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Published On: Tue, Aug 12th, 2014

Buhari attack and Boko Haram narratives

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BuhariBy Adeolu Ademoyo

The conflicting multiple narratives which attempt to explain Boko Haram have raised moral questions that have defined Nigeria in many ways we continue to struggle to understand. For example, on record, President Jonathan once said Boko Haram members were in his cabinet. Since his is a PDP government, logically this means in President Jonathan’s own words that Boko Haram is sponsored by his party, the PDP. The president has not denied, neither has he withdrawn his own voluntary admission. But whether this sponsorship is officially known to him or not is an open-ended question.

In another narrative, the PDP accused the APC of sponsoring Boko Haram to destabilize the PDP government. Still in a different narrative, the APC accused President Jonathan and his PDP government of not doing enough to terminate Boko Haram. All the narratives did not contend with the social environment that breeds Boko Haramic terrorism. Yet on a radically different overview (different from both the PDP and APC narratives), it is observed that Boko Haram has evolved into an independent terrorist political and economic brand and franchise whose terrorist activities are not necessarily carried out by the original Boko Haram. In this regard, while some of the terrorist acts are the evil work of the original Boko Haram, some of these new terrorist acts may not be connected with Boko Haram.

These narratives have defined our individual and collective relationships to Nigeria as a country. Unknown to many, regardless of the way the moral expresses itself in the polity and regardless of the way it is constituted, the moral is that which adds meaning and value to a country beyond a country as a mere geographical expression. The moral is that which blends and forges diverse peoples of a geographical territory to voluntarily proclaim their country with one voice as a nation or and a united country.

The building of consensus, of unity, and essentially the forging of a nation out of a country return to the moral as the foundation. So, the failure of the Nigerian state proceeds from the failure of a moral will, a failed moral capacity. Hence, given our inability to jointly speak the truth about Boko Haram, the conflicting multiple Boko Haram narratives have added to what continue to tear down the moral core of Nigeria, and by extension, her meaning to Nigerian peoples.

If the conflicting narratives on Boko Haram have emptied Nigeria of any moral meaning, the narratives of the attack on General Muhammadu Buhari, a former Nigerian head of state and now an APC politician, has added a vivid portrayal to that moral emptiness, that moral wretchedness that is fast turning us into a laughing stock in the comity of civilized global citizens.

There are three narratives of the attack on Buhari. The first is that Buhari was the target and the attack came from his opponents, principally the PDP. The second narrative is that Buhari’s supporters, in and out of APC, sponsored the attack to draw sympathy towards Buhari. The third narrative looks beyond party affiliation and focuses on the “objective” of the attack. In this regard, it suggests that the goal of the attack was to cause instability in the country because if the attack succeeded in its goal, Buhari’s supporters would have reacted massively.

Moral obligation, if we still have one, demands that we inspect and interrogate the immediate circumstance of the attack on Buhari. In this regard, it is morally significant, for those who still take the ethical in us seriously as the foundation of life and of a nation, that people, human beings died during the attack and that we do not have the exact numbers of those who died during the attack on Buhari.

This means that in our dear country Nigeria, people are mere objects who are un-accounted numbers. And we Nigerians live with this grim reality of being mere objects and numbers! Now regardless of who the sponsors are, take any of the narratives of the attack on Buhari, and suppose any of the three narratives is true, it is morally significant that the sponsors-(outside job, i.e PDP, inside job, i.e. APC, neither PDP nor APC) of the attack were ready to waste the lives of fellow Nigerians in order to make a point!

That a country that has a President and a cabinet of ministers would be unable to honestly inform (either way) Nigerians on the attack on Buhari, a Nigerian ex-head of state, is a vivid reminder of the moral emptiness of the country and a sad illustration of the country as a mere geographical expression. Mere lamentation of the attack from President Jonathan may be necessary but it is insufficient. This moral emptiness of the country has shown itself in two ways. First, President Jonathan and his PDP government are reportedly paying foreigners – a foreign public relations firm – Nigerian money to launder the obvious stinking image of the Jonathan government. If true, it is morally perplexing and frustrating that President Jonathan will sell the country so cheaply and so poorly. Working the same route of moral bankruptcy the PDP and President Jonathan have treaded in asking foreigners to investigate the Boko Haram links and paying foreigners Nigerian hard earned money, the APC deepens this moral bankruptcy and absurdity by asking the “International” community to investigate the attack on Buhari!

I am Nigerian and I am part of that so-called “international” community which President Jonathan, PDP and APC are asking to do Nigeria’s job for them. Let me end by saying that no one knows who Boko Haram are, and no one knows who attempted to assassinate Buhari other than we Nigerians. The so-called ‘international” community does not know what we Nigerians know about Boko Haram sponsors, Boko Haram’s mutations and those who tried to kill Buhari.

Adeolu Ademoyo via aaa54@cornell.edu

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