“Under President (Muhammedu) Buhari, Nigeria has been taking the fight to Boko Haram and it has reduced Boko Haram’s capacity to launch full-scale attacks. However, the group still remains a threat, a serious threat, to the entire region.”
US Secretary of States, John Kerry, acknowledging Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s war on terror during a two-day nuclear security summit in Washington DC, with more than 50 world leaders in attendance, last Thursday.
Not many Nigerians have their minds fixated on anything positive the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has accomplished about the seemingly intractable, nagging national headaches inherited on assumption of power on May 29, 2015. They are bent on the ruination of his government, with vile, but worthless critiques of his government.
The bone of opposition now clipped round PDP’s neck, it appears more desperately armed to the teeth to perform the task of criticism, and even in instances their arguments defy logic. To say, the least, they have thoroughly misunderstood the concept of a rejuvenated Nigeria under a Buhari presidency of transformation.
Sometimes, listening to their passionate, but stale criticisms, one is pushed to the extent of imaging what is so difficult in twigging the change mantra or transformation agenda of the APC administration led by Buhari.
To the PDP apologists, Buhari must not be accorded the appellation of success for fixing the once obstinate, national maladies they mindlessly created for close to two decades in power. And with stolen wealth stashed in their vaults in private mansions, septic tanks, deserted graveyards, foreign accounts and such mundane places, sponsorship of media propaganda against Buhari is so cheap and generously spread. But when anti-corruption agencies, demand a return of self-confessed looted funds, to better the lot of majority of Nigerians, they cry foul and drum persecution.
But some Nigerians would admire an adage to justify the context of this expression. It is from the Tiv people of North Central Nigeria, which my teacher of oral literature taught me as undergraduate student years back. As a non-native speaker of the vernacular, it’s difficult to recreate it in traditional wordings, because of the language barrier. But translated in English, it means, “the piteous cry of the foul being laid to the slaughter slab, does not stop its knifing in the hands of its butcher.” The same fate may befall the PDP locusts, who have plundered national till for years, vowing not to see anything good in today’s Nigeria.
The PDP vermins, only look at their present shadows of a “bleak tomorrow” now and so bitterly too. And since they had unrestrictedly pillaged national resources in trillions of naira, in whatever guise, and for 16 years, the sudden snatching of the “cake” from the firm grip of their fingers, is something unpardonable to the aggressor (Buhari).
So, Buhari must be crucified and every Nigerian must see and acknowledge his “Satanic” nature in public office. They dismiss with a wave of the hand his profound achievements or successes over the same problems the PDP vermins in power created, nourished and sustained for years.
In their dreary secrets boardrooms presently, Buhari is their nemesis and full stop. They hate to hear anything about their conspired looting of the public purse and the plea to return same; needless deaths of Nigerians occasioned, by the dearth of industries, comatose state of education, poor health service delivery, poor roads, electricity, Niger Delta restiveness and even the dreadful insecurity situation, more aptly expressed in Boko Haram’s intransigence in the North East and failure of government to nip them in the bud; problems which Buhari inherited. It is the least of their problems.
But while the few evil ones, who have desecrated Nigeria’s landscape with smelly excreta, fail to hail a hero-President at home as exemplified by Buhari, America, the global security watch dogs and world’s leading light has not hesitated to applaud Buhari’s steadfast war on Boko Haram.
In faraway Washinton DC, US Secretary of States, John Kerry gave a rare recommendation of Buhari’s success in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents. If Nigeria is under the yoke of insurgency, America suffered it much earlier. They know the pains, the anguish, frustrations of the ruled when government slacks on this crucial assignment.
So, impressive was America with Buhari’s feats in suppressing the deadly activities of the extreme Islamic sect in Nigeria that it promised an increased, wholesome assistance, not just for the terror war alone, through information-sharing, equipment and training of military personnel, but to also fight corruption in the country, which hitherto and negatively, affected the psyche and performance of Nigerian troops in the battle front.
