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Monday, June 24, 2024

For A Former Army General, Buhari Comes Very Short On His Views On Security (READ)

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by Uwem Hernan Inyang

It’s day 4 of these series and I think it’s imperative we take a critical look at security. Nothing has gathered interest, caused more pain, created discontent, empowered dismay, encouraged discomfort like the unprecedented insecurity Nigeria has faced in the last few years. While it’s been some apprehensive times for our fellow Nigerians in Northern Nigeria especially, it’s also been troubling and worrying times for the average Nigerian. Whether you are home or abroad, this is one aspect that makes you go to bed and wake up hoping that it just goes away!

Bomb blasts in churches, mosques, markets squares, shopping malls, army barracks, pubs, and schools et al became all too familiar with carnage events which characterised most of the news summary emanating from Nigeria.

You can read the previous editorial in this series, Why General Buhari Is Grossly Unqualified To Be President Of Nigeria (READ), Why General Buhari’s ‘Integrity’ Image Is The Fraud Of The Century (READ), Dear Nigerians, General Buhari’s Sketchy Economic Policies Will Tank Nigeria (READ), and Opinion: Dear Nigerians, The Moment Of Decision Is Here (READ).

Personally, I had too many sinking feelings on the insecurity in the country. While some of us have been germanely scratching our heads, some have been using this as an opportunity to relentlessly attack President Goodluck Jonathan and also, clamour for his exit from office.

One could understand the emotional trauma that went through the minds of many, but while that was in motion, some certain people (and they know themselves) could not reason it out that these terrorists were not a squad unleashed by the President. The propaganda led by the irritable likes of Nasir El Rufai that Jonathan was behind the mob called Boko Haram was not only mischievous, it was devious and extremely dangerous. Why do I say so?

It cleverly distracted people from the real mobsters on rampage. A bunch that even Buhari once shielded! That is the Presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) and the much touted “opposition” leader. A man also nominated by the same bunch of murderers for an imaginary truce. A nomination to be fair to him anyway, he declined. And then it seemed they tried to kill him not too long ago.

Now, if you follow the scripts of this insurgency, it’s so intertwined that it could lead one to a assuming a twisted conclusion.

But if we all steady on, we can see that Boko Haram really intensified its havoc the moment Jonathan won the elections which kind of coincided with earlier threats/utterances of violence. While all these went on, some prominent figures were fiddling away.

Human extinction, degradation and denigration continued unabated whilst the Nigerian Army seemed helpless. Maybe we should have asked for help in good time, but even when the unsolicited help came to find the missing Chibok girls, nothing came out of it.

What I could not understand for the life of me is the number and calibre of retired Generals in Northern Nigeria who did practically nothing to help rescue the situation. I’m talking of notable war veterans, Army legends and powerful Elders. At some point, it seemed to be something that was allowed to thrive so that it becomes a blackmail tool for the sitting President.

Whether we like it or not, Nigeria was under siege and when such deadly ambushes occur, men of honour DO rise up and defend the territorial integrity of our their nativity. Worst of all, their own very land was being violently destroyed and overran by a ragtag terrorist group. I just could not understand it anymore.

In the heat of Boko Haram’s fearless, ruthless and unrelenting surge, General Buhari stated openly that an attack against Boko Haram was an attack against the North. He played down their viciousness by saying that they are no different from the Niger Delta militants who have now become pampered kids. And this was the same man blaming the government for not terminating Boko Haram earlier? Is there any method in the Magners? Outrageous suggestions like amnesty were even put forward ALL to give Boko Haram a soft landing. For me, it was clear that all these scheming did have deep connotations. Why am I relaying all this?

My thinking is that when your OWN country is attacked, EVERYBODY pulls together to defeat the enemy. Nothing would have stopped Buhari marching down to Aso Rock to offer his expertise to help the fight against terror. Absolutely nothing! Instead, it became a political gloating exercise as thousands more kept dying, being displaced and rendered homeless. Many fled to Cameroon and Chad for safety. That to me remains one of our lowest points as a country. Let me just state this as well… This is one major issue that

made me a bit upset with GEJ then, but in hindsight, everybody else was helpless too. Even Muhammadu Buhari would CLEARLY have struggled with this war of asymmetry. Fast forward to the last few weeks where sophisticated arms and ammunition have arrived, Boko Haram are being humiliated and decimated with relative ease. The morale in the Nigerian Army is sky high and success after success is now being recorded in the war on terror.

The 6 weeks proposal has worked like magic that you have to wonder what insecurity talking points Buhari will use to win votes. We cannot hide our collective disappointment that it took so long to crush the sect. We cannot ask what exactly happened to that led to the delays of arms arriving. We cannot pretend that it was timely enough either. What we can now look at is that there are no more distractions of any real or imaginary truce, and that the Nigerian Army are flushing them out. Guess what?

In the Arise News TV interview of Buhari many weeks ago, when asked what he felt the biggest issue was in Nigeria today, Buhari mentioned security. When asked how he would deal with the insurgency, he said “gathering intelligence and knowing the enemy”. Whatever that means is left to conjecture, speculation and fiction. The interviewer then asked him what capacity and/or context of collecting this intelligence he meant since it was an option GEJ was already applying. Buhari then replied that GEJ’s regime has failed to boost the morale of the soldiers and therefore is incompetent.

To be frank, Buhari was MORE concerned in slamming GEJ’s regime than actually giving proper and strategic answers to these questions. One more thing… The interviewer then asked him whether he does not think that such insurgencies can take time and resources to come to a grip of it. Buhari then claims that incompetent policing is a factor, but Boko Haram has/had been allowed to develop. Lastly, he praised the civilian JTF in Borno State and did not say a SINGLE word in favour of the Nigerian Army. Not one!

These were his answers in that interview. I actually had it recorded on my Sky HD box and replayed it last night just to get his exact words again.

Well, I don’t know what else to say. This is Buhari’s profession for the love of common sense and one would have expected some more technical and surgical answers than what he gave. I could not muster any hope with such manner of responses. It was too ordinary, too basic, rhetorical and far from encouraging. How people can have hope and faith in such a man on such matters is baffling. No clarity, no dexterity and no professional intellectuality.

I mean, if you can come out and say that Boko Haram grew in strength due to poor policing, has he taken time to look at the number of mushroom police stations we have for starters? Isn’t it also the job of the SSS in gathering intelligence or information that may be of good use? Has he told us how he would have boosted the morale of the soldiers since he identified that as a problem too?

The good news is that Boko Haram are being chased out of town otherwise, Buhari would have struggled to tame the insurgents if by omission he ever became President again. From his replies in this particular interview, I wrote him off and my conviction is quite strong on this.

Thank God insecurity is no more a selling point or campaign hotcake. Thank God Saturday is tomorrow. I really hope everyone enjoyed these series. It concludes on today by 4pm…

Please don’t forget to vote for GEJ also. That the insurgency now looks like a completely arrested development is a testament to his resilience, patience and unwavering diligence. On GEJ I stand!

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