10 Mar 2015

Time To Save Nigeria - by T.O. Akanbi

The forthcoming elections have generated so much heat and uproar in the last few months. There are so many issues involved namely, the postponement, the retention of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the debate on whether or not to use the Permanent Voter Cards and the card readers, the general mistrust among the political parties and indeed the unprecedented amount of obscene and indecent utterances coming from the camps of the rival political parties and their loyalists. 

Dirty fighting has been the order of the day with extreme hatred, death wishes, character assassination and physical attacks dominating the political terrain. As of today, many people especially the international community are yet apprehensive about the possibilities of the rescheduled elections.

One prominent area of great concern has been the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East. From the news coming from the mainstream media and the social media, we believe the Nigerian Army is making progress in its efforts to defeat the deadly militant group. Obviously in recent times, the motive of the insurgents has altogether changed dramatically. At the beginning, its motive was religious, destroying churches and killing Christians. At that time, its size and sophistication were meagre. That was the time the group should have been uprooted. However today, because of the successes achieved in its operations, it has become emboldened and has become stronger. It has also become more organised and sophisticated.

The group has approached Al Qaeda for affiliation. No one is sure of Al Qaeda’s response to it. However, it has recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State which has established caliphate in some areas of Northern Syria and Northern Iraq. The ISIS is reported to be rich from the sale of oil derived from the areas it controls in Syria and Iraq. It also derives revenue from taxes imposed on persons and businesses in its areas of control and from ransoms received from abduction of people.

Boko Haram too has begun to collect taxes from Nigerian, Cameroonian, Chadian and Nigerien traders who sell fish, livestock and other commodities. In recent times, we heard of Boko Haram beheading captives and videoing it. This is ISIS style. This can mean that Boko Haram is already adopting the modus operandi of the ISIS. The latter is a very deadly organisation. Boko Haram needs money and weapons and the ISIS will finance and supply it with weapons to create unrest in Nigeria and expand its influence in the world.

Consequently, I appeal that,

Our government should use all available resources to wipe out Boko Haram now. The multi-national forces from Cameroon, Niger and Chad should be encouraged to join us. Even South Africa and any other friendly country should be allowed to join in uprooting the group. This is not the time for national pride. All hands must be on deck.

Our politicians should close ranks now. Let them stop all the acrimony and satanic utterances and make peace. They should not take any step that will cause anarchy in the land. If they do, then our enemy, Boko Haram, with the ISIS on its side, will take advantage of the pandemonium in the country to unleash terrible mayhem. Boko Haram and its allies are praying for this to happen. It will then not be limited to the North-East but the whole country will be affected. The destruction that will follow will be totally unimaginable. Let the elections be free and fair devoid of any provocative or toxic action. Let whoever wins be humble in victory and whoever loses be gallant in defeat. May we not be tempted to destroy our country. All those who love Nigeria must work and pray for its peaceful existence.

Finally, I want to draw our attention to our brothers, Ghana. They demonstrated to us that it is nothing of shame to lose a contest. The National Patriotic Party’s John Kufour was the incumbent President of Ghana when the opposition National Democratic Congress’ candidate, the late Prof. John Atta Mills, won the 2008 Presidential election. Kufour and his ruling party accepted defeat gallantly and Ghana did not experience any violence. They did not destroy their country. The country moved on stronger. This food for thought for Nigerians.

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