Except Buhari’s administration, no past Nigerian leader since the advent of the Boko Haram war has gotten such accolades or privileged to hear such endearing appraise about conquers and valour, from a world power like the United States. However, it warned of severe sanctions against any trace of human rights abuses in combating the guerrilla-styled insurgents in Nigeria, a cross the preceding administration could neither shoulder nor defend or completely failed its test.
The US Chief Scribe of State, Kerry proclaimed, “Now, I want to be clear, this aid is predicated on the understanding that, even when countering a group as ruthless as Boko Haram, security forces have a duty to set the standard with respect to human rights. One abuse does not excuse another.”
Like the US has proudly intoned about Nigeria’s current leadership, and perhaps, as affirmed everywhere in Nigeria, the war on terrorists in the North East particularly, has recorded awesome fruits of success. Its worthy of observation that there is no special magic the Buhari administration has contrived to tame the war that the doors were so cast in iron for the preceding administration to dismantle to flaunt the fruits Nigerians savour today. What a pity!
All Buhari’s least wisdom could do was to change the military top brass or what others would prefer to call “change of guards,” in the armed forces. With Gen. Tukur Buratai on the front seat as Chief of Army Staff (COAS), himself a practical man, with an enviable military astuteness and excellence in virtually all assignments’, many things changed overnight, especially as he trailed the image and disposition of his Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
He instantly, obeyed the presidential order to relocate the military command to the North East, where it was stationed in Borno’s most dangerous border town-Lafiya-Dole, insurgents’ major route of incursion into Nigeria. From this standpoint, Buratai personally led troops on war front to counter insurgents particularly, on their ingress routes into Nigeria.
Besides, Buratai’s soldiers successfully reclaimed about 15 hinterlands local governments hitherto captured and subjugated under the imperial command of the Boko Haramists, foisted the Nigerian flag and moved on amid loud chants of jubilations from displaced persons.
Addressing a completely demolished settlement and demoralized displaced persons in Ngala Local government, with headquarters in Gamboru-Ngala, persons who had taken refuge at the border of the Republic Cameroun, the fearless and courageous Buratai assured them of reclamation of their fatherland by Nigerian soldiers. The same chants of jubilations from displaced persons overwhelmed Buratai and his team.
Nevertheless, he proceeded to decorate military officers who displayed rare feats and gallantry in the battle against insurgents to the admiration of all. Thereafter, he led his troops, to trace the insurgents to the Cameroonian border.
In Hausa language, he told his brothers and sisters- fellow Nigerians, who had fled their home to come back, as Nigerian army is now poised not only to protect their lives and property against a resurrected band of criminals in the guise of Boko Haram, but also, Nigerian soldiers shall henceforth, defend Nigeria’s territorial boundaries.
Since this utterance, coupled with nights of sleeplessness of the COAS and his foot soldiers, Borno, the hotbed of the insurgents has experienced considerable peace. Some displaced persons have returned home already. Vestiges of Boko Haram agents, garbed as either girls or boys are also being haunted and captured in surrounding towns by Nigerian soldiers to face justice, with bombs, tied around their waist, neatly detonated off them.
And surveillance of the North East by armed soldiers has been so intense that Boko Haram’s invincible leader, Abubakar Shekau, declared in a recent recorded video type that “he is finished.” Why not, with most, if not all of his strongmen either caged in forests, battling on empty stomach, with blocked channels for fresh food supplies or outrightly killed by Nigerian soldiers in gun battle in collaboration with the Joint Task Force from Niger, Chad and Cameroonian Republics, Shekau has no hiding place.
While America appreciates Buhari, Nigerians also lap onto the ladder to appreciate Buhari, Buratai and his fearless team of soldiers, for collectively and substantially erasing the Boko Haram scourge from Nigerians, especially the North East. With Buratai, Nigerians dare the insurgents to come again and face their extinguishing fire.
Skeptics of the PDP ilk who are blind to the work of a progressive government in Nigeria and inclined to sponsorship of vile propaganda against Buhari’s government would soon harvest the fruits of their labour. But majority of Nigerians stand firmly behind America, Buhari, Buratai and the Nigerian military in this onerous task of salvaging Nigerians from the grip of Islamic extremists, garbed as Boko Haram.
Agbese is an international affairs commentator based in the United Kingdom.