiers encounter unarmed civilians do their egos swell to match their menacing muscles.  When faced with well-motivated hooded insurgents wielding Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) launchers and vehicle-mounted 60mm machine guns, our soldiers scamper for cover.  Had the senators asked the right questions, they would have known that without motivating and empowering our Soldiers with modern, up-to-date equipment, quality training, and rewarding pay, it is as if we have consistently tied their fighting hands behind their backs and sent them to battle to die.

This low-level war with insurgents has exposed the systemic rot in our military and we should wake up to our responsibilities.  Unless we are deluding ourselves, Nigeria may not survive a full-blown invasion from one of its neighboring countries.  At the minimum, we would suffer great losses in the hands of a determined foe.  Ordinary bands of rag-tag fighters probe and infiltrate our borders at will (daytime, nighttime and evenings); they conduct successful attacks and then successfully retreat with minimal casualties.  A few days later, they repeat the attacks with slight changes to their modus operandi, throwing our soldiers into confusion.  Haba!  These are textbook basic offensive tactics that have continued to make mincemeat of our so-called dreaded military.  And any Nigerian Soldier worth his or her salt should be embarrassed to no end by this.

If we eschew politics, Goodluck Jonathan has no blame in this whatsoever.  Because he was dissatisfied with their performances (and rightfully so) he sacked Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim and Lt. Gen. Azubike Ihejirika.  To make it a clean sweep, he also sacked the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba.  While Badeh replaced Ibrahim, Ihejirika, and Ezeoba were replaced by Maj. Gen. Kenneth Minimah and Rear Adm. Jibrin Usman respectively.  Air Vice Marshall Adesola Amosu slid into Badeh’s old seat as the Air Force’s Chief of Staff.

That is all one could expect of a civilian Commander-in-Chief – reinvigorating the military at the top with fresh hands in the expectation that the new appointees will inject the Force with a new sense of purpose, direction and motivation.  Jonathan should not be expected to understand the minutiae of military Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs).  In fact, he is probably as angry and as surprised as the rest of us that we have not beaten this insurgency scourge.  Jonathan can only understand and approve what the military brasses put before him.  And anyone with a scintilla of expertise in advanced military operations, not just rudimentary knowledge of how the military conducts successful operations, should know that the succession of military brasses have not served Jonathan well.  They appear to me to have become either too obtuse and/or too impervious to designing radical changes to their TTPs.

So, as a matter of urgency, Chief of Defense Staff, Alex Badeh should begin to earn his rank and salary by immediately setting up for himself a Command Post (CP) in Maiduguri and temporarily move his office there.  If anything, this would signal to all his subordinate commanders that he means business and it is no longer business as usual.  This is war and it should be treated as such.  It would also boost the junior Soldiers’ morale to knowing their overall boss is on the battlefield with them, not ensconced in Abuja drinking pepper soup.  Badeh will now be able to see up-close what his Soldiers are facing and can effectively assess what they need in order to win the war.  When he orders them to face death, he would be doing so with moral authority, not just rank authority.  Badeh will see firsthand how a typical fellow Nigerian in Konduga lives his or her daily life and can then report same to Jonathan.  Badeh will be able to go to the National Assembly (NASS) and to Jonathan to make a good argument why Nigeria needs to recruit more Soldiers.  He would be able to convince the NASS to increase the defense budget, allowing for training in modern warfare, equipment, remunerations and emoluments for its personnel.

Finally, Jonathan will then be able to inform (not seek permission from) the leaders of Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic; the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN), that henceforth, Nigeria would deal decisively with anybody or group of persons that violates its territorial integrity.  Jonathan will mandate Badeh and his entire military leadership to employ the Powell Doctrine of maximum force each time any part of Nigeria is attacked.  And, of course, with credible and actionable intelligence, superior equipment and a motivated military, Nigeria will meet its threat of lethal force with precision and deadly overwhelming delivery.  This will serve as an effective deterrence to would be aggressors and fomenters or anarchy.  This practice of watching whole families slaughtered in cold blood; of survivors gnashing their teeth, wailing and throwing themselves on the ground; and of our military and politicians throwing up their hands in total helplessness will then come to an end.  And we would have our country back.

Abiodun Ladepo                                                                                                                           Los Angeles, California, USA                                                                                   Oluyole2@yahoo.com.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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