The Nigerian Government has finally capitulated under the Boko Haram insurgency as the latter declared victory and gave the former as the defeated party conditions to negotiate a ceasefire. They gave conditions that must be met before the ceasefire, which includes a peace talk that must take place in Saudi Arabia, compensation needs to be paid, that a Governor be arrested and they even dictated who must represent the federal government.
I agree that to some extent Boko Haram has succeeded in inflicting terror into the heart of Nigerian people because when I discussed this matter with my older brother whom I have always considered to be a fearless man he begged me not to write anything against Boko Haram because they are too dangerous. My good friend also echoed the same sentiment. However, I echoed the word of Major Alale to Major Ademoyega shortly before Col Odumegwu Ojukwu executed him, “a revolutionary must never despair” (Why We Struck by Adewale Ademoyega). I fear no evil.
The Nigerian Government readily jumped to accept the offer to negotiate with a terrorist group, which our eminent professor Wole Soyinka described as the ‘arrowhead of a decadent resistance’. As a matter of fact when I watched Prof Wole Soyinka on CNN making the pronouncement I tried to decode the hidden meaning of the ‘arrowhead and came to the conclusion that where there is a head there is a body that is pushing the head to act. President Jonathan also confirmed that Boko Haram has infiltrated his government but failed to mention names.
It is a monumental shame and disgrace that the government agreed to negotiate with a terrorist group and what a bad precedent from a weak government who does not know the difference between their left and right hand. Boko Haram means “Western Education is forbidden”! How can government therefore negotiate with such a group who wants to bring us back to the Stone Age? The only language of the group is killing, maiming and destroying.
Boko Haram has no clear objective to warrant negotiation at all. The question is whether the arrowhead is the main problem or the body that is pushing the head. Are they fighting against the government by killing innocent civilians? It is my impression that we are fighting with the disgruntled political class in the North who are the main body behind the arrowhead. it is therefore submitted that any negotiation with Boko Haram will be fruitless unless we fish out the disgruntled political class who are sponsoring them.
With the acceptance of the federal government to negotiate, it appears that Nigeria is no longer safe to live in. “A COMMUNITY IN WHICH A DOG KILLS A TIGER IS UNSAFE TO LIVE IN” (Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Voice of Wisdom). What happens to our Intelligence officers? Why can’t the Nigerian Government fish out the dissidents? Or is it that the power that is behind Boko Haram is greater than that of the Government? What of the Nigerian army? The so-called kill and go? The superior force has defeated them all though is an untrained but well organized army of Boko Haram. What a shame! A dog has now succeeded in killing a tiger in Nigeria.
Whilst it is admitted that this is a tragic moment in the history of Nigeria, however, the Federal Government must not succumb and must not fail to display spirit of vigilance and daring and a sense of patriotism for the sake of national integrity. Any negotiation with Boko Haram will discredit the remaining little integrity of this present government.
In the civilized world, any form of negotiation with group like Boko Haram must be by way of covert operation and would be initiated by the government and not the other way round. The government will first give them condition to renounce violence and stop the killings with immediate effect. As in all other areas of Government, the government of Goodluck Jonathan is a complete failure and a made mess of everything. According to Yoruba Adage who says “ It is better not to mount the throne than to say I have no control over my domain” (a kuku ijoye o san ju enu mi ko ka ilu lo). President Goodluck Jonathan should pluck up courage and do the most honourable thing by resigning from the government if he knows he cannot handle Boko Haram.
In the darkest days of Nigeria during the regime of late dictator General Sanni Abacha we had Nadeco, Nalicon, Civil Liberty Organisation and a host of other freedom fighters who resisted the dictator until he died. However, since we return to democratic rule, many of these associations have been disbanded and most of the members have joined politics. It is now crystal clear that there is a new war at hand with those who threaten to destroy our civilization and the core democratic values that we stand for. It is now time to regroup and take the battle to the enemy since the government cannot deliver us.
We should stop thinking it is only happening in the North and not in the South because they are like wild fire that is spreading to consume everything. If we fail to act in time to stop this aggression, they will come to the south gradually and they will not rest until they take over Nigeria completely. We must seek to arrest the process of Nigeria’s disintegration and reunite the country. Chief Obafemi Awolowo stated in one of his speecehes in 1966 that “The welfare and happiness of the people of Nigeria are Indivisible so are the misfortunes and adversities.”
When the foundation is destroyed what can a righteous man do? A righteous man has to lay a new foundation before he can erect a new structure. It is time for the overdue Sovereign National Conference in order to renegotiate the unwholesome federal structure of the Nigerian system. Boko Haram can send representatives if they so wish and table their grievances.
We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed!
Niyi Aborisade is a Lawyer in the UK
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters