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Coming To Terms With Reality

It is also not impossible that those whose duty it was to guide the president through the doors could have been lost admiring architectural designs, or narcissistically doing selfies, or treating themselves to some form of fun.


Two things hit me with surprise last week. One was the disclosure by the Nigerian Army that some Borno ‘elders’ are seriously at work to ensure that Boko Haram was not defeated. The Army had through Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, its Acting Director Army Public Relations confirmed that some ‘powerful’ Borno elders were working steadily to ensure that Boko Haram continued with it activities.

A statement the Army released read: “The Nigerian Army wishes to inform the public and send a very strong and serious final warning to some prominent individuals and political groups who hailed from Borno State in particular and North East generally, that there is information of plans by some highly placed individuals and political groups to undermine and scuttle the fight against terrorism and insurgency in this country.

The unscrupulous individuals and their cohorts were determined to reverse the gains made and scuttle our efforts of achieving the Presidential directive to defeat Boko Haram terrorists within three months. They are enlisting the services of some Non-Governmental Organizations in this grand design. It has come to our knowledge that they were employing every means to see that our operation does not succeed in order for them to continue to enjoy certain benefits”.

Reading this brought me close to tears. Tears that a few months ago, some leaders of the region shouted it to the world that then President Goodluck Jonathan was behind Boko Haram and was using it as a tool to destroy the north and reduce its population. Before that, they had sold the dummy that General Azubuike Ihejirika, then Chief of Army Staff, was using Boko Haram as an alibi to destroy the north as retaliation for what the destruction the north wrought on Eastern Nigeria during the Biafra- Nigeria War.

When those arguments failed to achieve purpose, Nigerians were told that Christian Association of Nigeria was the architect and progenitor of Boko Haram. The arguments went on. Some people believed the discerning would not be fooled. But, here we are faced with reality. The same reality that security chiefs, and the presidency, told us prior to May 29, 2015 and we abused, insulted and cursed them instead of seeing through our foolishness.

We are still confronted with same reality. As the saying goes, what goes around comes around. Now, let’s change the argument. We told Jonathan that he was elected to solve problems, not to complain or tell us how huge the problems were. For Buhari’s administration, it is same. You were elected to stop Boko Haram within months, like you promised, and not to tell us who is making it difficult for you.

Again, we told Jonathan that he had powers to arrest, jail or even execute all sponsors of Boko Haram. That instruction is not waived by passage of time. So, Buhari, also has powers to arrest, jail or even execute sponsors of Boko Haram. But then I recall that Buhari had told us that “fight against Boko Haram was fight against the north”. I know that certain fights are better fought with the tongue. If one extrapolates that warning, then, it would mean that those Borno elders that the Army accused see Boko Haram as a franchise that has helped enhance their lives as northerners.

Therefore, we should let them keep what is theirs (not export it) and enjoy the proceeds and the blood, which, painfully means nothing to them. While I was thicking about Gen. Tukur Buratai’s helplessness in dealing with his kinsmen, I was confronted with President Buhari’s difficulty in grappling with the challenges of attending the United Nations General Assembly. I pity the President.

The world he met after decades out of officialdom, is a fast-paced one. The world now is not given to slips. Our president missed a very important meeting that focused on finding help for victims of Boko Haram devastation in the northeast. That was too much of a slip.

But much more worrisome was the cockamamie defence that the meeting was “not important” and not listed for the president to attent. Need anyone be reminded that any event, or meeting, that catches a president’s fancy, and for which he had to travel, is important? Need anyone inform the President’s team that given Nigeria’s place on the continent, every meeting that has to do with Africa should be of strategic importance to Nigeria and its leadership? If the meeting was “not important” I then wonder why our president has had to spend time, money and energy globetrotting in search of solutions, and help, for northeast.

Since assumption of office, Buhari has travelled to Niger, Mali, Cameroon, United States of America, Germany (For G7 meeting) France and even Benin Republic. Those trips were undertaken on behalf of Nigeria and principally to seek help against Boko Haram.

If, therefore, a meeting to discuss such help, on the sidelines of the UNGA, was “not important”, what else is? Perhaps, a sweeter lie would have done the president’s image better. Organizers of the event have disclosed that it was pre-planned and that Nigeria was well aware. So, it is either we were lied to by the presidency or the event organisers.

Either way, it was an embarrassing slip and the foreign media that covered the event reported it as such. But never mind, things will get better as the years wear out. I am not even bothered about the loss of way the President suffered. He had earlier said in France that he often lost his way inside the presidential villa which he also described as “a palace” which “must be very expensive to maintain”.

The president is not used to such buildings. He told us before the general elections that he had only one house. Probably, the house does not have as much doors as the UN Building in New York. So, losing his way is expected and in order, especially, when he had told everyone around him, using body language, that he abhors guides.

Again, let’s not blame the president for missing his way for which he was shut out of another event. It is not easy for a 73er to keep up with the demands on him for a swift dash over. It is also not impossible that those whose duty it was to guide the president through the doors could have been lost admiring architectural designs, or narcissistically doing selfies, or treating themselves to some form of fun.


– ACHILLEUS-CHUD UCHEGBU                  e-mail: achilleus.uchegbu@theunion.com.ng

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